I just heard about asterisk from a friend and is pretty interested in it, so I tried to do some research on. However, maybe I’m relatively new to this field, after hours of google/wiki/glossary queries… I’m still not sure if I really understand what’s asterisk about, so I’ve decided to ask my questions here.
I noticed that most articles for asterisk is about VoIP. However, I’m currently using a traditional phone line (actually it’s a “digital phone” but I guess it won’t make any difference: http://www.shaw.ca/en-ca/ProductsServices/DigitalPhone/HowItWorks.htm) as my primary phone line. So, I’m wondering what asterisk can/cannot do with that. Can I implement features like caller log/speed dial/conference/answering machine with a traditional phone line? What else? And what are the limitations? Also, (in addition to my old fashion, traditional phones) can I answer/dial calls from my networked computers without additional hardware? (i.e. making ‘software’ call) How about fax?
In addition to my traditional phone line, I also subscribed to a HK based VoIP service (which is, I can dial/pick up calls from HK as if I’m in HK here in canada). It currently works by connecting a VoIP box provided by the service provider to my router (and to a traditional phone on the other end). Could I replace that box with an asterisk server? If yes, what’s the benefit/what ‘extra features’ could I get from that? If not, can I connect that line to the server as if it was a traditional line (via the ‘box’)?
As mentioned above, I am currently subscribing to 2 land lines (Local number: ‘digital’ line; HK number: VoIP line). Can I connect them both to the asterisk server? Could I forward calls from both lines to one set of traditional phones? (This would allow me to dial both CA/HK numbers from the same phone.) Is it possible to ‘bridge’ the two lines? (For example, incoming call from line 1 -> asterisk ‘relay’ -> dial another number by line 2 then create a ‘conference’) Also, I be make separated, independent calls from both lines at the same time? (perhaps one from phone on from computer?) Are there any advantages/disadvantages for connecting more than one line to the asterisk server?
I have a spare pc currently running ubuntu. It’s a P4 1.8 (i guess) with ~512MB DDR. Is that generally enough for running a phone server? If not, how powerful will that have to be? Also, what extra hardware do I need for connecting traditional phone lines? (I’ve heard that modems can’t do the trick.) How much would that cost? Any extra requirements if I need to connect more than one outgoing line? How about my phones? Any special requirements? Will I lost the ‘caller ID’ feature on my phone if there’s an extra asterisk layer between the line and my phone? I’ve also heard that you can actually run asterisk w/o any extra hardware. What can asterisk do w/o connecting to traditional phone lines? (I’m assuming it’s like VoIP stuff?) Do you need to subscribe for any service for that to work?
What’s the difference between installing asterisknow and installing that on top of an already installed linux? How is asterisknow ‘optimized’ for running asterisk? Can I run extra service like apache on asterisknow? (and would that be considered ‘too much’ for my machine?) Is it possible to manage the box via lan? (ssh/console: fine; gui/web based: great) Can I do the ‘cool stuffs’ such as filtering/redirecting/monitoring (i.e. routing) calls with asterisk?
Any other comments/suggestions/advise?
Thanks for reading this post (sorry I know it’s long )
Thanks in advance for any advice/comments