Convert old laptop to ATA

Hi everyone,
I am a complete newbie, but I was hoping that someone could tell me if what I am trying to accomplish is possible. Here we go:

I have an old iBook G3 with a v.90 56k internal modem, and I am installing Asterisk on the laptop now. What I would like to do is be able to basically convert the laptop into an ATA, so I can plug my standard telephone into the laptop modem, and receive calls on the telephone from my Gizmo5 account.

So far I’ve researched it and have found that it is possible, but as far as I can understand, the laptop would need to have a modem that has the proper specs.

Does anyone know if this is going to work for me or am I wasting my time? I am basically trying to avoid buying an ATA device, and use the old equipment that I have on hand now.

Thanks for any help!

Still no responses…Does no one know the answer or is this perhaps posted in the wrong section?


Basicly the reason no responses, is that it wont work.

even the cost of running a laprop 2x7 will cost more in a year than buying an ATA and running that.

Forget it an buy an ATA or use a softphone .

I doubt that will work. A modem is a different type of device than an ATA (or even a POTS cheap analog home telephone). To illustrate, can you use a modem to place or answer a regular phone call? No. It can make & answer calls but only for fax calls or internet (dial-up) connections.

However, what you want could likely be done by forking out an additional $40 USD, unless there’s a cheaper ATA alternative. Buy a MagicJack device, which is a USB adapter with an RJ11 connector for an analog phone like an ATA. MagicJack comes with its own phone number and free 1 year of phone service, and you’d have to renew service at a cost thereafter. It works like a softphone connected to MagicJack servers but you use the analog phone rather than your laptop’s microphone + speakers. However, you can hack or workaround the MagicJack and use it simply as an ATA/audio adapter with your preferred softphone (e.g. X-Lite or eyeBeam, etc.). I think there are some hack steps needed, you can google for them. After hack/setup, just plug in or keep plugged in the MagicJack ATA but never run the MagicJack program and simply use your softphone and select the MagicJack audio device that appears in list of audio devices on the softphone.

In terms of Asterisk integration instead of with a softphone for MagicJack, there might be a way, but you’d have to research around.

Note that this isn’t a solution recommended by the MagicJack folks.

Forget the modem, it won’t work. If you really want to use Asterisk then there are three options available to you:

  1. Use an ATA as posted above.
  2. Install Asterisk and set up a softphone but you’ll be stuck with your laptop as your “phone”.
  3. Get a WiFi hardphone and use that with your existing infrastructure that registers to Asterisk.

A laptop is cheaper to run long-term than a full-on desktop but the cheapest option overall is the ATA with a proper phone.

I would say its possible. In old days modem was the only device in PC used to connect to the internet and exchange data. This data can sometimes be voice packets like MSN voice chat. So, if you can identify the memory addresses where the modem put packet data, you can easily read voice packets using the fxo driver supplied by asterisk.