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Who is also running an Asterisk phone server as a hobby or is planning to do so?

Started by Volker, November 04, 2022, 05:09:11 PM

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Hi, I am new here. My name is Volker and I live in Sweden. There I run a small Asterisk phone server on a Raspberry Pi with about 20 subscribers. Most of the subscribers are spread over Europe and like old telephone technology. My server is also permanently connected to C*NET and some other servers via IAX2. It would be nice if there would be more of such small phone servers, which maybe also interconnect to a small network. That's why I did all the programming, installation and configuration on

documented. Originally the articles are written in German. But with the Google translation you should be able to understand it.

Honestly, it seems to me that in Europe the interest in old telephone technology in connection with Asterisk servers and their programming is very low. The hobby is very exotic. Maybe there are more interested people in the English speaking countries.

If you want, you can get a SIP account with a phone number from me, which you can enter as a participant in your ATA. Very handy are the numerous test numbers for checking the voice and connection quality of the phones. I do all this only as a hobby. It is just fun.

Best regards from Sweden


Addendum: My Asterisk server runs on an old Raspberry 3 B+ with a 16 GB Micro SD card and consumes about 4 to 5 watts. For stability, it is connected to the router with a network cable. WLAN is not stable enough for phone connections.

Most of them do not have a static public IP. Therefore, you have to enter a free DynDNS into the router. For the SIP and IAX2 protocols there are a few ports to forward in the router. I have already provided the configuration of Asterisk. More is not needed.

Then comes the exciting moment. When the first phone connection between a softphone on your smartphone and a landline phone on an ATA works, you have overcome the biggest hurdle and the sense of achievement is just great. And if you then use old dial telephones, it's even more fun.

My question. Is there interest in a very simple minimalistic Asterisk configuration for two phones, with which one can start quasi immediately?



I tried that, but got lots of error messages. Still working, but it seems to be problems with some update things. Changed to 3CX on the raspberry, and that has been working for 3 years now. :)


At the beginning I found Asterisk very confusing and it took me a long time to gather all the important information. Therefore I have now written a very simple Asterisk configuration for two phones to be able to call with them over the Internet. Important is the port forwarding in the router. I have described all this and more, what you have to know. Good luck and please report me if it worked. I am grateful for any feedback.


I too am running Asterisk (Vanilla no GUI) on a Raspberry Pi 3B+ but am very comfortable with it as I have spent many years working with Asterisk and VoIP, in fact before most people knew what VoIP was.

I have started using mostly now the Grandstream HT802 ATAs not only for their pulse dialing but also for their Pulse to tone overdialing (dial a digit on a voice menu)

I am going back to putting my asterisk on a VPS server though and that may completely negate the need for me to run asterisk on my Pi . That is how I used to run my phones . Now though I can get a VPS for $2 per month and that seems too cheap to pass up, considering I can do other things with it too.   

Just FYI I have

3 Google Voice Lines (numbers)  by way of an Obi202 :
1 fax (Direct from ATA to Fax)
1 General Use including modern VoIP lines
1 Antique Phones
Of course I would not need the Obi if I did this

I have various VoIP services and numbers from. other VoIp providers I use to route may Mexico calls, and will probably again activate a cheap $2 per month DID/DDI from Mexico

Phat Phantom's phreaking phone phettish



    I am just getting started trying to figure out how to build my phone system.  I think that a Raspberry Pi and PBX software might be a good solution but am unsure of the initial system hardware/architecture.

    I have two rotary phones that are in good working condition.  In the past I have connected these (one at a time) to a OBIHAI OBi200.  I had a GrandCentral (later Google Voice) number that I screened to only allow a handful of numbers to ring in and did not allow any outgoing calls.  This was used as a 'Grandparent' phone that allowed a limited set of people to call and talk to my children.  (No telemarketers and no strangers.)

