Simple telephone auto answer to extension

Posted on 2010-01-03
Last Modified: 2013-12-21
In my head it's so simple.  I'm looking for a box with 2 analog telephone line inputs RJ11 from my telephone provider embarq.  On the top of the box is a voice recorder with the record button I press then say out loud "Thanks for calling XXXX, press 1 for sales, press 2 for service."
Two lines out analog to two phones that the box picked which line based on what the caller pressed.

Been trying to wrap my head around PBX and it's made worse by overcomplicated setups I dont need like VOIP, outbound receptionist and terms I dont understand like SIP and FXO.

I dont mind if the box switches the analog to network IP except the fact I have to buy new phones.  

Can anyone recommend an Easy setup.  It does not have to be free but it must be easy.  I've been looking into Trixbox but it aint easy I can tell already.
I have a bunch of used Nortel M7310 but again if I can make them work with a trixbox all documentation i've read makes them way too complicated.  Almost machine code programming level.

Please go gentle on the telephony acronyms, I only know network and PC lingo.
I just have 2 analog lines, I just need my callers to choose which person they talk to using a welcome message and touchtone prompt, and do not want to spend days learning telephony and pbx.
Question by:Sunwolf25
    LVL 32

    Accepted Solution

    PBX, Asterisk, and the like are not developed to the point of making them Microwave popcorn simple. THey require setup, and to get them to work with analog phones requires some learning before you can do it.

    The "easiest" asterisk setups I know are: > Download Asterisk now
    SwitchVox (Pay solution that comes with email support).

    To get those old Nortel phones to work may require an act of congress unless they response to regular POTS (analog) signalling. If, however, they are keyed to only work with Nortel phones, you may be out of luck, and have to buy new phones to get this to work.

    Regardless, if you don't have VoiP, you'll need to buy a telephony card called a TDM card, which will connect your phones to the computer, and the computer to the telephone company.

    If you're familiar with Linux, I wrote a brain-dead easy copy / paste setup for Asterisk here:

    However, this is for regular Asterisk. No GUI, which means you have to type in your dialplan, which you could probably ask in this zone (as a separate question) and people would pretty much write it for you since all you want is the recording.

    Getting the Nortel phones to work with your new PBX is probably more trouble that if you were to buy new sip phones. I would recommend buying some cheap Polycom phones from eBay, and then using the free service from to set them up. Then all you have to do is configure your sip.conf file, which again, someone in here would do for you if you asked it as a question.

    The biggest problem you will have is getting your computer card for the analog lines you have, but again, ask the questions here in EE, and we'll all help you with it.

    The reason I keep breaking these down into different questions is: 1) they are different sub topics of the Asterisk zone, and 2) you'll get answers and more attention that way.

    Hope this helps. Looking forward to your response.

    Author Comment

    I signed up to vonage today but am realizing with some research the guy I was talking to at vonage was saying what he thought I needed to hear to sign up which makes me kinda disgruntled.  He said the feature that would do what I was looking for was Call Hunt but reading up on it on vonage support says it's basically a call forwarding procedure, if I'm busy or plan to be out of the office I set up other numbers for vonage to reach me or someone else at.  Not what I need, not at all :/
    I also thought vonage would help since it is already IP based telephone possibly eliminating a step someplace but also not holding true.
    Not so free but a quick (easy to understand) fix appears to be a Datalabsusa 4 Line 16 Ext Pbx / Pabx Auto Attendant around $350.  Even being jerked around by vonage saving $50 a month compared to Embarq I'll have the cost justified within the first year.
    Also looking at RCA 25425RE1 as an option if I can find more info it looks like it may do what I need which is auto answer and present a message to which phone the call is passed to.
    I'd love to learn a new linux pbx system someday perhaps but I have a business to run and am at crunch time with year end stuff and cant afford time to read manuals and learn at the moment.
    LVL 32

    Expert Comment

    Probably the best thing to do would be to hire someone or buy that equipment you wanted.

    Assuming that you are providing all the equipment, a Good Asterisk consultant will be about $150 / hour, and that project seems like it should only take about two hours to do from scratch. You may want to pursue that end if your $350 solution doesn't work out.

    If this closes out the question, please accept your solution as the answer.

    Author Comment

    The 25425RE1 wont work.  Has everything but reading the full manual on it the shortest delay for the auto attendant function is 6 seconds... the phone will ring one or both of the phones for 6 seconds before the auto attendant picks up and asked which phone the caller would like to be directed to.. what is the point since one of the two will have already picked up.  Great phone, bad programming / engineering  or planning.

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