Getting started

Hi there,

Long time Linux guy, first time Asterisk install. Reading through all the docs, I must say that I am truly confused as to what I need to set up an Asterisk system.

Here is the system I would like to create (at the lowest cost possible of course):

  • 2 incoming lines
  • 2 outgoing lines (via VoIP)
  • 1 analog phone for testing connected to Asterisk box

The purpose of this asterisk machine is to allow people to dial in locally, and then once in the Asterisk system, dial out long distance (which would be free via my VoIP provider)

As this is not for an office setup, extensions and phone connections are not necessary (except for the test phone).

Correct me if I am wrong:

  • there must be a 1 to 1 ratio of incoming & outgoing lines
  • i assume the incoming lines must be PSTN?

What hardware do I need? I assume I need two FXO cards (from Digium?) Any other hardware?


A basic machine should do. I reccomend you look at the new book. You can get it here . It will give you a sense for what you need. A p3 256 megs and a 40 gig hdd will work

As far as lines it depends what kind of lines you use. You can use VOIP for both incoming and outgoing. You can get a line from myPhoneCompany for incoming for $5.00 a month. You can use 2-3 channels at once as long as you dont hog it. For outgoing it depends on who you use. Do you want to pay per minute ? Set amount per month.

Please let me know what providers that you want to use. Also look at


I am interested in using either nufone or more likely, Voicepulse Connect!. I am more interested in the “PBX-hardware” than the computer server hardware. Essentially, the system needs to allow 2 people (up to 4 would be nice) to call in (using a direct inward dial number) and call out to local, long distance, and 800 numbers. Again, it is critical that at least two users can call in at the same time.

In my situation, how many “lines” would I need? Is a “channel” the same as a 'line"?

Thanks for any tips.

With VOIP there really isnt such a thing aws lines. Its all about channels. Each channel is defined as a call coming in or going out of the server. So if you had some one call the server and have the server play him a song that would be one channel in use. If he called the server and he dialed thru it to a diffrent number than he would be using two channels. One for the call coming in to the server and one going to the party that he is calling. So yes in your case every person calling in to make a call would be using two channels. Now how many channels you get per account depends on your provider. If you are paying by the minute (usually 1 -3 cents a minute for the US) then they will give you lots of channels since you are paying per minute per channel. Where as by a provider that is giving you a DID (“incmoming line”) they may restrict you to one channel (Call) at a time.