[VoiceOps] 8 Port ATA

Nathan Anderson nathana at fsr.com
Fri Nov 16 19:32:12 EST 2012

This exact question came up a couple months back on another list I'm subscribed to, and this is what I wrote then; I'm still curious to hear about people's experiences with this box...

One cool product I ran into recently is the Atcom IP08, which is based off of the work done by David Rowe and Co. and his Open Telephony Hardware initiative (http://www.rowetel.com/blog/?page_id=440).  It's an embedded system that can take analog port modules for up to 8 ports of either FXS or FXO (or a mix) and runs Asterisk.  I haven't ever used one and I've been eager to hear of other people's experiences with it.

The only U.S. distributor for it that I've been able to find is http://www.staronetel.com/reseller/store.html -- and with the box itself priced at $320 and each 2-port FXS card going for $50, you're looking at paying roughly twice for this what you would for an SPA8000.  The advantage, of course, is the flexibility (completely open design, can mix-and-match FXS and FXO ports, runs Linux, runs Asterisk, etc.), but depending on your needs that may not be worth it to you.

The other question you have to ask yourself is if you even need to break out the voice lines to analog FXS.  You've probably already asked yourself this and have a good reason for doing so -- maybe the customer has an old PBX or key system that can only take analog trunks, or maybe it's a multitenant building and you want to break out a single telephone port per dwelling unit.  But I've run into other providers who seemingly do it for every multi-line installation they do (it's just their modus operandi), and I have to ask: why?  I've seen set-ups where the voice traffic is delivered via IP to a box like the SPA8000, broken out into multiple FXS, and then those are all taken into a Cisco ISR with a multi-FXO line card in it and the calls are eventually delivered to IP handsets.  This just seems like insanity to me.  Going from digital to analog only to go back to digital again is pointless.  Just keep it IP end-to-end and be done with it.

Nathan Anderson
First Step Internet, LLC
nathana at fsr.com 

-----Original Message-----
From: voiceops-bounces at voiceops.org [mailto:voiceops-bounces at voiceops.org] On Behalf Of Nick Olsen
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2012 12:42 PM
To: voiceops at voiceops.org
Subject: [VoiceOps] 8 Port ATA

We've used the Cisco/Linksys SPA-8000's And haven't liked them to much.

Anyone have any recommendations on an 8 port FXS ATA?

Nick Olsen
Network Operations 
(855) FLSPEED  x106


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