Thursday, January 19, 2006

Progress with Asterisk

Funny how small the world is. I've been coming up to speed on the Open Source Asterisk PBX solution. One of the first things that you have to purchase are the cards for the PC that connect to phone lines. For my test solution, I want to have two phone lines connected into the PBX to do some basic call handling/call routing/voice mail/e-mail notification.

In reading up on this, the technical terms for what I want are FXO line cards. These are cards that act like a modem or phone and can "answer" calls. (NOTE: the other type of cards are FXS cards which allow you to connect a telephone to the PBX and the FXS card will "ring" the phone and provide dial-tone.) There are several solutions out there ... from cheap to quite pricey! I found a Digium 4-line card that can have FXO or FXS modules attached to it. For what I am doing right now ... it's too much money.

There is also a lot of talk about the Intel chipset modems that can work. Many Asterisk web sites refer to these as the X100P or X100P-clone cards. These are single-line cards that are actually "modems" with voice capabilities. In looking into this, I saw mentions of the $65 card ... and that's more what I was looking for. The best part is that I found the link to DigitNetworks and they are selling the X100P cards for $39.99. Even better ... they are on sale this month for $25.95! I just picked up two of these and ought to have them in the next day or so.

So with these two PCI cards, I'll be able to install them into my Linux box, and then install and configure Asterisk to use them. This ought to allow me to have the two lines answered - for two different companies - and walk the caller through a series of prompts to transfer them to the correct extension, or voice mail box. I'll blog more about it as I make progress.

So why is it funny how small the world is? It turns out that DigitNetworks is just up the road from here in West Jordan, Utah!


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