After long hours and several days of diving layers deep through links from google searches, I've decided I just don't understand a lot of what is said about a lot of these "solutions". I don't know what to download, all I know is my goal: plugging a handset into an RJ11 jack in the back of my linux box such that others can call my home with a ten digit (US) number. (E.g. calling 314-159-2653 would cause this handset to ring)(Yes, that's pi, with a St Louis area code, but I'm sure that service providers avoid assigning that number)

I have a google voice account and number. I don't want to forward that to my cell.

My toddler loves interrupting my research for this, and I'm just frustrated to tears. Please, all I want is a solution to forward a call (Google voice or not) to the PCIe card with the RJ11 connector.

closed as off-topic by n8te, Ramhound, Twisty Impersonator, Toto, bertieb Oct 29 '18 at 14:02

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There are a few simple things to understand to solve your problem. I'm going to simplify a bit and ignore corner cases to aid you solving the problem and understanding

There are 2 types of analog connections - both with RJ11 connectors - FXO and FXS.

  • FXO devices you connect into your telephone jack and allow you to route calls from the Internet and/or VOIP handset through a regular phoneline. These are comparatively common.

  • FXS devices allow you to plug in a regular handset and use it as a VOIP phone, but still require some computer software to interface with it. These are not very common, but This is what you appear to be claiming to be looking for as per your description.

In addition there is a third option, which matches other parts of your description - a "phone type" device which is really just a microphone and speaker in a phone format, which can be used with VOIP software on your computer. I don't use Google products if I can help it, but I expect that this is what you are looking for with Google voice. They don't allow you to plug in a regular phone however [ as they do not have the correct voltages or signalling or interfaces ]

You talked about forwarding briefly - it could possibly be a solution to get a VOIP account with a VOIP provider, then forward your Google phone number to that number to have it ring. You probably want something that uses SIP.

As far as finding FXS devices - I wonder if you do actually want one which is a PCIe card - they no doubt exist - Digicom made one (and a lot of clones and alternatives exist) which worked with Asterisk based PABX's - problem is you really need an asterisk PABX to get it to work - which means running Linux and a whole lot of other problems.

A better solution might be to find an "ATA". These are relatively simple devices you plug into your network/router and a regular phone. You then use a web interface to program this to connect with your ISP. These devices are a lot easier and will probably do what you want - without your computer being on all the time (and typically contain 1 or 2 FXS ports). Note that a lot of them are consumer grade equipment and fail after a few years. Google "ATA phone" for more information/buying guides.


The RJ11 jack in the back of your PC - if it really is RJ11 and not the typical RJ45 used for Ethernet (LAN) - is part of an old analogue modem. It isn't for connecting a telephone handset, it is in a way a telephone itself. It is to be connected to a landline just like a landline phone, it is NOT to be used with a telephone connected to it.

The purpose of the old analogue modems was to use use dial-up internet services and some also had fax capabilities. Some models also had a second RJ11 connector for a telephone passtrough the same way many fax machines allow the same functionality. But it's fundamental to understand is all this devices work connected to a landline in your house/office.

Hard to believe there are still computers with such devices in 2018 but perhaps in some rural areas in the USA there might be people still using them with a legacy dial-up service. Other than that they're pretty much useless and even with said dial-up service the best you can do nowadays is to download/send small text only emails with an email client software. Just opening the GMail webpage, for example, can take more than 10 minutes (just a guess, it may be even worse).

Having a phone number via internet is quite common and can be provided by Google Voice, Skype or hundreds of other providers worldwide. The requirements are just a device (PC, tablet, etc.) capable of running the software and a broadband internet service. It has nothing to do with handsets connected to the PC though. Most people use the same audio devices the PC already has, typically with headphones/headsets. Again, the RJ11 connector can't be used with this kind of services. The device where the RJ11 connector is attached to is and has been obsolete for the most part of the last 20 years.

  • 1
    PS - Although you don't have to pay for many VoIP services (Google, Sklype, etc.) and the outgoing calls are free within the network or very cheap for landline/mobile numbers, an ingoing phone number is never free. – GabrielaGarcia Oct 27 '18 at 5:03
  • your comment is incorrect - free incoming phone numbers are not uncommon (in fact at one time, many moons ago, I was PAID by the telco to receive phone calls - this still happens to some extent today - especially on cellular networks ). Your post is only partially incorrect. (I hope my soon-to-be-made post clears this up) – davidgo Oct 27 '18 at 7:34
  • A very quick google revealed myvoipprovider.com/en/blog/60_free_voip_services - See Section 3 "Free DID (Incoming numbers from around the world) – davidgo Oct 27 '18 at 7:36
  • also your assertion that devices with RJ11 connectors have been obsolete for the most part of the last 20 is incorrect - as they are used as FXO devices, they were commonly used as recently as 3-5 years ago and are still sold new by reputable vendors - as evidence I offer up sourceforge.net/projects/btcalleridx100p which was last patched in 2014. – davidgo Oct 27 '18 at 8:02

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