Simple home PBX?

I want to set up what I hope would be a simple home PBX, primarily to provide call screening and voice mail. I’m looking for information about Asterisk, and the hardware that can be used with it. I want to get a rough idea of how much it would cost.

Here’s what I’m looking for:

[]Connect to PSTN via existing POTS line. Not using VOIP.[/]
[]One analog FXO and two analog FXS ports (it is unlikely that the system will ever be expanded).[/]
[]FXS port #1 will be connected a DECT cordless phone system (already in place and working well).[/]
[]FXS port #2 will be connected to a standard analog phone.[/]
[]Incoming Caller ID will be screened against a blacklist and a whitelist. Blacklisted callers get disconnected. Whitelisted callers go right through. Unknown callers get a “If you know your party’s extension you may enter it at any time, or press 0 for the operator” message. If they don’t press a number, they get disconnected (weed out robocalls).[/]
[]All incoming calls that pass screening will ring on FXS#1.[/]
[]FXS#2 will only ring if the incoming caller is on the whitelist, or they know the extension number (weed out telemarketing scum).[/]
[]If an incoming call is ringing on FXS#1 but not on FXS#2, picking up FXS#2 will not answer the call.[/]
[]In the future, I may want to turn FXS#2 into a “hotline” phone, where lifting the receiver initiates an outbound call to a predefined number.[/]
I’m a software engineer by trade, and have experience with both PC’s and embedded systems. I don’t mind (and may actually enjoy :mrgreen:) spending time putting a system together, but the result needs to be mostly maintenance free.

So, having said all that, does anybody have any pointers, suggestions, and/or warnings?

  1. Read the book -
  2. Buy FXO/FXS card and modules (this is the expensive part - you get what you pay for)
  3. Find an old (but not too old!) PC and install Linux on it.
  4. Download and install Asterisk from source - since it’s a new install, might as well start with 1.8.
  5. Have hours of fun configuring and tweaking it.
  6. Realize how much more you could do and get obsessed by it. :smile:

Have fun!

Thank you for that link!

This is the part that I’m most concerned about. It seems like most of the PCI cards marketed for Asterisk use are targeted at high end applications. I don’t have 25 stations or a PRI – I just want 1 FXO and 2 FXS ports. Are there any good “review” or “enthusiast” web sites that cover lower-end hardware?

There are certainly cheaper solutions, but as I said, you get what you pay for. I have a couple of USB fxo modules on secondary systems. They’re ok, they work most of the time, but sometimes they don’t and occasionally they crash the system. On my main system I have a TDM410 which has worked flawlessly without interruption since I installed it.