Currently I am working on a project setting up an HP Server to be our PBX using FreePBX, the FreePBX is installed and for testing purposes I am using a softphone installed on my laptop which registers ok and shows connected to FreePBX, my next step would be to enable this PBX to call outside I am considering using BRI for this but it seems like I need either an external gateway or a specific PCI BRI card. Any toughs on this please? Would my PBX on VMware work with an external PCI card for connecting the PSTN line? What would be a fair external gateway for that purpose.
When my customers ask about this, I usually do a cost comparison to show them that setting the PBX up with a SIP line is far cheaper than any combination of PRI/BRI/T1/ISDN. Cost for a PRI in my local area is about $350 a month, and we can’t get BRI anymore. With the average SIP bill being less than $30 a month, the math usually convinces them pretty quickly.
If you are determined to do BRI, Sangoma and Digium do sell perfectly acceptable BRI cards, as do several other players (including my favorite, Synway). These cards all use DAHDI for the channel driver and (once you get it working) they work just fine.
If you are connecting to PSTN (which is NOT BRI), there are FXS/FXO cards that can be used in this application that work fine as well. Set up is similar and uses DAHDI as well.
(Note: like Asterisk, DAHDI is a separate software system from FreePBX, so you may be setting up cards by hand and using them as an Asterisk add-on, which works just fine as well).