How to Get Started with Asterisk?


I am completely new to PBX systems. I would like to setup Asterisk so I can connect two analog phones to the PSTN.

I have been unable to find a website that lists the BASIC hardware required to run Asterisk; not the computer specs but the other hardware for connecting phones to the computer and from the computer to the PSTN.

Can someone post a list of the cheapest REQUIRED hardware I will need?

(To give some perspective, I know only a little about PBX systems, so I’m looking to do some basic experiments with Asterisk. I need hardware suggestions for only a basic setup with 1 - 2 phones and nothing else)

Thank you very much!

that all depends on what pstn lines you have, the maximum budget, and how stable do you wan’t it to be.
if you use the wrong hardware you might get dissapointed

Hi Robv,

Take a look at this book;

Asterisk: The Future of Telephony, 2nd Edition download it free. … kshelf.php



I’ve looked at the O’Reilly book, but still do not see a specific list of current hardware needed to run a basic PBX system.

I’m just experimenting, so it does not need to be very stable, and the budget is less than $300. I’m not sure how to describe the PSTN lines.

Can you provide a basic list of hardware based on the above information for a typical test configuration?

the hardware depends on how many phones you want to support, to use PSTN i think you need to use a fxo gateway, this will convert the call into sip, we use a linksys spa400 for this.

are you using Linux or Windoze?

a basic desktop machine will run asterisk


I would like to use Windows XP Pro for my setup. What I am trying to do is get a basic Asterisk system running that will allow me to use 1 - 2 analog phones and connect this whole system to my telephone line.

Would you be able to write up a list like this:

FXO gateway - does this, this, this
Adapter Device - this, this


Since I am new to Asterisk, getting a basic list of requirements will really help.

hello mate,

take a look at these wiki sites

i didnt have the first idea about asterisk up until about a year ago, but by using the o’reilly book and google its all pretty easy

oh by the way if you using normal analogue phones you will need to use an FXS gateway which basically turns an analogue device into a sip device

fxo gateways turn pstn lines into something asterisk can understand and can then route accordingly

Asterisk is really aimed at Linux and not windows, we use Ubuntu which is free and with the gui attached it looks pretty much like a “normal” os except it doesnt crash! there are weird and wonderful versions of * (asterisk) but have been butched to work on Windows


If it helps, I got started with a Linksys / Sipura SPA-3102 device.

This has a phone port and a line port.

You can also grab a SIP client like the Xten lite and set up some simple extensions.

If you google Asterisk and SPA3102, there is a video on how to hook the devices up + a bunch of step by step tutorials on a number of different web sites. The video is also available on bit torrent.

You can pick up a SIP phone off ebay, but here in Aus, they tend to sell for between $100 and $200 each for a half decent one.

Good luck. Let me know how you go :smile: