Wishlist for low-cost appliance/headless server for Asterisk

I am trying to track down a low-cost “appliance” box/headless server that I can use to roll-out Asterisk deployments. [e.g. access via SSH or HTTP/HTTPS]

My idea is something along the lines of:

  • Consumer-friendly packaging a la Linksys, Netgear, DLink, etc.

  • Fanless operation, so running a low-power CPU

  • i386 architecture and notebook style RAM

  • Ability to boot from external USB drive and install to mass storage such as miniSD card or iPod style hard disk

  • Linux compatible devices for USB, LAN (ideally two LAN ports), etc. Hence the same style boxes could also be used for Proxy Applications, DHCP server, DNS server and so forth using a lightweight Linux distro

Is anyone aware of a device in manufacture that approaches these specifications?

im looking for the same, i will let you know what i find, please do the same.


About the best bang for the buck out there are the Soekris Net4801 boards.
Very reliable, cheap, and fanless. There is even a custom version of Asterisk+Linux specifically for them to run on CF or 2.5" HD.
Or you can roll your own using standard Asterisk or Asterisk@Home

Not a lot of options on packaging though. The Soekris case may or may not work for you. Their new case to accomodate the lan1641 looks like a not bad option.

If you want to mount on a wall and look like something similar to what traditional KSU/PBX boxes are then this looks like an interesting option. I like the idea of having everything integrated including battery backup. Looks like there is enough room for lot’s of optional configurations.

Thanks mustardman,

The Soekris card looks interesting. The controltools unit would also be interesting for SMB applications of Asterisk, however the price quoted on the web site seems very high as I guess it is geared towards industrial environments.

I have also uncovered some devices from Advantech, a Taiwanese manufacturer.

They seem to have a wide variety of boards and chassis options. I will investigate further.

I also found the following on their web site that would be ideal. A Japanese Systems Integrator has taken the Advantech PCM-5820 card and packaged it in a great looking chassis to sell as a low-end Linux server. It could be a great Asterisk box!


When I find more I’ll post it.

I think guys that you’re heading the right destination by the wrong way. :slight_smile: The best systems for small and embedded servers I ever seen are at www.norhtec.com

I have contacted Michael C. Barnes (the company president) several times before with different questions related to their products and always got very kind and helpfull response. The devices they offer are of a very high quality and sometimes are unique on the market while still keeping relatively low price.

Hi Guys,

Here is a headless appliance for asterisk.

inventigo.co.uk/home/Products/Te … erisk-pbx/

Options for Compact Flash Storage or 40GB 2.5" Drive.
Option of Via C3 800 Processor or Pentium M.

Conection to PSTN through ATA’s or IP.

Can be supplied bare (NO OS or Software)

I have just contacted Mr. Barnes again and have got the following price for the “Multi Client” unit (norhtec.com/products/mc/details.html):

  1. VIA M6000 motherboard, 677 MHz fanless processor
  2. NO RAM (ready for a DDR 266 module)
  3. NO HDD (ready for a 3.5" drive)
  4. NO CD-ROM

all that for $282 + shipping

The motherboard has a full size low profile PCI slot although it is hidden inside the case. Standard configuration does not include PCI riser card, but Mr. Barnes told me that for larger quantities, they can build a unit with a riser card. For the M6000, that space is taken up by the card used for firewire and extra USB.
So for the unit out of the box I think it is possible to use a usual PCI riser card, do some custom patching and put required outputs from the Digium’s card in place of that extra FW/USB panel.