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SPA-3000 Review/Guide: Affordable Home PBX

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the press-4-to-hear-the-monkeys-scream dept.

Communications 160

Kerbo writes "Seems every few days there is another news item about Asterisk PBX or Asterisk@Home, the open-source PBX system and associated installer package. You may have even been wondering what equipment you need to get started. The Geek Gazette has posted a review of the Sipura SPA-3000 ATA/Gateway with a complete setup guide on configuring it to work with Asterisk. This makes a very cost-effective way to get started by using your existing phone line as a trunk into the PBX."

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160 comments

Vanilla Ice forever! FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479125)

GNAA

I remember my first affordable PBX (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479148)

It consisted of two tin cans and a string, and it worked mighty fine!

Re:I remember my first affordable PBX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479563)

Oh, so you use TCAST as your carrier, too? (Two Cans And a STring)

ignorant question (1)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479152)

how is a single phone line going to be useful for running a PBX?

Re:ignorant question (4, Funny)

dotslasher_sri (762515) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479181)

Sir,

Hand over your geek card. We do things not because we have to, but because we can. ;)

Re:ignorant question (1)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479232)

it was a serious question, ive never dealt with telco-type stuff before and the features that asterisk and the other offer are very interesting, but i dont see the point of using with only a single phone line over VOIP (which is what everyone seems to have their knickers in a twist over).

Re:ignorant question (5, Interesting)

liamo (699840) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479517)

Well, my setup at home is probably typical of the home Asterisk user.

I have a POTS line and I have a VOIP account, both of which terminate on my Asterisk box.

In addition to my normal house phone I have a GrandStream SIP phone. Either phone can make or answer calls and each phone can call each other. (Handy for calling downstairs from the office to order another beer!)

I get voicemail, call hold, call parking, music on hold.

Although I haven't set it up yet, I can have it answer my fax calls, convert the fax to a PDF and email it to me.

I get the ability to route my calls depending on where I'm calling. For example, calls to cell-phones, 1800 numbers and emergency calls go out my POTS line. All other calls go out on my VOIP account. As most of my family live in the US (I live in Ireland) I make a huge saving on the cost of those calls.

By way of a proof-of-concept for my employer (in the financial services industry) I even wrote a Telephone Banking application in Perl for Asterisk.

Although I make savings on my calls and get added functionality, the main reason I use Asterisk is for control over my telecoms. Apart from that, it's cool!

Re:ignorant question (1)

halfelven (207781) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479810)

Well, you only have one analog line, but you have a lot of VoIP "lines" over your broadband connection.

A PBX @ home makes a lot of sense in conjunction with a DSL/cable link. Install maybe one or two analog phones on the PBX, but then deploy as many VoIP phones as you want - and not necessarily only in your house! ;-) Then hook up to VoIP providers, etc. Its flexibility is virtually unlimited.

Re:ignorant question (2, Interesting)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479922)

In addition to the features pointed out by other posters, telemarketer avoidance is a HUGE benefit. IMO, the donotcall list is a failure due to all the exceptions (think back to the pre-election timeframe...) I've been running * for over a year now, and have quite a nice dial-plan / feature list. I have it integrated with an intercom, mp3 server, phones in various places (garage, basement, etc.), speed-dials for family, callerID rewriting (put a REAL name on the number), time-of-day inbound restrictions (no more wrong-number calls in the middle of the night), time of day restrictions based on called ID, etc.

I also get my voicemails via email, can access everything remotely via VoIP or normal phone, can use VoIP from the hotel on my laptop to call my wife, call friends without using long-distance, transfer my home-office phone to wherever I am, etc.

It makes the old "stupid annoying phone" not so annoying and a lot more useful.

Re:ignorant question (4, Informative)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479185)

There are a few ways this could be helpful:

1) Voicemail. Someone leaves a message, the pbx emails it to you.

