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Asterisk Home PBX Setup -Trixbox

Posted by nexus99 , 25 July 2010 · 1989 views

I have decided to play around with setting up an Asterisk PBX here at home. There are two popular distributions out there that do most of the heavy lifting for you, AsteriskNow and Trixbox. It seems like Trixbox might be more popular so I have decided to give it a spin.

The first concern is scraping together the hardware I will need to make this happen.

From my reading I will collect the following items.

Old desktop PC to be the server. (Free)
Trixbox Software - Which is really Linux, Asterisk, and the Asterisk add ons all squished into the installer. (Free)
A 32 GB SSD so I can remove one of the moving part from the equation. (100 bucks)
A used Digium TDM410P card with 3x FXO and 1 FXS ports. (125 bucks)
I have a Vonage line and a Verizon line that I will use as my trunks. (So no additional cost)
A used Polycom 650 SIP phone (135. This is probably over kill but I have used Polycoms before and they seem to ROCK on VOIP to VOIP calls.)

Total: $360 bucks to have a commercial(ish) grade PBX at home. Sure it wont be fault tolerant but thats OK. If anything happens I can just plug old phones into the wall and be OK.

Before I get to the fun part of installing and configuring the software I need to put this computer somewhere it can run 24x7 and have access to both phone lines. My office already is sweltering from all the equipment but its the only spot that has Ethernet and a phone jack in close proximity. But my comfort trump convenience so this bad box is going in the garage and I will add a phone jack close to where the Asterisk box will be.

Construction details in the next post!




Don't forget that that FREE old desktop will consume a lot more power than an embedded device which can run a small asterisk phone system too. So you will actually save money in the long run by buying a relatively cheap embedded platform (<$50). Also check out the new Panasonic and Siemens cordless phones with built in SIP. That might be all the equipment you need. If you are keeping a POTS line you will only need a standalone FXO.

I do agree that a PBX system is a great feature for any smart home.
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I will be keeping the equivalent of 2 POTS lines that I will integrate. I have a line with Verizon for my security system that I want to keep on the PSTN and I have a Voange line that I use for international calls. Its a VOIP line but it will only erminate on its hardware. I can't grab it directly with the Asterisk system.

I just looked at the Panasonic KX-TGP550 and it looks really sweet. Good call on that one. I'll take a look at the Siemens and see if they have something comperable. I really like the inexepensive DECT handsets that can be added. And that they are recognized as their own extension. Aastra has a similar set up but I think its a little more expensive.

I haven't seen an embedded device that has caught my fancy yet. I'll keep looking but I want one with at least 2 FXO ports. And that I can easily dork with. And maybe a FXS for Fax. Or maybe there is a good SIP fax machine out there I haven't seen yet.
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The Siemens Gigaset phone actually has one FXO port but I don't think you can access it externally. If you just want to connect the security POTS line for 911 service, it should be good enough. If you need to bring POTS lines into * for things like voicemail, the Sipura standalone ATAs with 1FXS & 1FXO are also good. This way you are free to choose any embedded device. Any of the pogoplug devices are good like the (lately very cheap) Dockstar. I've been running * on a Maxtor NAS. Sipgate has free fax numbers and you can send faxes from their website if you have a scanner. Seems like you should be able to find a cheaper alternative to Vonage that will give you sip credentials... allvoi, voipian?
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Vonage is good because my wife can call international for tons each month for 25 bucks. That is the draw for Vonage.
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I found two phones that I actually really like.

Panasonic KX-TGP550 and Aastra 9480i CT.

They both ahve corded handsets that will work well with my wife's lifter and head set. And they have wireless DECT handsets that can register as extensions.

I haven't found any other phones on the market that have this form factor and features. Anyone know of any others I should look at?
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May 2019

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