    I now have need to design a new system.  The children would like to be able to call each other on the phones as an intercom system.  I would also like the phones to be able to call a limited list of outgoing numbers.  I would also love it if they didn't have to dial long numbers as some of them can be quite young (3-4 year olds).

    Basic features would include:

    * Call other rotary phones in the house.
    * A simple dial calls an outside phone number.
    * Screen all incoming and outgoing calls (whitelist only)

    Additional features may include:

    * The ability to set calling hours (no calling at night).
    * Use a passcode to dial additional outside numbers.
    * An internal number for listening to music, a joke of the day or a weather report.
    * Easy access to a call log with numbers and times.
    * Fun way to interact with the environment (i.e. home automation, fun interactive menus, trigger outgoing SMS texts, etc...)

    Something tells me that once I can connect phones to a server and treat the incoming and outgoing voice and pulse dialing as application input and output streams then the sky's the limit.



Hi John,

all this can be done with Asterisk on a Raspberry and most of it I had already implemented.

Asterisk Phone Server on a Raspberry Pi - Installation and Configuration

For your dial phones, most ATAs from Grandstream are suitable (or old FritzBoxes in Europe). On the smartphones, I use SessionTalk and Linphone as softphones.

Apart from the fun of it, I make calls from home and when I'm not at home, mostly for free or close to free. Using secret area codes, I can make or receive calls to PSTN networks. My family, relatives and friends are all subscribers to my own telephone network. No matter where you are in the world, there are usually no telephone charges.



For anyone doing this on a Raspberry Pi just FYI what makes this even More attractive is the ability to put Google Voice accounts easily on the Pi. For those of you in Europe this may be less interesting however in North America it is wonderful.

See the link here

this also means you can use multiple accounts on the same asterisk install on a Pi.

Personally I have three accounts configured on an Obi202 that connects to my asterisk as well. This gives me a dedicated phone number, a dedicated fax number and a dedicated Antique phone line number. all from a single Obi202 and asterisk. I would not bother with an obi if I had to do it all now though.
Phat Phantom's phreaking phone phettish


Welcome to the forum Volker, I have been meaning to play around with Asterisk for years but have not gotten around to it.
Wat I probably will do first is dust off the NEC B64‑U20 I salvaged from a office building:
As I think it supports SIP and can be programed to connect to C*NET

Welcome John (ChildrensPlayTechnologist) I run modified and custom key 1A2/interphone system around my house to power up old phones and to have a basic house intercom for kids to play with. I have some old posts on it around here.

I put together a 24Volt DC power supply and a 100 ohm 1 watt resistor to power up some old phones in my friends house so their kids could play around, you can't dial extensions or make them ring but its hours of fun for the kids.

I'll look forward to seeing posts and updates from you all as one of my favorite things about collecting old phones is powering them up!



Let me clarify a couple of things in this thread that are often times questions that noobs to asterisk and antique phones have

Rotary Dial support is generally best supported at the level of the ATA (analog telephone adapter). Of currently available products thee Grandstream Handytone 80X (HT802 or HT801) are my first choice as they not only allow dialing from rotary phones via VoIP but the support tone over-dialing (like dial 3 on a menu)

Although the Raspberry pi often "sounds" like the cheapest way, it is NOT. The chromebox with is probably a lower cost more complete solution 9but much harder to get Google Voice running on) . Google voice CAN be supported on most any install of FreePBX but many of the details are shrouded in secrecy and if you find yourself missing a single detail it shoots down the entire install. So make the decision of you need google voice or not then continue below...

If you have no need for google voice or do not mind paying a penny a minute per call there are other was to go.   

If Google Voice is NOT important to you, and you do not mind interfacing to a commercial VoIP provider as needed, then consider using a used chromebox and the firmware at . Just make sure you get compatible chromebox as listed on the MrChromebox site. ( I recently identified and reported a bug on that affects Kodi running on the Asus CN60 Chromebox. I do not know if that same bug affects other distros of liniux but at this point I would recommend NOT using the Asus ChromeBox CN 60. The ChromeBox CN 62 is a different model and has more RAM anyway. With a chromebox and MrChromebox then just install the FreePBX ISO

Of course if you think you need Google Voice then definitely go the Raspberry Pi method mentioned earlier.