2) VoIP usability. Once the line makes it into my pbx, regardless of how, it's mine. I go on vacation? Cool, I just pack up my phone and take it with me.

Those are just two off the top of my head, I'm sure I could think of more were I to really focus on it.

Re:ignorant question (2, Interesting)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479283)

IMHO, the most interesting use for home is the ability to use CID. Using CID, you can create "blacklists" for those annoying sales calls, as well as caller-id-blocked calls and unknown callers. At the same time, you can configure it to listen for en extension being dialed, which can be used to give you (or anybody you give the "secret extension to") the ability to bypass the "bleep-bleep-bleep" message and actually ring the phone.

Another interesting use is integrating it with X10 or other home automation tools, so you can remotely control your house without having to have internet access wherever you are.

Also, wouldn't it be cool to have your Linux box read your email (or /.) to you over the phone on those lonely nights?

Re:ignorant question (2, Interesting)

pinkocommie (696223) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479307)

Buy a VOIP Line (packet8 etc), take it to a country that doesnt offer VOIP lines (india? pakistan? uae?), plug it into the internet, plug the sipura up with a local line and voila you can call anyone in that country as a local call?

Re:ignorant question (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479464)

If you live with other people you could use extensions to direct each call to the right person, and set up a separate voicemail box for each one. You could also set up a single phone number for your business even if it's just 3 telecommuters, which might make it look more professional.

Plus, telemarketers would never ring a phone.

Re:ignorant question (2, Informative)

Cynshard (752469) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479233)

Super Caller Id [stromcarlson.com]

Re:ignorant question (2, Insightful)

Nos. (179609) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479409)

Now imagine a setup like this for a salesperson. There phone rings... as normal (PBX, Asterisk, whatever). Now, as the phone rings, an app on their computer takes the Caller ID and runs it through their database of existing customers. As our salesperson answers the phone, they can see every piece of information about that client. If they're not in the database, it could do a 411 lookup or something to pull any information it could. I thought about setting something like this up, but have just never got around to it. Wouldn't be that hard though.

Re:ignorant question (1)

suwain_2 (260792) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479285)

I've thought for a while of pulling in a Vonage line, but keeping my home POTS line too.

What I'm interested in doing with Asterisk isn't necessarily having 2852085092209384 phone lines coming into my house, but doing extension-to-extension calling at home. It's a pain to have to walk downstairs to talk to someone.

Re:ignorant question (4, Funny)

Proc6 (518858) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479424)

"It's a pain to have to walk downstairs to talk to someone."

Agreed my fellow obese American!

Re:ignorant question (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479823)

It's a pain to have to walk downstairs to talk to someone.

Geez, the OP must be a PHB.

Most slashdotters have to walk upstairs to talk to someone. And in half of those cases, the someones are the parents.

Re:ignorant question (4, Interesting)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 8 years ago | (#12480014)

Well, that's funny, but the ability to call another extension is Very nice some times. I have a woodshop out back (loud ringer with a visual indicator,) and sometimes I answer a call that's for my wife. Rather than go outside in the snow, and yell throughout the house trying to find her, I just park the call and page her (All Call). If she doesn't answer I transfer the call to her personal voicemail. No more forgeting to give her the message and have her get all mad or anything.

Re:ignorant question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479926)

There are no ignorant questions. Or maybe I just think that because I had the same question.

Signate [signate.com] has an excellent book on Astrix.

Re:ignorant question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479991)

There are no ignorant questions. Or maybe I just think that because I had the same question.

Signate [signate.com] has an excellent book on Astrix.

But why? (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479158)

Given that most geeks get few enough phone calls to render an answering machine pointless, why do they need a PBX system?

Re:But why? (2)

oldwolf13 (321189) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479177)

I suppose it's the same reason I'm setting up network bootable terminals in my house (combination LTSP and win2003 TSC), which I really don't need...

because we can?

