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Jul 26

Asterisk, the incredible convergence machine

So, I finished my first run-through of getting an Asterisk PBX set up in my home. With the awesome community resource http://voip-info.org/, the book Asterisk: The Future of Telephony, and, of course, Asterisk’s own documentation and configuration file comments, I built myself a much more well-featured answering machine. 😉 Initially, I purchased two pieces of hardware – the Grandstream BudgeTone 200 IP Phone and the Grandstream HandyTone 488 FXS/FXO device. However, the 488 didn’t work well for my purposes, as it didn’t support passing caller-id information from the PSTN to Asterisk, and it was annoying that you couldn’t use the FXS when the FXO was active on the PSTN line. I e-mailed Grandstream tech support, and they said that they were never going to offer a firmware update to the 488 to add this function, so, I broke down and bought a Cisco/Linksys/Sipura SPA-3102. For around $30 more, the SPA-3102 offered much, much more, including a better web interface, caller ID from the PSTN, and, to my ears, a bit better sound quality both in the FXS and the PSTN connection.

So what do I get with this effort?

  • Message storage limited only by the size of my hard drive.
  • VoiceMail via e-mail to main e-mail account and cell phone as a short text message, complete with caller ID info, time length, and the message attached as a WAV audio file.
  • Internal extensions over 802.11g wireless network (no cable lays), with uLaw (PSTN-level quality audio codec).
  • Using Twinkle (or any softphone), make calls in my home area from anywhere there’s an Internet connection.
  • So many possibilities!

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