Hardware Setup, Newb question


I have started to ponder the thought of setting up a Asterisk home PBX, and I have a question that I cannot seem to find an answer to in my digging.

I am looking to purchase the X100P PCI Adapter to hook up my standard telephone line to a PC.

My question is, how does this work? Do I plug the incoming phone line into the PC, and then plug another phone cord from the PC into my Phone Distribution System for my house? Or, does the PC replace the distribution system?

This part of the setup is very unclear to me. Please can someone elaborate on this? Thanks!!!

I’ve not used the X100P, but I’m pretty sure that it has one FXS port and one FXO port.

My thought would be to just place the machine in between you local carrier and your current distribution system. Then all of your phone will work with the existing wireing.


So, from what I can understand is that FXS is an INPUT and FXO is an OUTPUT? If this is the case, can someone confirm is the X100P has both of these ports?

no no no no

The X100 card is a rebadged voice modem. It can work decently well, but is often the cause of a wide range of issues. Worth a shot i suppose, but i would never use one in a situation where it failing will lose somebody money.

Being a rebadged voice modem, it has two ports just like any other modem. You plug your phone line into one. The other is the ‘phone’ port, so if you have a phone on your desk you can plug it there. It is disconnected when the modem is in use to prevent you from interrupting the data stream.

Being asterisk is not sending data, the 2nd port is useless. Ignore that it is there.

FXO is input, FXO connects to a phone LINE. FXS is output, it connects to a PHONE, and provides that phone(s) with dialtone, battery voltage, ringing when a call comes in, etc etc. If you forget this alot, just remember that FXS Serves.
The X100 or clones do NOT have an FXS port. They have ONE FXO port and one useless port.

What do you mean by ‘phone distribution system’? Is this a phone system? IE, in your current configuration can you call from one extension to another? Or if you are talking on the phone and pick up another phone, you hear the first call?

The ‘right’ way to do this is to install one FXO port per line you have, and one FXS port per phone you have. Then each port is assigned its own extension number so they can be dialed separately. You can also assign extensions to ring some or all of them. The advantage of this type of setup is that each phone will ALWAYS get a dialtone regardless of who else is on the phone. You can only have as many outgoing calls as you have FXO ports connected to lines, but the inside phones can always call each other.

If you are going to do something like this, how it would work depends on how many lines and phones you have. If you need 8 or less total ports (lines+phones), try a Digium TDM400 series card. They have 4 ports each and when you buy it you can select what modules (FXS or FXO) go in each port.
If you need more than 8 ports, try a Sangoma A200. Using the ‘remora’ modules, you can fit up to I think 20 ports per system.
You could also use ATAs. An ATA (analog telephony adapter) is a small device that connects to * via VoIP (over ethernet) and provides 1-2 FXS ports.
Lastly (best option IMHO) you can use IP phones. IP phones are phones that have Ethernet ports where the phone jack would be. They connect to * directly over VoIP (SIP protocol) and let you much more easily do things like hold/transfer/conference, as there are buttons to do it instead of star codes. Cheap IP phones can be had for as low as $50/each (Grandstream BT100 series). Many models are available based on your price range.

Hope this helps!

This helps tremendously! Thanks for taking the time to explain this to me.

I was looking at the TDM400 series cards, and they seem to be very expensive, especially if you buy add-on modules for your extra phones.

In my case, I have a standard phone system, with one phone line. When someone calls in, all the phones ring, and any phone can be picked up. (standard setup).

I was looking at other alternatives, and found some information on the SPA-3000 “router-like” system. I am wondering about this piece of hardware. Do you need to purchase one for each phone? I was hoping to set it up like the following diagram:

Would this work? I cannot seem to find an answer to this question. Basically, the idea would be to plug in my phone line (from my phone company) into the SAP-3000 - Then plug the other end of the SPA (the “phone” end) into my distribution panel. The “distribution panel” acts like a splitter to all my phone lines in the house.

Would this setup work? I figure I wouldn’t be able to call each phone internally via an extension, but would all the phone be manageable via my PC ? (Asterisk)?

eh, sort of. It wouldn’t get you much. You are correct you would only have one channel, that is you can still pick up any phone to barge in on the only conversation. All this setup would get you is Asterisk’s voicemail and routing.

If you are going to go with ATAs, get a Sipura 3000 for each line, and plug each phone into one of the FXS ports (it has two IIRC). If you have more phones than ports get Sipura 2x00’s to fill in the gaps.

True, the cards are a lot more expensive per port but I still recommend them because they are easier to set up. Instead of configuring the ATA, then Asterisk for SIP, then asterisk dialplan, you just configure the card and asterisk dialplan.
Also FYI the TDM400 without any modules is useless. The modules do not add extra functionality, they give it functionality. It has 4 ports and takes up to 4 modules, each module activates one port as FXS or FXO.

Hope that helps!