Re:But why? (4, Funny)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479228)

"I suppose it's the same reason I'm setting up network bootable terminals in my house"

To impress chicks, of course.

Re:But why? (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479343)

"To impress chicks, of course."

I knew a guy who had an old WANG mainframe. And he realy did try to use the line "want to come back to my place and check out my big WANG" a few times.

Re:But why? (1)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479358)

Given that most geeks get few enough phone calls to render an answering machine pointless, why do they need a PBX system?

An answering machine allows me to ignore people I don't absolutely have to talk to.

A PBX system allows me avoid interaction altogether by setting up an interactive system (i.e., "press one now").

Combine this with internet groceries and shopping, an income based solely on doing well in everquest, and many of us will never have to leave our mother's basements. Ever. BUWAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

Re:But why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479365)

Anyone who asks a question like this has visited the wrong web site and is obviously not one of us ....

Overkill (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479521)

A home PBX is to the average person's actual phone needs as a Hummer is to the average person's actual driving needs.

Asterisk. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479161)

Good to see that asterisk is in the news more and more. It is great a great pbx with so many ways to configure.

Re:Asterisk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479944)

they have a big name to live up to. Asterisk * the wild card, a universal rexgrep match... so much to live up to in the name, for a lil old pbx...

i wonder.... (4, Interesting)

Pandora's Vox (231969) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479182)

how long this will last now that Cisco bought Sipura.... cf: http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2005/corp_042605.ht ml?CMP=ILC-001 [cisco.com]

Re:i wonder.... (3, Informative)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479206)

Knee jerk reaction: Cisco's phones work just fine with asterisk.

Re:i wonder.... (1)

Pandora's Vox (231969) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479452)

nothing to do with this. this is an analog adapter. for asterisk. which competes with cisco's products such as their... analog adapters. and Call Manager, for that matter.

Re:i wonder.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479667)

how long this will last now that Cisco bought Sipura

Probably longer. Product development and gaining market share in risky areas like VoIP is capital intensive. It may not pay for itself for a while. Cisco brings the capital.

Re:i wonder.... (2, Informative)

bani (467531) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479723)

Cisco may be buying up sipura just so they can shut it down. Sipura's products compete with Cisco's own products.

Sorta like microsoft buying out companies just to eliminate competition.

Price (5, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479200)

I couldn't find the price in the article-- may have missed it. Went to the Sipura sight and they don't sell directly to end users. They do have links to sites that do sell to end-users and I found it for $99 [voipsupply.com]

The Cost Savings Here Could be Major (3, Insightful)

ultimabaka (864222) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479207)

Assuming the software works as well as private PBX systems, (which it doesn't yet seem to, based on the websites linked), it could save major dollars to larger corporations. My own company (Arch Insurance) easily spent thousands on our hardware PBX system, and we're not that big a company. I can imagine what, say, an AIG might spend every year just on this. Definitely worth exploring further.

This will be very useefull for small businesses (4, Interesting)

wcitech (798381) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479214)

My wife and I fix computers, and something like this would be very useful (so useful in fact that I think I'm going to build it.) Even with only one phone line, having the ability to create seperate mailboxes, and conditional voicemailboxes (eg. a different message after 6:00, or on saturday, or during lunch). Hooray for Do-it-yourselfers!

You insensitive clod (4, Funny)

yorkpaddy (830859) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479218)

No one calls me

Re:You insensitive clod (1)

stanleypane (729903) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479466)

Dvorak, eh? Too bad there isn't a Dvorak spellchecker. Yes, you can even be corrected for bad grammar when speaking in code. This IS Slashdot, afterall.

lgxlcj = pubpic

Re:You insensitive clod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12480076)

"brxref .k.p ,.by xprt. gbe.p.oycmaycbi yd. cby.nci.bj. ru yd. am.pcjab lgxlcj" don't you wish you knew Dvorak

Cu frg jab p.ae ydcow frg ap. a i..tv

Asterix@home (2, Funny)

Fyz (581804) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479243)

Join Asterix@home today, and use your idle computing power to help druidic scientists explore the possibility of creating super soldiers through chemical means!

