[newbie] Help with a simple setup

Hi all,

I live in France and the ISP I’ve subscribed to provides a regular phone line along with my Internet connection. Here’s a simple schema of my setup:

Since I don’t use this phone line I would like to switch the regular phone with a computer (preferably running Linux) where I could receive/handle calls programatically. For example, execute a shell script if I press 2, that kind of thing.

I’ve asked this question somewhere else and I was pointed here. I’ve googled around but I didn’t found a really basic introduction to asterisk.

I’m experienced in programming, unix, sysadmin and basic network stuff but I know next to nothing about phones or asterisk. So I would like to know if asterisk can actually do what I want and how. Also, I guess I’ll have to buy a telephony card. Which one should I buy given my very modest need? If you can’t point me to a precise model, just give me the technical requirements of the card I should buy.

http://ofps.oreilly.com/titles/9780596517342/ should get you started. You are correct, to connect an analogue phone line you will a telephony card, see http://store.digium.com/products.php?category_id=1 (since you live in France, some are available on amazon.fr.) However, you might be better off going entirely SIP, for this you will need a provider such as http://www.ippi.fr/.

Good luck

If I understand correctly, I have to spend more than $100 on a 4+ port telephony card to do what I want in my first post?
There must be cheaper way to make this…

I’ve tried using the telephony card selector on digium website but I have no idea what are FXS/FXO ports or if I need them (my guess is no?), what voltage I need, echo cancellation? wtf?

All I know is I want to connect one regular phone line to my computer and a documented interface to communicate with it (read/write) from my OS. PCI or even USB is fine. If the signal processing is not done it’s alright, I can program my way around it with some math.

Does something like this exists?

FXS - Foreign exchange station ( basically where you connect your analog handset / analog phone device)
FXO -Foreigh exchange office ( basically where you connect your analog telephone line (to make and receive call))

check the below link to check which pci slot you have and which digium card suits


then go to store.digium.com/boards/ and select only FXO for your requirement.

I won’t pay $400 for this. Thanks anyway.

Ok if you dont want a real tdm card, go and find a winmodem with tiger chipset, but dont back and complain about echo, disconnections, bad sound etc.

Also take a look on Sangoma U100 or Openvox A400P

Ah, this is the kind of information I wanted, thanks!
Have you read my first post? I’m fine with just knowing if a number is pressed so I can execute a script.

The Openvox A400P is still a bit expensive.
I’ve found these clones which are much cheaper ($30). Can you confirm this is what I need?

I think the problem is it is not clear what you want to do. You say you want to “receive/handle calls programatically”, so I assume that you want the PC to answer an incoming phone call over your analogue line and then respond to actions such as keypresses.

The clone cards will probably do what you want, but even responding to keypresses means that the card needs to work well enough to reproduce the DTMF tone so that Asterisk can interpret it. I think most people have found that cheap cards can result in lots of frustration, but since your requirements are much simpler, they may work. You can create a simple voice menu system and Asterisk can call external programs depending on the response.

Good luck!