[quote=“mattster2002”]Sure, I’m from Melbourne Australia.
We also receive internet through pacific internet, and was wondering if it was best to use their VoIP service ( pacific.net.au/voice/vocal/ )[/quote]
Generally it is a good Idea to stick with the company who provides you the Internet, that way they QoS their network to make sure VoIP packets get higher preference then data, whilst Pacific is not the cheapest company in the Australian Market, they are however better equipped for Business services over the majority of the other No Thrills VoIP companies out there.
And Yes to using Asterisk to talk to their end, this way you have a complete Turn key Solution, you can have your Voice mail on the one box your after hours answering service, your Call Forwarding, Call-Back service and a whole host of other features.
As for using VoIP pones, well yeah i think it is safe to say that yes that is the better way to go, the new VoIP phones are quite advanced over old PBX or key type system, the only thing though is that speaker phone in a greater Majority of VoIP phones Blow, 8 times out of ten they provide crap audio quality and too much return voice I.E hearing yourself speak, however the well priced ones (I.E Expensive ones) have good Speaker Phone systems and don’t suffer this problem, or not so bad as the cheaper ones.
Internet Bandwidth: Well Pacific should be able to offer the 8Mbit ADSL-1 by now, or not sure yet if they are offering ADSL-2/2+ yet, but if they are then upgrade your place to this. VoIP requires really good Upload speeds, the better it is the more reliable it is, and the more calls you can have concurrently happening on it. However though in saying that, you will also need a Really Good Router so that way you can QoS your local Lan traffic to give the VoIP traffic Preference over the Data Traffic, in an office this is fine so long as your not letting loose on running Torrents, if you are then forget about VoIP for the business
Now, what ever you do, promise that if your Boss goes down the Skype road to hit him over the head with a Shovel, make sure he is knocked out clean, and then put a pen in his hand and have him sign an agreement with a different company, then when he wakes up just tell him a FUD story. Using Skype would be the biggest mistake ever for a business, don’t do it.
Asterisk: Well you have two Flavors, one is TrixBox which is generally used by many people and is quite stable to use, it is also easy to manage as it is done VIA a web interface, TrixBox has recently been taken over by Fonality which is an Australian Company, they are pumping money into TrixBox to get it developed much better, good on them i say.
The other is the most recent Asterisk’s own GUI driven version, however i have heard it is not stable, not flexible and still has many bugs. Granted it runs on Version 1.4 (Latest release of Asterisk), it still does have problems and i wouldn’t recommend it for production, unless your a fluent I.T person and can program in Pearl/PHP or Ruby, at least that way you can work around the problem when they do surface up.
My Preference, go with TrixBox, much easier for a newbie to use.
The System: The system that will house your Asterisk Install, should be a modern. stable and reliable one, yes Asterisk can most likely run on an old Pentium 3, but honestly you don’t want to be that skimpy, get something decent, make sure it has a Powerful CPU if you can get a Core Duo one they are not that expensive these days, plenty of ram (I recommend 2GB of memory and Ram is cheap now), and a good quality SATA Raptor Drive, and if you can one of those small very small square shaped towers that look like a postal box, they rox for running Asterisk on, they are small and out of the way then, this should cost you no ore then $1500AUD if you shop around to the right places, however not sure what that is in Melbourne though.
When you eventually go to two offices, you can have both Asterisk Boxes talking to each other via the IAX protocol and you will probably find this to be a far better solution for you.
Also if possible, try to use the G.711uLAW CoDec with Pacific, this is a high bandwidth CoDec, but the quality at times can either be equal too or better then PSTN quality, that is though Dependant on the quality of your Broadband in the office.
Also You may want to have an Analog phone in the event your Broadband goes down, you can ring Pacific up and have them divert all calls to the standalone PSTN line in the office, Emergency backups such as this should be a must, also a UPS is a must as well which will set you back about $200 for a cheap but reasonable one.
Make sure as well, that Pacific give you an SLA on your Broadband service, try and nail them down for SLA on Packets an Latency as this will be best suited to run VoIP on.
I hope this has helped you and not confused you