chromebook with PBX

PBX on Chromebook

PBX on chromebook works great! Especiall for the chromebook with x86 CPU.  Most IP-PBX are developed on x86 PC first. Linux distro also developed on  instruction sets of x86 CPU. Therefore, you’d better to choose an x86 PC or chromebooks for your first PBX server.  

Google usually supports chromebooks about 5 years. Afterwards these chromebooks wouldn’t get the update on system, chrome browser and security.

Lots of old chromebooks were dumped into 2nd-hand market every year. You could spend less than 50 dollar to get an used or refurbished chromebook from ebay, Amazon or bestbuy. However it will bring security issue if these old chromebooks wouldn’t get securty update from Google.


Can we swipe off Chrome OS and install Linux, then modify it to a PBX server?

The answer  depends on what chromebook on your hand. 

In order to install linux on chromebook, you need to replace factory BIOS by customerized one.

  1. Go to Mr.Chromebox.tech to check if your chromebook is sopported
  2. Remove security limit (screw, switch or jump) if haivng one on supported chromebook. 
  3. Enter developer mode to flash BIOS by scripts from mrchromebox.tech.
  4. Download  CentOS ISO file  or other suitable Linux
  5. Write ISO file to USB drive by Rufus
  6. Boot from such USB drive, and follow instructions to install CentOS to internal disk or external USB drives.
  7. Then install PBX on Centos, Ubuntu or Debian by Free official tutorials

Install FreePBX 15 on CentOS 8

Install FreePBX 14 on Unbuntu 18.04

Install FreePBX 15 on Debian 9.6

Install FreePBX 15 on Arch Linux


Issues when Chromebook as PBX server:

Ethernet port

Many chromebooks don’t come with ethernet por.t. It’s better to get USB3.0 to Ethernet adapter for better connection.

Chromebook USB Network

Internal Disk and Memory

The internal disk and memory might be soldered on the motherboard. If so, it’s impossible to upgrade them in future.


Lenovo x131e chromebook as PBX server

Lenovo x131e chromebook with Celeron 1007u CPU could be an option. Both disk and memory are upgradable. In addition, it comes with Gigabit Ethernet port.

Install PBX ON X131E

lenovo x131e upgrade memory


Acer C720 chromebook as PBX server

Another good option is Acer C720 chromebook with Celeron 2955u and mSATA disk, mSATA is upgradable, but memory chip was soldered on board.

chrombook PBX

C720 has 2GB and 4GB models, but doesn’t have Ethernet port, so a USB3.0 to Ethernet adapter is recommended.

USB3.0 to Ethernet Adapter


Power outage

Unfortunately the BIOS from mrchromebox.tech doesn’t support power on automatically. However internal battery in chromebooks could act as UPS to keep powering chromebook some hours.


Turn off display and close the lip

You can turn off your monitor and close the lip when using your chromebook as a PBX server, but your chromebook will be suspended after closing the lip, so you will need to change something. Below commands for CentOS:

Edit this file: logind.conf

nano /etc/systemd/logind.conf  

Chinage this line:

#HandleLidSwitch ---- remove # and change to "HandleLidSwitch lock"

Then save and exit, then run

systemctl restart systemd-logind

Install PBX on Chromebox

Asus CN60 chromebox (used or refurbished) around 30-40 dollar on ebay. The install procedure almost same as chromebook, still need to replace factory BIOS.

While some chromeboxes were enrolled by enterprise and couldn’t enter developer mode, you have to buy a programmer to remove the limit. Consider this issue before buying it.

Chromebox PBX