Best way to get started with VOIP?

A client I wiork for has an existing digital PBX that is about 10 years old. I don’t know much about it other than it is from Avaya AFAIK.

Client wishes to start using VOIP and I looked at Skype which led me to Asterisk (the integration module for Asterisk) and then I thought whether I could configure Asterisk as a VOIP gateway for Skype and connect it to the existing PBX?

So, what’s the best way forward - I don’t want to commit to a large expenditure, this is POC at the moment. I need to do as much as I can spending as little as possible. I have a spare server that should be ok for Asterisk.

Should I go down the route of Asterisk as a VOIP gateway with a single port E1 interface card and the Skype module? Could I use Asterisk on its own with the Skype module or is that unnecessary? Could I have Asterisk with a couple of handsets purely for Internet calls set up in meeting rooms?

The end-game should be that people can either pick up an existing digital phone and call out via the Internet or use Skype on their desktop/laptop and call via the Internet. I don’t need all of that now - the ability to make Skype calls will suffice.

Sorry if this sounds a bit all over the place - I’ve only just picked this up in the last few days.


Thanks :smiley:

Since you have not received any responses, permit me to make a couple of suggestions.

I would start by reading the book “Asterisk: The Future of Telephony” It’s somewhat outdated now, in particular all references to zaptel should be replaced by dahdi, and the versions mentioned are quite old, but reading it will be an excellent and essential preparation for an Asterisk project.

Secondly, introducing Skype into the mix will complicate the project, and unless you have any particular reason to use Skype, such as existing accounts, I would go with a SIP provider. Personally, I am happiest with Viatalk, but there are many recommendations on this forum.



Thank you for your reply.

I’ve taken a look at the book but as you say it is a bit outdated so I’ll try some others.

The reason for Skype is that it allows people to make Skype to Skype calls for free as some of my clients business partners use it. It also provides internal messaging and can be used when out and about with a laptop.

I figured therefore that all (!) I need do is setup an Asterisk box with a single port E1 digital interface card conntected to the digital PBX. Then, as you suggest, connect to a SIP provider for traditional VOIP calls and finally install the skype components on the Asterisk box.



It is not sufficiently outdated to cause any real problems for someone starting to learn, and Asterisk 1.4 is still the best supported version (it has long term support, whereas 1.6 only has short term support).

The dahdi change was largely due to trademark issues, rather than technical ones, although they may have taken advantage of it to make technical changes.