For some time now I’ve had a Cisco 2621XM router kicking around in a cupboard. The great thing about these devices is that they’re capable of running Cisco Communications Manager Express. Cisco CME is great functionality to be embedded into these kinds of devices, it makes a great choice for a branch-office VoIP PBX where only a handful of extensions are required. If you’re just using IP telephony, you just need a basic voice device – no FXO or FXS modules.
What equipment do I need?
A budget lab would work well with either a 1760 or a 2621XM, both of which sell for about £20 on eBay UK. If you’re keen to connect the device up to an analogue system, either using a normal telephone line or some analogue phones you already have you’ll need either FXO or FXS cards.
FXO stands for Foreign Exchange Office, this is the line coming into your property from a telephone provider (BT etc).
FXS stands for Foreign Exchange Station, this is a line you’d connect up to your existing analogue handsets.
These cards, known a VIC’s, can be quite pricey and on the 2621XM will require an intermediate card (NM-2V). If you’re looking at using analogue services it’s probably best to opt with the 1760 to avoid needing this. A 2 port FXO/FXS card sells for around £50.
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