Cheap hw for basic, plain-old analogue telephone switch?

What I need:
Simple and cheap way to connect 24-32 plain-old analogue telephones so they can call each other

What I do NOT need:
Calling out to normal telephone network, this is purely separate network for internal comm
Fancy features, VoIP, … :wink:

Asterisk running on top of Linux on a cheap old PC seems it would have no trouble handling this but what kind of HW do I need? Most of the solutions linked from the Asterisk site seems expensive for my use case scenario; lots of frills not needed here. $1495 for 4 ports would work out to around 10k$ which is way out of line.

Any ideas/suggestions?

Yes, I have the same scenario and I’m also looking for some cheap solution. I hope there is some PCI card that can solve our problems.

Correction on the price there: seems there is a 4-port version for $305 but the price is still too high and I can’t get a motherboard with 8 PCI slots for a 4*8=32 port system.

Any hints, experience or links to similar solutions?

What about cheap ATAs? You can get Sipura 1001s for $55 each from Voxilla if you buy 20+ (possibly even cheaper elsewhere) - that’s $1320 for 24.

With just a litle more money I can get real IP phone… :frowning:

Its funny that I should find a post talking about exactly the question I have running around in my head at the moment. How do I interface standard POTS phones cheaply.

One trend I have noticed is that some people who come looking for solutions using asterisk are looking for cheap options to setup essentially an analog PBX. This is exactly the situation I am in an the moment.

Problem is I am finding is that there is no cheap hardware FXS interface solution out there. They seem to cost way too much eg. $100/port - for that price I could chuck all the phones away and buy IP phones - if only that were an option.

As the previous poster sugegsted the best option I have found is cheap ATA interfaces and a 16 port switch on its own network segement for the PBX hardware.

Has anyone actually tried this and got it working? I can’t clain any experience with Asterisk itself - was the performance as good as a standard analog PBX hardware?

Yes the “ATA + Switch + Laptop” solution seems to be the cheapest and it’s also very flexible since you can extend the system as you need more ports.

I was thinking along the lines of Cisco ATA-186’s (since I need the ports in groups of 8 or so anyway so 4 ATA-186’s in each group) with a couple of switches connecting things together and then a laptop running asterisk to do DHCP and switch between them.

Anyone got experience from similar setups?

Would the laptop need to be powerful? Since the ATA’s are all the same it should not need to since it just shuffles packets between the phones without transcoding?

For the price of a bunch of ATA’s that require power adapters, LAN connection etc. you can just buy a bunch of cheap IP phones.

Either way it will cost about the same although the ATA solution will be pretty ugly with cords and power bars all over the place when you get into bigger numbers of phones. If you got lot’s of space and power plugs on the walls then go with cheap ata’s If it’s needs to be a bit cleaner then go with cheap IP phones.