Getting started - Hardware selection

My friend asked me to try to configure a IP PBX system for his small office (3 to 5 employees). I just finished configuring my first Asterisk PBX system this week and purchased a low cost SIP trunk with 1 DID for testing purposes. The installation is done on a laptop using Virtual Box for now. At this point I am ready to move ahead and get something more real world like.

My friend has 2 POTS phone lines and we would like to keep them, as his location does not offer SIP trunks. I was wondering what would be a good low end IP PBX system to purchase. Should I purchase a VoIP gateway for use with a small PC or should I purchase a PCI/PCIe card for a small PC? What really worries me is the echo cancelation, how much of an issue is this usually and are VoIP gateways good at handling this?

Hello. For a small Asterisk implementation like this, I would just put it on a solid desktop-class PC. For instance, just going to and clicking on the ‘desktops’ section, I see two low cost PC’s that would work - I would go with the Dell PowerEdge T110 for $249 bucks.

Add to this a two port Digium A4 series card with two FXO ports and echo cancellation. Should be about $650 bucks.

So, for less than $1k, you have a pretty reliable PBX that will last a while, and will even allow for two more ports expansion (FXO or FXS).

I think a VoIP gateway would be overkill in this case.