I am thinking of setting up a PBX at home. I am reasonably tech savvy but have never set up a PBX before. There seems to be a lot of info out there but I was wondering if someone could:

  1. Sense check the idea
  2. Give me some milestones e.g. first try set this up (detailed instructions not necessary). This way I can test things step by step and not get too over whelmed
  3. Advise me on whether the hardware will work or what other things I might need
  4. Give some pointers or links which I could follow

Ultimate goal: Have a system such that I can call home from my mobile or Skype and then use the free international and unlimited local calling package I already have at home to make all my calls rather than calling from my mobile. Eventually I would also like to add a mobile gateway which I would use to forward incoming calls to different members of the family depending on what option the caller selects.

Hardware I currently have:

  • Raspberry Pi
  • Android phone
  • PSTN line coming into the house (TalkTalk UK)
  • ADSL router
  • Ethernet and telephone cabling
  • Cordless telephones which are currently connected to the PSTN

First I think I want to try and set up a basic VoIP or Skype and have a play with free PBX and my android phone. What do you recommend I do?

Hardware I am thinking of buying:

  • Cisco Linksys SPA3102

What steps/milestones do you recommend I achieve as I am presently not too sure. I am also happy to try random things which might not help directly but will aide me to understand the system and set it up better.

  • Hi - Weclome to the Q&A - Please rememebr this is NOT a forum. You should only ask specific, short questions that can be answered by various people with different opinions in a short answer format. Discussions, advice, recommendations, tutorials can be linked in answers. But we do not provide step-by-step solutions. Please read the FAQ – Piotr Kula Jan 31 '13 at 11:43
  • Skype used to to do Skype trunks before it was bought by Microsoft. Now you have to have a Microsoft API and use Lynk Servers API - Interface. Maybe not that easy from Linus? – Piotr Kula Jan 31 '13 at 11:44
  • Great article, it contains really interesting points which helpful for those who believe and want to try technologies every day. – user11206 Dec 12 '13 at 5:19

Click image to find out more about uElastix.

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It is a Linux distro that has Asterisk 1.8, FreePBX and Asterbilling all set up and ready to be configured. You burn it the same way as any other Pi image. After you have set it up the way you love you can consider one of these amazing devices from linksys/cisco and others. (That wont cost you hundreds and hundreds!)

Linksys PAP2

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A really really cheap solution to enable your existing home phones to use VoiP instead- If you want to recieve phone calls on your existing number, you can buy a cheap DID for voip and then redirect all incoming land line calls to your VoIP DID. Sorted

  • Cost about £25 from eBay

Linksys SPA2102

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This is a step higher and can act as a repalcement router but does not have to. It jsut has the facility. This model allows you to use 2 VoiP lines/channels and connect 2 phones or 1 phone and 1 fax or 2FAX's. What ever you fancy. Again you can redirect your land line to your Voip DID

  • About £40-£60 (these are not made by Cisco/Linksys anymore - So check eBay)

Linksys SPA3102 Recommended by me as I used this and it works great!

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I currently use this one at home because it allows me to connect my existing land line and set up dial routes inside the SPA3102 to select if it should use landline, like toll free numbers(because allot of VoIP and mobile providers charge a small amount) or VoIP

  • About £60-£80 (these are not made by Cisco/Linksys anymore - so check eBay)


Quad Band GSM Gateway that can be integrates as a trunk in Asterisk.

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You can find them on eBay from about £80


  • Be aware that if you are going to use and Cisco products in the UK- Buy a BT to RJ11, and a RJ11 to BT converters(even with the -UK version!). Otherwise you will scratch your head as to why there is no dial tone! Arrrrrr.
  • I manage a production UK server that runs Asterisk with dedicated SDSL 3mb/3mb. Most landlines calls in EU are charged 1pence, Usa 2pence and billed per second(UK GEO per second = 0.0016pence)! Mobile costs are also very reasonable 6-12pence per minute! I use this with my SPA3102 on GSM CODEC and it works like a bombshell. If you interested we can set-up a top up account for you instead of weekly fixed fees. If you get you parents or nan setup you can call her for free without using credits.

I also played some time ago with Asterisk, but not installed on the RPi. The RPi was/is configured as phone to use the Asterisk server (installed on a intel Fedora PC). And I must say that works perfect! But installing Asterisk and FreePBX might be the first step in your process. Cause it will already overwhelm you with options to set and things to configure.

As described here, you just need to use these commands to get the two packages installed:

apt-get update
apt-get install asterisk11 freepbx

Because I was also new to PBX I did not install the FreePBX because I wanted to get the feeling for the settings manually.

Once you installed Asterisk (or both) I suggest you read the various how-to documents on the asterisk site to get the basics to work, like actually calling, voice mail boxes etc and connect a couple of software-phones. When all that works I think you're ready to add an outside line so you can call in from an external network. There is many info to be found online about the great amount of options that Asterisk has to offer, so I think you'll be happy hacking for some time is you want to make it really neat!


Try this:


Ive ordered my RPi to test this

  • 2
    Could you please provide some information in your answer about what this is and what is does? – ikku Dec 29 '12 at 1:12

I have used the instructions on Nerd Vittles and it is working well for me.

Make sure you use IE with the Chrome plug-in or Chrome itself or else the web administration is really slow.


First of all, I'd list the things you need to control via this connection as setting up PBX would be neat, but might be overkill. I also want Pi to 'control stuff in the house', but I chose SMS, as it's (b) proven technology (b) easier to understand and set up. There was an article in Elektor a while back that I applied to Pi. The result is here. It's not a straight answer to your question, but I do hope it's inspiring ;-) .


I have had this running on my pi since version 1.02 and now updated to 3.3, and eventually I'll reload to the newest as it now has a way to auto update.

do this and donate to Ward: http://nerdvittles.com/?p=3026


Along with Asterisk, FreePbx is a nice package allowing you to have a fully functional PBX in a Raspberry Pi. Technically, can even run on a Pi Zero!!

There is a nice article (by Cisco) that details step by step the building your own PBX: Build your Raspberry PBX

A while ago, FreePBX dropped the 'SIP' stack replacing by a modern 'PJSIP' stack, concepts are the same but the configuration is slightly different.

To use the PSTN, you will need a box (like SPA3102), connected on the RJ45 side, between your cordless phone and the PSTN jack, and, on the Ethernet side, between your router and your Raspberry: can be configured as a bridge or DHCP server.

Your SPA3102 (I recommend) will be configured as a 'trunk' when dealing with the incoming and outgoing PSTN phone calls, and as a SIP extension with dealing with your cordless phone. To have your first two extensions, your smart phone can run any SIP phone app (Linphone works nicely).

Also, at least in USA, there are multiple very cheap SIP trunk providers, offering you public phone numbers (Callcentric) . SKYPE also provide (paid) SIP trunks: the service is not the same than the add-on for your smartphone.

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