Is Asterisk right for me?

I need an automated answering machine that gives a caller a list of options to choose from. Then I need the call to forward to another number or another phone in the office depending on the key pressed. But if the forwarded call is not answered I need a voice mail box to take a message and send a e-mail or text message to a mobile number. Is something like this possible? I have an older computer set up with two modems, would that work? (one for the line in, one for the forwarding to the remote number)

I really know nothing at all about phones, could someone point me in the right direction? I think Asterisk would work, but I am having trouble visualizing the hardware part.

Thank you!


Asterisk has plenty of features to support automated answer machine (IVR) to capture key pressed (DTMF) and conditionally forward to another phone or voicemail.

re the hardware part, you need a fxo card (eg from digium) installed on your asterisk server. the fxo card has rj11 sockets where you plug in the pstn phone lines.

if your automated answer machine is going to support 1 incoming call and 1 outgoing call, then you need a 2-port fxo card.


Alright, so asterisk can handle it, but I’m still having trouble seeing how it will all lay out.

If I only have one line in how can a call be forwarded to another number? Wouldn’t the line be busy? Would a voip line let an incoming regular phone call be forwarded to another phone number? Also how are phones handled on a fxo card? Is each phone plugged into the FXO card regarded as an extension? How do I get a phone line to the computer, would one of the ports on the FXO be the line in port or would i need a separate modem?

This is how I see it working, but I don’t know if this is possible. Can someone please check my work for me?

Yes, your schema its right and its possible with asterisk

Thats actually a very good schematic, More people should see this example as it is very clear and easy to understand.

Alright! I’ll be trying asterisk out for the first time tomorrow. I need to find a slightly less crappy computer first, this old Pentium 2 I’m using now just barely pushes 466MHz, and that’s with a 10% clock :laughing:

I don’t mind anyone using my flow chart, I didn’t know my paint skills were that good :mrgreen:

Thanks everyone!

you need at least 2 phone lines (for in and out) in order to forward an incoming call to remote phone number, i.e. you have to subscribe two phone lines from your telecom provider.

it is the fxo card that connects phone lines to your computer. note that it is not for connecting phone. in your setup, you don’t need the modem.

in your call flow, incoming calls are forwarded to to phone1, phone2, etc depending on key press. i assume these are normal phone sets in your office. these have to be networked using fxs gateway so that asterisk could know their existence and forward calls to them. the fxs gateway is a device with a RJ45 socket (connects LAN) and a RJ11 socket (connects phone set).

the scenario is :
incoming call->fxo card port1->asterisk->fxo card port2->remote phone (both lines are engaged)
incoming call->fxo card port1->asterisk->fxs gateway->office phone (only one lne is engaged, the call from asterisk to office phone is an internal call)