[PLUG] Trouble building Linux answering machine...

Terry Griffin griffint at pobox.com
Sun Sep 12 20:28:02 PDT 2004


On Sunday 12 September 2004 1:01 pm, Darkhorse wrote:
> This method of telephony requires the caller to have different
> equipment.  It's not an answering technology.  Lots of places
> googling around are recommending to consumers that they attempt
> VoIP by setting up two 56k modems.  One for you and the other
> for the party you are calling.  I don't see how 56k is fast
> enough for VoIP.  I tried googling on vgetty modem, I didn't
> get very far.
>
> I want a vgetty compatible modem.  These are amazingly hard to
> find.  On Ebay, there are few externals modems left where they
> are getting very pricey.  My dream is to build a Linux server
> with answer capability that also has a wireless network on it
> so that you check messages anywhere in your house assuming you
> have a laptop with wireless capability.
>
> It seems if you really want a Linux compatible voice modem that
> you just have to design and build it yourself.  I'm appaled at
> the lack of Linux compatible USB voice modems searching on
> http://linux-usb.org.  I think I saw a total of one, a US Robotics
> model.  A person left a comment that it likes to stop working
> randomly.  Googled into a guy who says he has done BBS'es that
> doesn't like US Robotics modems.  He claims the cases they are
> in neither stack nor cool well.  I see no reason why a clever
> person couldn't take one out of it's plastic case to use it.
> His comment about them only being designed for two hours of
> use at a time though, that's a more intractable problem.
>
> Anyone know where a list of voice capable winmodems that work
> under Linux is?  Of all the winmodems, many HCF ones with voice
> capabilities are supported by Linuxant drivers.  Externals on
> E-Bay are hovering around $50+.
>
> I would like to see full featured V.92 modems with data/fax/voice
> capability that work with Linux fully in both pci and USB form
> factors.  There just isn't a product out there right now that
> really works well.  This is too bad.  Many people have a single
> phone line and a buddy.  A cable Internet service outage might
> make being able to place a data call to a buddy handy.  In the
> interest of buying the fewest possible modems, fully featured
> modems make the most sense.  Why buy one modem for voice and
> another one for data if you only have one phone line?
>
> My Intel536ep voice features work under Windows, but I intended
> a combination answering machine with wireless distribution of
> the messages on a Linux box.  Short of figuring out how to write
> message distribution software for Windows that works with the
> Windows voice package, I'm toast.  Nobody wants to go in the
> room where I have the machine set up to check for messages.  I'm
> getting a lot of complaints from people about not knowing there
> are messages for them.  I'm also getting complaints about not
> having the message checking feature available at the most
> popular phone in the house.  Since I can't build a Linux
> answering machine instead of a Windows one, these issues
> are awfully hard to address.
>
>
Modems with voice capability were *very* common for a few years,
but I guess the market for them just didn't hold up.

I have an old Zoom 56K Dualmode external which I've been using for
several years with vgetty. I has the Rockwell chipset, very common
in voice-capable modems.

Since they were so common for a while I would suggest looking anywhere
that has used computer equipment. You don't need a very high bitrate
for just an answering machine, so even an old 14K modem with voice
capability would work fine. It might cost you all of $3 assuming you
can find it. Even if the first one you find doesn't work you can make
a lot of mistakes at $3 a pop.

Terry





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