And, coming soon, Obelix@home, which will attempt to genetically alter recipients to be permanently endowed with these abilities.

Warning, may cause lowered intelligence, anti-authoritarianism and increased risk of obesity.

Missing a crucial piece of hardware (4, Informative)

caryw (131578) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479245)

My company just went completely VoIP. We were originally entertaining the Asterisk PBX option but decided against it for the time being.
I can not seem to find a piece of hardware that will generate a dial tone on 16 or 24 different ports. I'm looking for one switch-type looking device, preferably rack mountable, that will take however many phones lines, and connect them via whatever to an Asterisk PBX.

As of right now we put a bunch of the Sipura SPA-1001M [geekgazette.com] in our back room plugged into our router and punched down to the 66 block going to all of the phone sockets in the offices.

Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks.
--
Fairfax Underground: Where Fairfax County, VA comes out to play [fairfaxunderground.com]

Re:Missing a crucial piece of hardware (2, Funny)

MoralHazard (447833) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479308)

I can not seem to find a piece of hardware that will generate a dial tone on 16 or 24 different ports.

How about a tape loop and an audio splitter?

Re:Missing a crucial piece of hardware (0, Offtopic)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479717)

no mod points .

You would have got +1 funny.

It's a sign of the times my friend.
Even mod points are becoming extinct.

Damn global warming

Re:Missing a crucial piece of hardware (5, Informative)

KodaK (5477) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479322)

If I understand what you've described then what you need is a channel bank and a t1 card for the asterisk box. The channel bank will provide dial tone for up to 24 lines, digitize the lines and pass them to asterix via t1, from there you can route them where you want.

Re: (Not) Missing a crucial piece of hardware (1)

wackysootroom (243310) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479388)

Get a channel bank (I reccomend the Adit 600) and a TE110P [digium.com] T1 card.

Connect the channel bank to the T1 card via a crossover cable and you have a 24 (or 23 ISDN) port FXS interface.

Re:Missing a crucial piece of hardware (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479613)

well that's partly the point of this Sipura device (or the Digium iaxpy) - the device you want is one of these .... and a common ethernet router ... otherwise part of the point of VOIP is lost .... now all I want is that $99 VOIP/WIFI phone for the house

Re:Missing a crucial piece of hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479789)

Why not just put VoIP phones out there @ $99 a pop? Get off that dead-end Analog/TDM junk, and good riddance, I says!

Re:Missing a crucial piece of hardware (1)

Tintivilus (88810) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479800)

Since you're using SPA-1001M's right now, I'm guessing you want FXS-to-IP, not channel banks as other repliers have suggested. I googled for "24-port FXS" and the third link was this [voipsupply.com] 24-port FXS-to-SIP adapter. VoipSupply even has a section header for "High Density Analog Adapters" [voipsupply.com]

or were you expecting something dirt-cheap?

Re:Missing a crucial piece of hardware (1)

shiftoner (158775) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479868)

Take a look at the entry level Inter-Tel systems. Rock solid reliability and hardware. Terrible adminsitration and support tools.

A SOHO solution? (2, Interesting)

el_womble (779715) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479274)

I hope this is pitched as a SOHO solution. I also hope it fails. Trying to bolt a phone menu system on to POTS is like trying to bolt a security system on to Windows. Sure you can do it, but you shouldn't - it just makes the user experience dismal and worries consumers. It's bad enough that they charge you to keep you on hold, never mind charge you to put you through to the right dept. Our tech team uses an Asterix system to put you through to the right dept. There are 4 of them in the there and they all answer the phone regardless of what button you press... WTF?

What's next? SOHO phone support outsourcing software? - Enter your script, provide a national rate number and some friendly will instantly start annoying your customers with broken english and massive phone lag too!

