Easing into asterisk by replacing answering machine

I’d like to move to computerized telephony in stages. For now, I have a POTS line and answering machine. I’d like to do the following:

Stage 1) Replace answering machine with computer

Stage 2) Replace POTS line with VOIP, and interface my phones to the computer

For Stage 1, I’d like to accomplish the following:

  1. Pick up phone after N rings, play message

  2. Record voicemail

  3. Store MP3 of voicemail, and email a link to the MP3 and CID info

  4. Provide a web interface to messages

  5. provide a method for sending the “gate open” code for my apartment in case I’m locked out (e.g., 5th call from a specified # within 2 minutes, send the code)

For Stage 2, I’d like to add the following functions:

  1. Call forwarding

  2. Calling card feature

I know that all the functions are easily doable with full VOIP. Are the functions in stage 1 doable with a standard POTS line, analog phone directly attached to the POTS line (not to the PC), a linksys SPA3102 attached to the POTS line and also into my GB router, and a non-dedicated server running Linux? I figure for stage 1, a dedicated server should not be necessary, but I may need one for stage 2. Also, is it possible to disable the router function in the SPA3102 so I can continue to use my GB router?

Any thoughts? Has someone already done something similar? Is there a particular package that would make what I’ve described incredibly easy?

Thanks,

Dave

Dave,
Not a problem. Asterisk can do it all.

  1. You will need a card for your box. Setting up voice mail is pretty simple.
  2. Asterisk records in .wav format. You can have asterisk email you the voice mail if you want. The wav49 format is pretty small and shouldn’t be a resource hogger. If you must have mp3 your going to need a script that will convert the message to mp3.
  3. There are some web interfaces out there. Google around.
  4. When you say gate open code you mean have the system send the command to the gate and have it open or give you the access code that you can enter in at the gate ? A better way for authorization would be to have the system work off your CID AND a pin. It is easy for anyone to change their CID these days and I would not rely on it for authenitcation.
  5. Call forwarding is not too hard either. There are several ways of doing it (e.g. from the phone, dial plan etc.).
  6. You may want to have a look at A2billing.

You may want a dedicated box. If you are running other things on it you may run in to quality issues. For a simple set up even a P3 500 MHz, 384 Mb ram should do.