So now, what?

It’s been some time that I did not post anything. I have not made any substantial progress with the board or the driver, so I do not have anything new to report. On the other hand, I have spent a considerable amount of time preparing a small stock of working prototypes. Whether you are considering ordering a board or not, a visit to the ordering  information page would be worth the trouble.

Monitoring the blog’s web traffic and statistics shows a steady flow of referral hits from a small number of sites linking here, plus a growing number of search hits. Search strings reveal that a non-negligible number of people are looking around for things like how to program the Si3210 or what an FXS design schematic looks like. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but searches like these seem to be answered very well by the contents of this blog. Good, if this is your case, why not provide some feedback by leaving a comment? Did you find what you were looking for? Are there other sites/wikis/blogs that contain similar information, so that it would be worth linking to them from this blog? And so on.

To come to the title of this post: so now what? Am I going to progress any further with this Open USB FXS thing? The answer is, I don’t really know. As much as I dislike obituaries, except for a few optimizations (mainly in the Linux driver), there is little that I could do to improve on this very design. It might be worth though doing other things, like for example writing a Windows/Skype driver for Open USB FXS, or working on another, improved design. Besides that, there are things that I ought to do, like e.g. contact Digium and attempt to have them include my “oufxs” driver code to their dahdi distribution. This and others are things that I ought to do, but right now I am either too lazy or too busy to start with. So, do you have an idea/proposal/ suggestion? Do you wish to participate and help? Yes? Good, then why not step in and leave a comment?

That’s all for now. So now, what? You, the readers, know the answer to this question better than I do.


2 Responses to “So now, what?”

  1. Chris Says:

    I’m looking for a cheap USB FXS to plug in to an operational asterisk system. I can’t seem to find anything out there, except a xorcom 8 port unit which is way more than I need. I understand your units are prototypes, but are they stable and fully functional? If I put my home phone on there (not emergency services, don’t worry!) will it pass the “wife test” i.e work every single time she picks up the phone? 🙂 What sort of power does it pull from the USB port? I would want to connect this to a USB port on a seagate dockstar running linux:

    root@debian:/usr/bin# uname -a
    Linux debian 2.6.32-5-kirkwood #1 Fri Oct 15 13:52:51 UTC 2010 armv5tel GNU/Linux

    Any info appreciated.

  2. Angelos Varvitsiotis Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your comment. Before replying, please let me divert to a funny story about wifes: once upon a time, I had to deal with a malfunctioning VoIP system (no, nothing to do with Open USB FXS), which on occasion caused what is known in the VoIP world as one-way audio. Because the error was related to the connection of the system to the ISDN, it affected most often a specific user, whose wife called often from home at the office, and due to the problem he could hear what she was saying, but she could not hear him back. When this user described the issue to me, he asked “can you fix it? can you make it so that she hears what I am saying to her and I do not hear what she says to me?” :-).

    Done with jokes now, here are the serious answers. As much as I would like to sell prototypes, I cannot guarantee that a prototype will work for any given user, not to mention “production” conditions (wife test, etc.). First thing to remember is that the prototypes do not have a case (they come as bare PCB with components on); this is not ideal for everyday operation, where liquids like coffee could be spilled on the board. The circuit requires a good 2.5W from the USB port (500mA @ 5V DC), and I have seen problems even with a PC whose power supply was not providing enough power. In such a case, the audio experience might be really bad, since the board will produce frequent clicks or noise; it might even not even work at all. See for more information. Finally, one thing that worries me a bit is your box’s architecture (ARMv5?). I don’t know if a stock Linux running on ARM will have enough processing power to run Asterisk and dahdi using Open USB FXS, and I do not have access to such a system to run the test myself. So you should test it and see if it works for you.

    All these mean that the board might work under your conditions, but it might as well not. If it does work, I think it will do so reliably, in that it will work every time. But this is to be proved. As I am stressing in my page, Open USB FXS is still a more-or-less collective experiment rather than a ready-to-sell product. If you agree to this view, you could order a prototype and see if it works in your environment and satisfies your needs.



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