Re:A SOHO solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479393)

I used to work for a consulting company who specialized in PBX software that ran on windows boxes.......and ya know what? it worked GREAT. and the cost was good too. even to companys and hotels with over 200 exensions complex menu and ordering systems, etc. it worked out really well.

the software was either Altigen, or Televantage and most ran on dialogic boards.

Re:A SOHO solution? (4, Interesting)

kraiken (530674) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479559)

I'm kind of sorry that the above could be seen as flamebait. It does contain at least some points that are worth clarifying.

Asterisk is one of several different VoIP open-source / freeware software PBX solutions. One of the things you can do is program a phone menu system into it. It is I admit somewhat of a black art still to actually configure Asterisk but if you can get the hang of it, it is very powerful. If you don't like it, try one of the others. It runs on many platforms, some with hardware limitations and of course the underlying security as a whole. Once a call is in your PBX you can then of course program it to do anything that you can devise.

I personally think the hardware adaptors are expensive for any number/combination of ports (FXO - foreign exchange office and FXS - foreign exchange station - see http://www.voip-info.org/ [voip-info.org] for a wiki), especially here in the UK if you source locally. I do like the Sipura/Vegastream adaptors for their hardware simplicity though. It may be much better to consider IP phones such as GrandStream or SnomPhone if you are starting from scratch. A mixture of the two is of course what most people will do if they have relatively expensive analogue DTMF telephone handsets.

YMMV especially if you have to deal with a non-US type telephone system as you will need some kind of adaptor at least a one point in your network.

Obviously your IT guys just don't want to be bothered all the time. If you get past the menus then you must have a good (read important) reason to require their time. Time is money especially to four guys supporting many more poeple than perhaps they should. Not many have escaped IT cutbacks.

--
This is just being lazy

Re:A SOHO solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479586)

>broken english and massive phone lag

that amuses me

Re:A SOHO solution? (1)

slo_learner (729232) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479849)

It's a tool. It is only as annoying as the implementation. If you have features turned on that you don't need it's not Asterisk's fault.

Re:A SOHO solution? (1)

Marthisdil (606679) | more than 8 years ago | (#12480098)

Trying to bolt a phone menu system on to POTS is like trying to bolt a security system on to Windows

Also like trying to say that Linux and OS/X are secure....and Firefox is a better browser...But then again, I'm a realist - my computers (both linux and windows) are as secure as I can make them, and even with it's quirks, bugs, and security issues, I use IE and Firefox.

I guess you don't like going with the mantra of "to each their own"

But for my home PBX... the bandwidth? (1)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479287)

Here's what concerns me. I'm sure it is a newbie question. If I've got a VOIP provider, what happens when my computer starts cranking some serious bandwidth in or out of my cable modem connection? Do I need to invest in some different home cable router to prioritize the VOIP traffic?

I mean, I can't have someone on the phone making a call, all the sudden to go into low rez choppy digital speech because someone else decided to download the latest Linux distro.

Re:But for my home PBX... the bandwidth? (1)

suwain_2 (260792) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479315)

I don't have a VoIP line yet, but my understanding is that most VoIP providers give you their 'box' (called an ATA), that you plug your phone line and Ethernet into. Most, however, sit between your LAN and your cable modem, I guess, and prioritize your VoIP traffic. Or so I understand.

You are correct. (4, Informative)

Colol (35104) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479479)

What you'll get when you sign up with the likes of Vonage, Packet5, or the other services is an ATA to connect both your WAN connection and your phone to. With the bare-bones ATA, you plug it directly into your cable or DSL modem, and connect any other devices (routers, etc) downstream of the ATA. This lets the ATA (a) avoid problems with NAT by being outside NAT and (b) keep your call quality up there by enforcing QoS limits on all non-VoIP traffic. The ATAs are also generally smart enough to loosen up the restrictions when the phone's not actually in use.

