Ground 0 user has extremely newbie questions


First and all, complements should be made to the Asterisk team and all contributors for such a software.
Although i don’t know anything about PBX, VoiP, etc etc, i can see the utility and capacities of this software.

Now, onto the problem…

Introduction: (you can bypass this part, it mainly explain the situation)

I help a friend in is factory with the network, computers, internet, etc.
He has a normal ISDN provider, a Gigaset 4170, 2 digital/wireless telephones, and 2 analog one connected to the given gigaset. (i must apologize for the terms i use, they might be incorrect ones).

Everything works perfectly, it’s a system which hasn’t given us any kind of problems. But…

He uses the normal internet ISDN can provide, so, 64kbps. This is becoming a burden, due to websites (expecially online access to banks, the main problem here) becoming larger and heavier, and due to telephone bill getting more expensive every month.
I sugested that he migrated to a ADSL provider, maintaining the current ISDN setup for basic telephony. Yet, even phone calls as becoming expensive, namely because of cellphones. So, we thought of a VoiP config.

Everything is perfect till here, but know comes the problem.


We want ALL outgoing calls to travel via Voip, be able to receive calls via VoiP, but also be able to receive calls via the “old” telephone lines.

At this time, i accept any suggestion, we thought of some ideas, very vague, not even sure if it is possible:

Can the gigaset device be use to comunicate to the ISDN network, meaning, all calls coming from ISDN be sent to the terminals attached to Asterisk?

Can Asterisk control a normal 56k modem, and deal all receiving calls, send them to a terminal, everything we normaly do with a PBX?

If not, how can i help him? Cost is the essence here, but functionality is important also.

I’m sorry for such a long first post in this forums, but we are in a halt until a solution is found, any solution.

OK, how many users are on this network? and where are you located? i mean bandwidth in the US is super cheap.

But to answer your question… I am not too familiar with the Gigaset HW but you can setup an asterisk box and install many FXO/FXS cards on it if you want to use your pots lines. although it would be wayyyy cheaper to use voip termination with a carrier. were talking less than 2 cents per minute within the US.

I hope i helped a little.

Exactly… i wish i was in the US.

Europe, Portugal actually.

Not too many users, 10 more or less.

I asked about the Analog modems, and the POTS, because the gigaset has 2 analog devices on it. I trying to make things cheap here…

i would ditch/retire/sell the gigaset unless you’re not using it to provide DECT services to any devices … which is pretty unlikely as that’s it’s primary function.

i would look for an Eicon BRI card with on-board DSP and use that instead, and provide analogue connections via a PAP2 or similar ATA. or maybe get a multi-port ISDN card, use 1 BRI to connect to the telco, and another to connect the gigaset in ?? the Digium offering looks good, but might be too expensive for your budget.

you can probably forget about using 56k modems with Asterisk as telephony ports, unless they are using one of a select range of chipsets. and even then, do you want nasty quality when you’ve been used to (probably) very clear ISDN ? once you have had digital, you won’t want to go back.

Hello Daedric,

What you are asking for is pretty much what many people looking at Migrating to Asterisk in the Business world are looking for as well.

Your setup appears to me pretty Standard for a small business (SME/SMB) and as such Migrating to Asterisk can be a viable solution, however though i must caution you on this move, if not done properly it could be disastrous to the business, and since i am not too familiar with your country’s DSL network i also have to be careful at what info you are given.

The following is a Basic Guide line of what you can do, but by no means a full measure, which in any event i am sure people on these boards can correct any statements i make, or add more to it.

First of all the Equipment you will Need;

  1. A System to Run Asterisk on, and my advice on this is “DO not be tight, be prepared to spend a few dollars on it, after all it is running your business Telephone services”. Here is a basic system guide;

Either a very well ventilated Tower, or a Decent Rack Mount Server which has Dual Power, 1 for redundancy.

Intel Based server side Mother Board (I am biased as i don’t often work with AMD), pick a good brand such as Intel branded, SuperMicro or Tyan unless of course they are not a brand you can obtain in your country.

2GB Minimum of memory, Preferably ECC memory but not essential if you don’t have the budget. It can either be Branded RAM or Non Banded what ever you can cater for in your Budget.

Raptor based Hard Drive (I recommend Western Digital), Raptors are more reliable then the standard SATA Drive, and have more of a commercial reliability to them, plus they are fast :wink:

Intel Core Duo CPU, this will be good for when it has to place SIP based calls that are not controlled by a TDM card.

Linux Operating System, For stability i chose Fedora Core 4 but you can work with the latest release which is Fedora Core 6 can be located here

If your up too it, i suggest using Asterisk 1.4 it has a Nice GUI (User Interface that is good for those who can not work on the Command Line Level), and has other great features that may or may not be useful too you. If not then use either Trixbox or Asterisk Version 1.2 ( TrixBox is good but not quite the same as the full blown version of Asterisk)

I suggest a Digium Card take a look at these ones available … gcards.php they are not cheap as some other brands, but if you ask me there is nothing better then using a card that was designed for Asterisk, this way you know what your getting.

As for Phones, well you can use your existing ones or purchase new ones, which i am sure if you look over these forums you will see a few posts where you can see what is available in the market place now, or someone might be kind and post some links for you.

You will also need a Good Broadband Service, try and get one with at least a 768K Upstream capabilities, this will allow you to run multiple calls at the same time, whilst maintaining quality and integrity of the calls.

As for connecting up your Exisiting ISDN lines, then make sure you look into the Digium cards for that.

Remember, this is designed for replacing your existing PABX system which is most likely very old, having Asterisk will introduce to you a whole new world of Telephony, and your Business if don’t right can benefit from it in a big way.

However if your not Interested in building a System yourself, then i suggest you take a look around on the internet, or maybe even Digium’s website to see what setups they have, buying a pre-built system is ideally a better choice unless you have someone who can program your system up, if you don’t, working you way around Asterisk can be cumbersome and confusing to a novice.

Have a look at this and see who their re-sellers are of this product, if you ask me, this is a damn good solution then what i have proposed above

I know my info is not probably going to help you too much, if anything probably confused you a little more, but keep some of the info on hand as it can useful to you somewhere along the journey.



I haven’t seen such good answers in a very long time…

Now… here’s the issue.

With the setup i have now, i cannot make more than 2 phone calls.
This is not hardware limited in the installation, it’s operator limited.

As such, i believe the setup you’ve described is overkill, too much machine wasted, worse, there is NOT one single operator in Portugal that provides 768kbps upload bandwidth. (I don’t believe our phone lines would take it anyway, we are very behind schedule here…)

Although i believe SIP and VoiP are extremely processor hungry loads, a core duo would be probably too much, as at any given time, no more that 2, max 3 calls coexist. As for digital vs analog quality, ISDN in Portugal is limited to very big companies. Most phone calls, are to POTS, and most of all, cell phones. This also goes for the 2gb RAM.

The main problem here is, how can i connect my Asterisk box to my ISDN provider! I really don’t know what kind of hardware/setup is needed. I ear about FXO/FXS, BRI/PRI… and I’m all blind here.

Although this is a Medium Business, due to its 100 employees or so, only 5 or 6 work at the office.

Please remember, we are trying to cut expenses here. I’m perfectly aware that I’ll probably have to ditch my Gigaset, but we are on a tight budget. (We ALL are in Portugal i’m afraid. just for example, the English VAT equivalent in here is 21%)