On a further note, unless you are a slow dialer I would not recommend a pulse to tone converter.
Phat Phantom's phreaking phone phettish


Quote from: dsk on November 05, 2022, 05:36:15 AMI tried that, but got lots of error messages. Still working, but it seems to be problems with some update things. Changed to 3CX on the raspberry, and that has been working for 3 years now. :)

I am opposed to 3cx because they single handedly "bought up" open source projects only to shut them down and take their code offline. Effectively trying to eliminate the open source competition.

Fortunately a couple of developers of those projects  had archive of some of those projects and moved forward with new open source projects based on the old open source code.

3CX is pathetic
Phat Phantom's phreaking phone phettish


For experimentation I have additionally installed an Asterisk server on an old notebook built in 1999 with Lubuntu as operating system. The notebook has no network connector. The solution was an adapter from USB to Ethernet. Normally the notebook should be scrapped, because there are hardly any useful applications for it. The notebook is not a suitable solution for continuous use because of the high power consumption. However, the beginner has a compact and inexpensive solution to familiarize himself with Asterisk. Later, everything can be transferred to the Raspberry without any problems.

By the way, I connected this second Asterisk server with IAX2 to my "real" Asterisk server on the Raspberry Pi to test IAX2 connections. I configure Asterisk via SFTP and SSH from my Windows machine. This remote control saves space on my desk.

I use the pure Asterisk on the command line level without any graphical user interfaces. You then have the maximum freedom and also understand what you are doing. If you then later deal with AGI, i.e. the integration of other programming languages such as Python, Perl or PHP, almost all imaginable possibilities are open to you.

You can invest a few hours in Asterisk to connect two or three phones together, or Asterisk evolves into a life's work. You will never get bored in your life. By the way, with the help of my own Asterisk server I have also made many new friends or refreshed old ones, which is also very pleasant.

There would still be the possibility to test Asterisk with AsteriskWin32 on a Windows computer. But this is not recommended. 1. it doesn't run on Windows 10 anymore and 2. there are problems with the Windows Firewall, which is very frustrating. Better is Linux as operating system. For Asterisk Linux is the only correct choice.


The following link provides a very simple tutorial for a home phone system using Asterisk on an ancient Linux machine, so that total beginners can easily get started with Asterisk.

A very simple Asterisk configuration as an in-house telephone system for the very first steps with Asterisk

I tested it myself today. It works fine and is also ideal for children who want to play with telephones.


Yes and even the original Raspberry Pi (1) will work.

Some people also feel the need to have a GUI like FreePBX which requires a few more resources but can still be happy on an older system. I think current FreePBX x86 ISOs require 64 Bit hardware (x86-64)

Of course the limitation you run in to is a bottleneck with max number of simultaneous calls.

The USB to Ethernet on a 1999 Laptop is probably running at USB 1.x speed 1.5 megabits per second.
Phat Phantom's phreaking phone phettish


I tried Asterisk for Raspberry Pi with FreePBX ( ). I thought it would be the most convenient way. However, nothing worked in my attempts. With the naked Asterisk it worked then without problems.  Besides, my Raspberry can do other tasks at the same time, for example as a printer server.

Most of the time Asterisk has nothing to do and loads the CPU with less than 1%. 40 or 50 phone calls at the same time could be handled by the CPU of the Raspberry Pi 3B+. For that you would have to have hundreds of subscribers registered. With the old electromechanical switching technology, you would have needed a whole room full of equipment cabinets for this, which require a lot of electricity and trained maintenance personnel. The Raspberry consumes a few watts and almost fits in a pack of cigarettes. Times are changing.