Vonage (Packet5 may be now as well, I can't recall) also offers an all-in-one solution that's a router and an ATA in one box. You can also pick up the combos yourself (Linksys makes 'em), but they tend to be tied to one specific service -- so do your homework before you sink the cash on a combination ATA and router.

Re:But for my home PBX... the bandwidth? (1)

Grand Facade (35180) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479651)

A couple of years ago I worked with VOIP systems utilyzing Edgemark equipment that prioritized voice traffic. They must have gotten swallowed up as I can find no current info on them. Telverse was the vendor (now level 3)

Re:But for my home PBX... the bandwidth? (1)

halfelven (207781) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479912)

If you're doing audio-only, then the bandwidth requirements are so low, an old dialup line would probably be enough (bandwidth-wise, not latency-wise). So don't worry about that.

As for big downloads killing your VoIP channels - the size of the file you're downloading does not matter. What matters is how many simultaneous downloads are happening at the same time. I.e., loading a large web page with lots of graphics is a lot worse than a single multi-GB DVD ISO.
In any case, you can play a little bit with bandwidth control and prioritisation, either via the Linux firewall, or via whatever proxy you happen to use (Squid), etc.

Now, if you're doing audio/video - that's something to worry about, bandwidth-wise.

What needs to happen now. (5, Interesting)

Jakewk (66712) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479300)

As someone who started a small business and employed a PBX-in-a-box system can attest, this type of innovation is a godsend to small businesses and start-ups. The real key to this technology taking off however, will be service providers incorporating it into their offerings to small businesses. I think that there could be a very lucrative business model selling services to small-biz/start-ups that allow them to have big-biz type amenities (PBXs, etc...) at lower prices (enabled by OpenSource software). I *believe* that the guys who perform small-biz networking on the cheap could easily add this technology to their offerings and it would be rapidly adopted by their customers. "Hey Jim, I just got done installing the extra PC and the WiFi network for you. I was wondering if you've ever thought of installing a professional phone system. You know, there are these OpenSource technologies that will provide close to full PBX functionality with a third of the cost. Interested in hearing more about it?"
Very easy sale.

Cheaper/better FXO/FXS from Grandstream (2, Interesting)

kriston (7886) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479367)

There is a cheaper/better FXO/FXS from Grandstream, the Handytone 488. This is a new item and can be bought for under $90. It is extremely small (a little smaller than the SPA-3000) and handles all the popular codecs. Its configuration is a little easier to understand than the huge Sipura menus. It works right away without SIP registration (Sipura needs a setting in order to work without SIP registration) which allows you to test it by placing calls to IP numbers directly.

Sipura units seem to have much more provisioning support but Grandstream supports the same provisioning protocols. This can help with large deployments where you want to automatically assign extension numbers from a central server.

Again, this a new product that just went into production and might save you a few bucks over the Sipura in quantity. See http://voipsupply.com/ [voipsupply.com] and http://www.grandstream.com/ [grandstream.com] for some more detail.

Kris

Re:Cheaper/better FXO/FXS from Grandstream (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 8 years ago | (#12480115)

FWIW, grandstream phones are NOT well thought of in the * community. The 488 is a brand-new thing for grandstream whereas Sipura has been doing ATA's for a LONG time. I believe Sipura actually designed the original cisco ATA-186/8.

So they may be cheaper, but I kind of doubt that they are really "better" IMHO.

MORE SLASHVERTISEMENT! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479405)

Man, when will Slashdot stop posting these self serving "press releases"? The articles submitter, K Garrison, just happens to be the owner of the linked site, Geek Gazette. It just so happens that he has been the writer and submitter of the last few Asterisk articles. It is obvious that this guy, Garrison, is pushing up his Google ranking with the hopes of getting some consulting work but, does Slashdot really have to facilitate this?


