Hardware best pick


I have a home network behind a cisco pix 6.0 firewall connected to my isp via dsl modem (it was easier to go with the standard dsl connection). I want to run an asterisk server on a redhat linux box that is currently running as my alternate dns/mail server and primary samba server for print and file sharing (low-volume processes in my case) and the sound card works :slight_smile: The hardware is dated: an MSI motherboard with a VIA 694X chipset and 1 GHz processor, but asterisk should not need lot of memory for a few friends and family connections. Having done research on your site and elsewhere, I need to purchase:

  • an IP phone or two with an ATA adapter, and/or
  • a laptop with a headset and pci card (ethernet and/or wireless)
  • a Digium PCI card (TDM400P with X100M) for the server if I use phones
    The clients connecting to me will need an IP phone and ATA adapter, or better-because-cheaper, a headset to a laptop which will need some/asterisk client software installed and configured.
    I’ve been looking to replace at least one phone at home so I may as well get an IP phone with ATA adapter anyway, and I need to buy a laptop with two pci ports if ethernet and wireless are not built in - overstocked.com without an OS looks fine, but the cheap ones don’t come with wireless - I understand lucent is a good solution for linux/ubuntu. Pls do a sanity check on this and recommend hardware if possible, thanks.


hi nimy,

It looks like you are trying to set up a closed user group SIP telephony network for family and friends.
It is a good idea to test the Asterisk software as a IP PBX. It will give you a lot of insight in this fabulous world of SIP and softswitches.

An alternative to obtain the same effect would be to make use of a free SIP service provider. ( fwd for instance ) This would get you up and running a lot faster.

Regarding the IP phones and ATA’s.
My preferences are:
Sipura 3000 in case you want to connect both worlds and still keep your analogue phone set. ( or any other Sipura in case you want an ATA )
Or Swissvoice IP10s in case you want to have a dedicated IP phone for this purpose only. ( excellent price/quality ratio )

I don’t like softphones on computers. In my opinion a telephony service should be always up and reachable. Leaving a PC up and running to achieve this is not very economic ( 200 W always on, yields in an extra cost of 250 Euro/year). IP phones only consume 1/10 or even less.
Better-because-cheaper! How much cheaper?
And I don’t like headphones as a telephone device as well.

If all works fine, then start working on your Asterisk. Here also would I recommend to use it as a UAC ( IP phone instead of IP server ) connected to a service like FWD for instance. Internally you can then still use the Asterisk to call each other locally, forward, etc…

Anyway a lot of possibilities are out there. The above is just the way I would do it. I hope you find it useful.



another vote against softphones. If you do use them, use it as a supplement to hardphones.

For phones- try a Grandstream GXP2000. They are cheap ($100) and have some nifty features. If you aren’t quite there yet, try a Grandstream BT100/BT101. The new version doesn’t look like a toy as much, but they are great to learn on. Many members of the Asterisk community (myself included) learned how everything works with a BT100 back when it was the only IP phone that wasn’t horribly expensive.


I’m not sure what you are trying to do, but you should probably NOT have anyone from outside your lan log into your Asterisk setup.

Here is what I’ve got setup, Asterisk on my home LAN behind NAT & firewall, with a FWD IAX account and two friends have Grandstream BT100s that I bought a few years ago updated with the newest firmware on FWD also (but as SIP), so when they want to call me they call my FWD 6 digit number, and when I want to call them I dial *9 plus their 6 digit numbers (my dial plan that routes out over the FWD account)

I did not need to make any changes to their firewalls to get this working.

The next phase is to get an ATA for them so they can use a wireless phone and that will use the POTs for most calls except to other people with FWD accounts.

Most of the ATAs I see expect people to do a full switch over to VOIP, I did find one that lets you set up a dial plan, normal people I think want to keep their normal phone lines in place and only talk over VOIP when they are talking to others people who are on VOIP too. - I have yet to order and test it yet I think it’s at vida21.com

I’ve also got a mysipphone account that I can dial out to 800 numbers to.

My Asterisk box is a 1Ghz Via (1 PCI slot with a TDM400P in there with one FXS and one FXO module.) TDM11

It takes 40-41 watts to run this Asterisk box (I’ve got a KillaWatt display on it)

On my LAN I’m running Cisco 7960s but they require a TFTP server and can be a pain to setup (in SIP mode now)

And as others have said Softphones suck