Asterisk as Voicemail Server?

I’m looking to implement Asterisk across my Organization, and I’d like to start by using it as just a voicemail and MeetMe server. So, I have a few questions about that, one of which I think I already know the answer to, but I’ll ask, anyway:

  1. Is there any way at all to use Asterisk with external voice modems? Here’s why I ask: I’d like to run Asterisk (at least initially) in a Virtual Machine, and the only way to make that VM hardware-independent (so that I can run it on whichever host I want) is to use Digi’s Serial-over-Network devices and external voice modems. I know Asterisk is pretty limited to Digium’s hardware in terms of what cards it supports, but I wanted to ask, anyway.
  2. Is Asterisk capable of doing any sort of voice mail waiting signaling? My current phone system, a Comdial FX-II, uses a serial port to get signals from the voice mail system (currently VVP) that the voice mail system is present and also receives signals over this port when a mailbox has a message waiting so that the phones will light their message waiting indicators. Is it possible to do this in Asterisk? Unfortunately I don’t know exactly what type of signaling is used, but if there’s any support for any serial-port based protocols, I’d like to give them a try.
  3. If I don’t use an external modem and need to get the PCI-based cards, do the analog cards support DID and/or DTMF signalling?


Bump…any ideas, anyone? Anyone know the signaling mechanisms out there used by Comdial?