Registrant:
Kerry Garrison
5142 Yearling Ave
Irvine, California 92604
United States

Registered through: GoDaddy.com
Domain Name: GEEKGAZETTE.COM
Created on: 07-Mar-05
Expires on: 07-Mar-07
Last Updated on: 07-Mar-05

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It will never stop. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479502)

The sad thing is that /. does not even make money off this.

They are just sucked into doing it because the editors don't bother to look at the stories they post.

It is sad really. It is a total abuse of the system. Like getting a retard to give you their lunch money for 10 magic beans. Do you really expect anything better from /. though.

The days of this site being good for anything more then a laugh have long been gone. If you want news that is more then a hidden advertisement or that isn't older then you grandmother I suggest elsewhere.

MOD ABUSE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479526)

How is pointing out that the submitter is also the writer offtopic. It is not like the submitter said "I wrote a review" or anything like that. In fact he makes it sound like he has no connection with the Geek Gazette at all.

Affordable PBX? Nortel...... (2, Informative)

killercoder (874746) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479514)

I've had a PBX at home for 2 years now.....look around any old office building thats getting renovated - you'll find at least two PBX's getting tossed out.

Nortel Cics or Mics are the most common, they work great, have zero noise/fans. Autoattendant (on most models - or with the Star Talk Flash), voice mail, Fax reroute etc. Great little systems, why go Asterisk?

I love all tech - just cause it's old/experienced don't abandon it.

Re:Affordable PBX? Nortel...... (1)

halfelven (207781) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479943)

Because it's a lot more powerful and flexible? ;-)
Seriously, how many PBXes you can find lying around that have VoIP capabilities?

I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one... (5, Informative)

lpangelrob2 (721920) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479548)

I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one that saw "PBX" and said, "WTF is a PBX?"

Short for private branch exchange, a private telephone network used within an enterprise. Users of the PBX share a certain number of outside lines for making telephone calls external to the PBX.

Most medium-sized and larger companies use a PBX because it's much less expensive than connecting an external telephone line to every telephone in the organization. In addition, it's easier to call someone within a PBX because the number you need to dial is typically just 3 or 4 digits.

A new variation on the PBX theme is the centrex, which is a PBX with all switching occurring at a local telephone office instead of at the company's premises.

From the Webopedia [webopedia.com].

Re:I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one... (1)

booyah (28487) | more than 8 years ago | (#12480092)

No sir, I am pretty sure you were the only one to ask what was a PBX

Thanks, leave your geek card on the receptionists desk on your way out.

Actual affordable PBX (1)

doombob (717921) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479550)

TalkSwitch Phone System [talkswitch.com]

Now all are VoIP upgradeable. Plus they can expand to suit your growing business' needs. /sales pitch

$$ Money $$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479718)

Your PBX is limited to 32 stations. Adding stations adds licensing cost. It's proprietary? It's VoIP upgradeable.

Asterisk is free of licensing cost. 1 station or 1000 stations does not incur additional licensing cost. It is open source. It is VoIP enabled from the start, no need to upgrade.

For all I know though, your PBX may well have Asterisk inside. Many do.

phone line as a trunk (1, Funny)

hey (83763) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479585)

What is this news for elephants?!
Jeeze.

Re:phone line as a trunk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479954)

Yeah, right, that's exactly what it is. Now go back to sleep.

someone humor a question from a noob... (1)

sbma44 (694130) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479694)

could I buy this product, configure Asterisk and have it forward calls received on my landline to a SIPphone?

"no, *you* couldn't configure Asterisk" is probably the right answer, but pretend for a second that I could. Is this possible?

Re:someone humor a question from a noob... (1)

BradySama (755082) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479770)

Yes, that is completely possible; and, it's one of the reasons some geeks (and non-geeks) would be interested in using such a device even when you only have one POTS (regular phone line) coming into your setup. You can also forward SIP calls to your POTS cordless phone, etc...

Re:someone humor a question from a noob... (1)

halfelven (207781) | more than 8 years ago | (#12479972)

Yes. That's precisely one of the reasons why many people play with Asterisk.
But it can do a lot more than just that.

