Hacking A Pogoplug Into A $20 PBX

The Pogoplug Series 4 is a little network attached device that makes your external drives accessible remotely. Under the hood of this device is an ARM processor running at 800 MHz, which is supported by the Linux kernel. If you’re looking to build your own PBX on the cheap, [Ward] runs us through the process. Since the Pogoplug 4 is currently available for about $20, it’s a cheap way to play with telephony.

Step one is to convert the Pogoplug to Debian, which mostly requires following instructions carefully. After the Pogoplug is booting Debian, the Incredible PBX bundle can be installed. We’ve seen this bundle running on a Raspberry Pi in the past. Incredible PBX’s preconfigured setup based on Asterisk and FreePBX gives a ton of functionality out of the box.

With your $20 PBX running, there’s a lot that can be done. Google’s Voice service allows unlimited free calling to the USA and Canada. With Internet connectivity, you get email notifications for voicemails, and can query WolframAlpha by voice.

25 thoughts on “Hacking A Pogoplug Into A $20 PBX

    1. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeBay ;)

      There’s two showing for $10.95 w/ free shipping right now. #3 on the list is $15 sharp with free shipping. (I’m East Coast USA, so YMMV.)

      So HaD was a little high, actually.

    2. Click on Buy Now, they will send you to Amazon where it’s currently $18.99 and Free shipping with order of 35$ or more (why not take 2?). Sadly I’m from Canada and it won’t ship here.

  1. connecting it to google’s voice service, you do know they are discontinuing jabber. They announced that a long time ago and I have yet to see a sip connection for connecting an asterisk to one of these.

    however I personally use about 10 of these at friends places as a squid proxy server. they are nice little units and stable to. the only downside I have found is they can be picky with the memory installed that holds the OS.

    personally i found found that the POGO-V4-A1-01 for me has been the most stable

    1. Google “says” they are dropping jabber service.. BUT Obi, who makes a jabber based voip box for google voice, just recently came out (after the annoucement that google was dropping jabber) that they were NOW officially licensed for google voice.. (They have been providing gv service for years) So evidently GV is keeping it active for 3rd party developers.

    1. uhm no, old news. third partys like obihai/obitalk have announced fully support GV integration since that cutoff date (that never happened). they were supposed to be killing off XMPP, but they never actually did. and now they have a way for third parties like obihai to integrate.

      1. Google voice did cut off XMPP for Google Voice, albeit several months after the final date they had stated. They have since started integrating Hangouts into Voice, and created an API for Hangouts that Obihai now supports.

      2. ObHaii does NOT have a 3rd way to speak to Google Voice or any secret API to access Hangouts, they are still coasting on XMPP which is a dead-man-walking. The only thing ObiHai changed was that they are using OAuth to authenticate their boxes to GV instead of saving and forwarding your username & password directly.

        I have rooted a few Pogos to Debian and reflashed their uboots (kind of a pain). They’re a great NAS for the money and super small. however telephony and media transcoding is not their strong suit. And forget trying to use chan_mobile with that bluetooth phone of yours. What they are good for is being a low-power ARM with PCIe so they can access USB3/SATA drives and forward them over Gigabit *fairly* quick (~30MB/sec). use a raspberry for PBXing.

    1. the most direct method is to use SIP phones. Attaching an analog phone would require additional hardware to generate the necessary voltages/pulses and do the audio impedance & level conversions.

  2. I love me some PogoPlugs. I wonder how they make any money since various versions of their hardware is always being marked down so cheaply like this. They’re fantastic for countless projects. You can even turn them into a cheap security system that sends you text messages with a USB camera detects motion. I’m surprised more uses aren’t shown when clicking the pogoplug tag on Hackaday.

  3. I’ve used Asterisk running on a Asus RT-N16 with TomatoUSB firmware and Optware for over a year. I run a SIP trunk to an OBI202 to terminate Google Voice calls and I use a SIP trunk to a Linksys SPA3102 to tie into my POTS line. I direct 911 calls to the POTS line on the Asterisk PBX. This solution works great. I also use Cisco 7940 phones with SIP images on them. Traditional SIP phones would be easier to use, but I like the CIsco quality of the 7940s. I also setup PIAF on a Raspberry PI and it worked well, but why use another box when you most likely already have a router and/or wifi AP running?

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