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I have a land line connection. I would like to receive and make calls using my computer. It is a basic land line connection which also provides broadband internet. I am not asking about VoIP.

  • I would like to know whether this is possible to make land line calls using my computer hardware.
  • If possible, how to do that with some software or some commands?
  • This answer mentions a use of Asterix. Can we use it here?
  • Hi Indrajith, welcome to Super User! I'd like to recommend editing your question to remove the last bullet point, as that goes on the side of asking for product/hardware or learning recommendations, and could be flagged as Off Topic. If you have any questions, feel free to drop by Meta Super User or Super User Chat. Thanks! – Canadian Luke May 19 '15 at 15:52
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What you need is an FXO card for your PC. This is a PCI card with a phone socket in it, and it effectively works as a PSTN (public switched telephone network) phone on a card. You plug this into your wall socket just as you would a telephone.

Then you use PBX software (such as Asterisk) to mediate the calls. You would need a way to interact with the PBX, and this is usually done with VoIP, even if the FXO card and the headset are attached to the same machine. You would use a softphone that connects to the PBX over VoIP and then the PBX would make the ongoing call over PSTN.

You will still need a splitter. The broadband connection needs to connect to your ADSL line directly and to the FXO card via a filtered splitter.

The advantage of this, over just plugging a hardware phone into the broadband line with a splitter, is that you get to take advantage of the features of a PBX like voicemail, voicemail to email, fax to emails. The advantages increase when used in conjuntion with an outgoing VoIP service.

  • FXO card is something that connects the land phone with the line? This is what my network provider gave me. We can connect phone to this and make calls. Can I connect this directly to LAN port in my computer and use Asterix ? Image link: i.imgur.com/PE3idvx.jpg – Indra May 18 '15 at 15:42
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    @IndrajithIndraprastham: An FXO card is something that plugs into an expansion slot (e.g. PCIe) inside your computer. You can't connect your analogue phone socket on your wall to an Ethernet port on your computer. – RedGrittyBrick May 18 '15 at 19:03
  • @IndrajithIndraprastham I see below you have a notebook, so search for a USB FXO card rather than a PCI one. There are other options than Asterisk too, so some research is warranted to find something that suits your needs. – Paul May 18 '15 at 21:54
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    @IndrajithIndraprastham More to the point, you should not connect the analogue phone socket to the Ethernet port by any means. Even if you cobble together a RJ11-to-RJ45 adapter it won't do what you want (because as pointed out, the necessary circuitry is different), and the moment the phone rings, you will at the very least burn out the Ethernet port because of the high-voltage surge. (The specific voltage might be different where you are located, but I think 70VAC is common for the ringer. That's way more than Ethernet is designed to use, which is +/- 2.5V.) Just don't do it. – a CVn May 19 '15 at 9:23
  • @MichaelKjörling Thanks for the tip. Trying that is stupid. :) – Indra May 19 '15 at 10:04
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The simple answer is no, you cannot make a typical computer into a PSTN-connected PBX without a new piece of hardware: an "FXO card". An analog modem cannot perform as a voice-service FXO as they are designed only to process data bits asynchronously (i.e., V.92 protocol) – that's why modems are much cheaper and more common than FXO cards. A LAN card's port doesn't accept analog signaling at all and cannot handle your telecom's line voltage either, so don't plug a phone line into it!

In my opinion, if you are dealing with fewer than four telephone lines coming into your premises, I would not build a PC-based PBX but rather buy a smaller embedded device to interface with it.

The Linksys SP3102, for example, will handle one phone line, and allow you to make or receive calls with it via a desktop SIP app. Bought second-hand, it is cheaper than many quality FXO cards, which you would need to build an Asterisk or FreeSWITCH PBX yourself. I have never used a USB-FXO, but I doubt call quality or latency will compare favorably to a dedicated PCI card (remember those things?).

Also, the time to set up and debug Asterisk/FreeSWITCH to work reliably with any FXO card is substantial, whereas the Linksys box can do basic call processing by itself after configuring it via a web page. Later on, you can integrate it with a separate Asterisk server if you want more configurability or voicemail storage, etc.

  • Thank you for participating on Superuser. Your answer seems thorough, however, I removed the TLDR; phrase from your answer. It is not necessary when answering a question to include acronyms and/or colloquialisms that may not be understood by readers if they do not add value to the answer. – Trav May 23 '15 at 20:25
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No additional hardware is no problem if your computer (modern notebook?) has a microphone and speaker. However, to reduce or avoid crosstalk, an earphone plugged into the audio out connector would help.

There is plenty of software that can connect your microphone and speaker to asterisk, e.g.: Ekiga, Linphone.

You don't like VoIP, but you call over voip without noticing. Remember, internet started with a digital modem over phone lines, but nowadays analog phone calls are routed over the internet. Asterisk is your friend here.

  • Its a modern notebook. I dont think its possible to connect landline directly to my computer. But I have an option to connect LAN cable though, which is slightly bigger in size. – Indra May 18 '15 at 14:56
  • @IndrajithIndraprastham That won't work; the signalling circuitry in an Ethernet port is not able to modulate/demodulate voice signals (in most cases). – ζ-- May 18 '15 at 21:34
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Landline and internet. Do you mean ADSL over a pair of copper wire with also POTS telephone service? With a splitter to connect a regular telephone set and also the ADSL modem/router?

Most older notebooks had a RJ11 phone connector for the build in dial in modem, but most recent notebooks lack these. But even with this connector, you cannot use the notebook as a POTS telephone set.

Why not use a regular telephone and plug it in the splitter? Why insist on using a computer instead?

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    If i want use a regular telephone with a splitter i wouldn't have asked this question. – Indra May 19 '15 at 9:10

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