Ideas for integrating a SIP account, N900, Magic Jack, Linux, etc...

Rick Stevens ricks at
Wed Jun 23 17:29:00 UTC 2010

On 06/23/2010 09:37 AM, Linuxguy123 wrote:
> I'm looking for some ideas on overhauling/revamping our telephone
> system.
> We are two busy working professionals.  We spend half our weekends away
> from home.   My wife still has an iPhone.  I'm getting an N900.   We
> have a landline with (terrible) voice mail service.
> I want to tie it all together, somehow.
> I'd like to get a VOIP account somewhere and connect to it with a SIP
> server of some sort so that I can do things with that connection.
> I'd like all our voicemails to be stored on that SIP server, so we don't
> have to erase them, etc.  Actually, I'd like to get them as emails that
> we can listen to and organize.
> I'd like to be able to call into my SIP server with the N900 and maybe
> the iPhone and then make (cheap) calls anywhere.
> Can one share a Magic Jack connection as a SIP service ?
> How can I use Linux to do some of this stuff without resort to a full
> blown asterisk installation ?

I don't have much experience with "consumer-aimed" VOIP systems, but 
here's my two cents worth:

First, Asterisk isn't that hard to set up.  The GUI tools are pretty
easy to use.  We use Asterisk here (well, Trixbox, but it's the same
thing).  Our system uses a Digium card to tie us into the PSTN via POTS
lines--we don't use a T1 or other network connection for regular calls,
although we do tie into the VOIP system at our east coast division via
VOIP over a VPN.

Should you use Asterisk and you don't wish to use your home POTS lines,
there are a number of PSTN gateways that are pretty cheap you can use
such as IPComms (  A google search for "PSTN
gateways" will reveal more.

AFAICT, The Magic Jack widget plugs into a USB port and supports a
single phone (has a single FXS jack to plug your phone into), but the
operational software isn't available on Linux.  I suspect it's
proprietary (a'la Skype), so I don't think that's a feasible option.

The Vonage system may be better.  The box is essentially a four-port 
wireless router/switch (including two FXS phone ports along with the
four 100Base-T net ports) and the Vonage software built-in.  It's 
managed via a web browser so it looks like it's pretty OS agnostic.

Then again, there is a project on OpenWRT where you install Asterisk
on a Linksys WRT54GL wireless router/switch (gee, sounds like Vonage,
doesn't it?).  The downside is that there are no FXS ports to plug an
analog phone into with this solution.
- Rick Stevens, Systems Engineer, C2 Hosting          ricks at -
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