Noobie Question

Hey guys,

Other than using a cellphone, I am a complete newbie to telephony related technology, so please forgive my ignorance or noob questions.

I will really appreciate any help or advise you can offer on this front!

I am interested in creating an IVR solution. To give you an overview of the setup intended:

  1. We have a normal landline

  2. We would like to connect this landline to a PC or laptop via RJ11 cable to voice modem to pc.

  3. We need to then setup an IVR option, so when calls come via landline, the caller hears options to select 1 for sales, 2 for support, 3 for accounts, etc.

  4. The call then gets placed on hold by the IVR (music to play during hold) and then rings on a remote extension (Mobile/Cell number). Even though I have 2 or 3 options to select in the IVR, they will all go to same one number.

  5. If call doesn’t get answered in 10minutes, then it diverts to a VOICEMAIL option within the system, mp3 recording of the VM greeting message can be created by us.

  6. The callers voice message is recorded by the system in .WAV or .MP3 format and emailed by the system to an email id of our choice.

What would I need to make this happen? I am thinking of downloading the FreePbx Distro and using an old laptop or pc to run it. However, I am unsure of how to set it all up :frowning:

I believe I need:

  1. FreePbx Distro

  2. Landline + PC/Laptop

  3. Voice Modem (thinking of this one: Multi-Tech Systems MT5656ZDX-V 56Kbps External Modem)

  4. RJ 11 cable surely.

  5. Recorded greetings for IVR

Am I on the right track with it all? Does FreePBX software manage all the IVR bits too too or would I need additional software/hardware to make it happen?

Thanks guys, looking forward to all your suggestions!

We can work with this

You will want to use an ATA of a line interface card. An ATA is going to be cheaper and will work with both mentioned platforms.

IVR is a core functionality

You can set up a queue for this, or several queues.

This would be the queue failover destination

You can setup vm to email

FreePBX Distro would be a good choice all the above requirements are built in.


Yes on the pc/laptop, there are options for the land line. I assume you already have this though

This is not a good idea. I would use an ATA (google voip ATA) or line card (google Digium fxo card)



All of the mentioned functionality built in.

You’re welcome

You will need a second line (landline, VoIP service or GSM gateway) to place the outbound call to your mobile.

Though it makes it easy to get started, an old PC may not be a good choice for a production system. Electrical consumption is high, typically $7 to $10 monthly. The aging fans and hard drives are prone to failure. If the system hangs or becomes otherwise inaccessible, you can’t reboot it remotely. Fixing certain types of errors requires connecting a keyboard and monitor.

One alternative is running FreePBX in the cloud; low-end VPS accounts cost less than powering a PC. Of course, a cloud system couldn’t connect directly to your landline; you would need to forward it or port it to a VoIP provider.

Another option is to run FreePBX on a small computer that has no moving parts and draws only about 5 watts. Some of these platforms cost less than $50 new and have ready-to-run FreePBX images. See and .

Thanks jfinstrom, you are a genius and have been super helpful!! :slight_smile:

Just couple of questions, if you are able to clarify please. You mentioned:

“You will want to use an ATA of a line interface card. An ATA is going to be cheaper and will work with both mentioned platforms.”

I assume by this you mean an Analog Telephone Adapter, which I connect to our landline and then this device connects to PC/Laptop. I have searched online for a few “Analog Telephone Adapters” on google plus ebay, amazon, etc and most of them seem to just have an RJ11 port and a LAN port?

I am a bit confused about how I would connect ATA to PC/laptop. I’m thinking connect ATA to PC via ethernet cable? So which means the PC would need at least two LAN ports? One port to connect to ATA and other for the regular internet connectivity, unless I am using wifi then won’t need the 2nd port?

I was wondering if I could use an ATA which can connect to PC via USB. So when I search for ATA with USB, I am coming across FXS to USB Adapters, which I am unsure are the same thing or would work for this purpose. I figured FXS could be the wall jack point, so directly connect device to the wall port and then to pc?

Also, can this whole setup work if the ISP’s are blocking the VOIP ports? We are based in Dubai, UAE and the ISP’s here have restrictions against voip calls.

If I could get it setup to the point of receiving calls, linked to IVR and then directed to voicemail, that would be plenty sufficient for starters. For outgoing calls I could consider using the local dial plans. So I am assuming the VOIP restrictions won’t come in play if no calls are being connected to landline or mobile.

Again, thanks so much for familiarising me with the terminologies, like queue failover destination, etc atleast now I’ll know what to look for when configuring the FreePBX system.

To connect to a landline (rather than a phone), the ATA needs to have what is known as an FXO port. Devices with this capability include Obihai OBi110, Cisco/Linksys SPA3102, and Grandstream HT503. These devices all require an Ethernet connection. Normally, you would connect your PC to one port on your switch or router, and connect the ATA to another port. Although communication between FreePBX and the ATA is indeed VoIP, this traffic is entirely on your LAN and would not be “seen” by your ISP. The system will still work, even if your Internet connection is down.

If you want the ability for a caller to reach a live person, you could have FreePBX ring a phone attached to the FXS port of the ATA (using a separate RJ11 cord). However, if you want to call a mobile, you would need a second line. FreePBX can connect to a cell phone by Bluetooth and place the call through that phone. Or, you can get a “mobile Internet” dongle for the PC or laptop and install a SIM card in it. If VoIP is not illegal, but merely blocked by the ISPs for anticompetitive reasons, you can get VoIP service via a VPN connection.

Thank you for all your advise Stewart1! That clarifies a whole lot of questions i’ve had. I guess my next step is planning a step-by-step implementation process…

I’ll check up on the devices you’ve mentioned, I’m assuming there would be some level of configuration or setup required to get the HT503 connected, other than plug 'n play onto wifi router?

"If you want the ability for a caller to reach a live person, you could have FreePBX ring a phone attached to the FXS port of the ATA (using a separate RJ11 cord)"
This is perfect! Thanks so much for this piece of information because I was at the verge of abandoning the idea of getting the call connected live/instantly as it seemed like I was complicating things by expecting that feature. The option you suggested works great for my intended setup.

You are right, VOIP is blocked for anticompetitive reasons, but it’s not an issue if I can get things going with the above setup.

Really appreciate the time you’ve taken to answer my queries…