Tag Archives: VoIP

Inexpensive Asterisk FXO/FXS cards

AEX410Just a quick update to inform folks who could be looking for Asterisk compatible FXO/FXS cards that on eBay. ChinaRoby has them on for the very low price of approximately $130 US for PCI-E versions with free shipping.  The price is less than 50$ for PCI versions of the same.  Apparently there have been many others who have been getting in on this deal.  To put this into comparison, for the same card in Canada is almost $500.  So, there is a tonne of savings here.

I have two Voice gateways that are getting a little long in the tooth.  I decided it was time to spend a little to upgrade to better, hardware-based FXO/FXS solutions.  The devices I have work ok, but a lot of echo at times, even with hours and days of tuning. One device gives flawless voice but Caller-ID does not work.  The other, great Caller-ID but, tin-sounding voice quality.

I am planning to run this in a vSphere 5.5 set up with vt-d passthrough.  Here’s hoping the new card eliminates that, and two ugly power warts from my wall.  I will post an update once I get the cards and I can comment on there performance.

VoIP Galore!

After years of careful planning, it is finally done.  I managed to finally go all digital voice here at home.  Freeing myself from the “traditional” telephone providers, aka Bell, proved to be a most interesting and fun challenge.

The set up did not come super easy.  It required a lot of work and fiddling around with archance software.

First up, is the IP-PBX.  I went with Asterisk, as it is the best well known package to use.  Specifically, I went with Trixbox, since it comes as a distribution as is easy to install.  Within about 20 minutes the phone system itself is working. Next, I wanted to integrate true “unified communications”, so I set up Office Communications Server 2007 R2.  I can now make calls from the OCS client, and take them too, score!

For the phones in the house I went with the Cisco SPA3102.  It is finicky, and MANY people who claim to have set them up properly in Asterisk, have not.  Unless all 4 LED lights are on, it’s not set up.  After a couple days of playing, finally, all 4 lights work, and it is a proper extension in the house.  The SPA3102 features 911 and power-off pass-through, so, in emergencies, it will still work with Ma Bell.

Finally, I decided to use FlowRoute for my IP-Voice traffic.  There rates are cheap, and with the SPA3102 I can still keep my Bell line, but route local calls locally, and long distance out to FlowRoute.  All of my calls are digital, as even to go to local Bell calls, Asterisk digitizes them.

I’m quite pleased with the performance.  Even in a VM Asterisk runs ok.  In my next major hardware swap (later this year), I’ll move Asterisk to physical hardware to improve voicemail recording, but right now, it is not a issue.  Saving 50$ a month is quite impressive.  I may even offer the service to family and friends, who knows.

All I can say is once you go digital,  you never want to go back!