Stop trying to see a *big picture* (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12479776)

Sometimes there is a lot more happing in a simple setup.

I have 1 POTS line, 3 IP phones, and a plain old cordless plugged into an FXS port on my asterisk server. Keep in mind this is a collection of parts that have grown from testing. All that would be needed for this is either 2 analog phones with FXS, or 1 analog and 1 IP phone etc etc you get the idea.

I get a regular phone call, my home phones all ring, there's no answer, it goes to voicemail, people can pick who they want to leave voicemail for. I get a copy of the .wav file emailed to me as well. Nothing mind boggling.

2 of the IP phones are at home, 1 is Overseas where I have family. My wife returns back for a visit every year. Most of the year it is the line she uses to keep in touch with family (once she plugs in the second box over there for me, she can use it to dial out to her friends over there as a local call as well)

While she is back visiting, she can try to call me via IP. Failing that, dial 9 and the number and dial out from our landline to my mobile phone, for example (which, coincidentally, is not always great when you're "killing time at the pub") . When she is away, she uses this to keep in touch with others here, and to continue and other local business calls she needs to make.

I can also dial home, hit a key to dial out before voicemail rolls in, and reach my overseas IP phone.

This isn't an overly complicated setup, cost little money to setup, and created an extremely useful way to keep in contact. Don't turn on all the bells and whistles and you don't scare callers (Do they *really* need dial by name?) The situation I use it in is nothing off the wall, and it's simple to use. This doesn't even *start* to cover the practical applications it has WITHOUT being an overbearing system.

For a small consulting business, or mobile worker, there's a huge benefit. Even for a family, there's a major convenience. And according to my call detail records, in under a year I've already paid off anything spent in savings from overseas calling (and more). The rest of the ongoing savings can go to my beer fund. You can call it pointless if you want. My pint glass and I would disagree with you though.

Book on Astrix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12480020)

There are no ignorant questions. Or maybe I just think that because I had the same question.

Signate [signate.com] has an excellent book on Astrix.

VoIP, QoS and OnDo SIP Server (4, Informative)

Da_Biz (267075) | more than 8 years ago | (#12480028)

I test VoIP products for my company, and have found that QoS needs to be managed at a basic level. If you're in a household that has slower DSL, or limited upstream bandwidth (for instance, Comcast Cable Modem in Portland), it would be wise to have your router process and remark (DSCP) all of the traffic between your IP phones and the router as EF.

Granted, your ISP probably doesn't care if your traffic is marked EF, but would prevent PCs on your local network from clobbering your bandwidth during a call.

Also, check out OnDo SIP Server from Brekeke. I play with it in my VoIP lab, and find that it's a find piece of software for quick n' dirty SIP setups. It's free for non-commercial users.

The slightly more adventurous can try Asterisk@Home which has a streamlined setup.

Yes - every few days... (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 8 years ago | (#12480078)

Seems every few days there is another news item about Asterisk PBX or Asterisk@Home...

... and on Slashdot, they're often the same ones!

this one time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12480137)

i had like 400 people staying at my house (really)
so i needed a pbx system (really)
so i bought this one(bullshit)
and it worked great(morebullshit)
and i was so glad that i finally had a great
pbx for house use since i have 400 phones.

every time it rings, it sounds like headache.

Another cheap pseudo-PBX (1)

Old Telco Guy (622498) | more than 8 years ago | (#12480221)

How about this series of devices: http://www.digitone.com/ [digitone.com]

I've been using one now for several years with great results! It lets me do the following:

  • Make long distance calls from work by bridging them through my PBX using my residential plan long distance and 3-way calling.
  • Have 4 extensions (mine, girlfriend's, business, general) with answering machines/phones for each.
  • Keep telemarketers from ever ringing a device in my house, ever.

And all for around 100 bucks!

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