50 Seat Call Center Deployment - level of effort estimate

Hi everyone,

I could use some experience here. My ultimate goal is to set up an Asterisk based 50 seat call center which would be fielding maybe 20 concurrent calls at a time. Each seat would come with a hard phone compatible with Asterisk. I would also like the option of recording some of the calls as well as providing a public IVR menu.

My question is, can anyone provide an expectation as to how long it might take to get to that point assuming we have all the appropriate hardware, the network infrastructure and two very technically competent people though with no real telephony experience. I’m specifically trying to see how much time I can expect to dedicate dealing with common pitfalls, system quirks and general Asterisk learning curves.

I am new to Asterisk as well and may not have provided enough info for the question. Please let me know if more is needed though I was trying to be vague.


Two weeks ideally…

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With no bells and whistles, and someone who knows how to program Asterisk, most of that could be done in a day. If there’s no experience with Asterisk programming, two weeks seems plausible. I’m currently building a large scale implementation using Asterisk which will consist of up to 30 servers and supply at least 5000 phones. It will include auto-attendants, call queues, paging, ring groups, BLF, parking, conference bridges, custom apps, and several other features. The dialplan took about 2 months for me to write, and I’ve been working on the web admin apps for the last 3 months.

If you’re looking for a quick turn around for inexperienced programmers for a small scale implementation, you may want to consider FreePBX or a hardware PBX. I’ve not used one, but I know many who have. They have limited experience with programming.

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A week or two with FreePBX for a new person I would say - that involves getting to grips with the quirks of your particular handsets and their configuration, and other quirks / requirements. It took me 6 flat-out hours with no distractions at night to figure out why I couldn’t get directed-pickup to work from Cisco SPA phones the other week. It also took me a very long time to try to troubleshoot why some dual-extension phones were becoming uncontactable after a while (https://issues.asterisk.org/jira/browse/ASTERISK-25476 ), and I had to give up on that and configure differently. It was only upon returning to the problem months later that I saw a bug had been discovered.

So, you should allow time to troubleshoot is all I’d say. A week or two ideally and that’s with FreePBX doing all the Asterisk stuff for you! People just expect phones to work so it really matters to make it work first time for the end user.