Hardware required

I am a network administrator for a resort. we have 400 guest line and 75 admin lines. i have been thrown into working with phone systems(NEC NEAX 2400). i have been able to fix a lot of my problems by “GOOGLEING” but we are now in need of looking at a new PBX. this program looks exactly like what we need. what i need to find out is what hardware (other then the server)i need. we have 1 t1 line plus 4 analog line coming in to the resort. i would like to put the admin line on Ethernet IP phones. i need to know how i can hook up the the 400 guest lines (standard Analog phones) to the PBX server.

Any help would be appreciated

given the density of current channel banks, you’d probably be best off looking at a handset gateway like the Citel Handset Gateway (citel.com/Products/Handset_Gateway.asp). that way, you’re not trying to stuff 18 T1 spans into a single box, instead it’s just SIP and a single T1 for your incoming lines.

will cost a pretty penny though. a cheaper per-port implementation would be to deploy lots of ATA’s … but the setup time would be a lot longer, and the physical deployment of 200 2-port ATA’s doesn’t bear thinking about.

Welcome! I think asterisk will be able to help you…
For both the 4x T1 and the analog’s you’d want either Digium or Sangoma cards, both companies make T1 and 4x analog boards. Remember for the analog lines you will want FXO. I agree that IP phones for your admin guys is a good idea, I generally recommend AAstra or SNOM for use with *.

The interesting bit will be the 400 FXS ports for the guest lines. If they are standard analog phones then Citel might be a bit overdone for you, as the main point of Citel hardware is to adapt legacy system phones for analog PBXs to work with *. Generally the system phones that work with analog PBXs use some form of proprietary signalling for the feature buttons like transfer, conf, etc and they don’t work with a standard analog FXS port, thus the Citel gear.
You just need standard, boring FXS ports and a crapload of them. As bacon said you could buy a CRAPLOAD of small 2 port ATAs as mentioned that will be very difficult to configure. I’d suggest going with some high density media gateway type devices. These are appliance type devices that have a bunch (24 or so) of FXS ports on one end and Ethernet (speaking SIP) on the other. They’re also decently cheap at around $60/port and up. Few manufacturers I know of: vegastream, quintum, patton, audiocodes.

The other possibility that might save you a bunch of money is to keep using your existing PBX as little more than a breakout box. Leave the 400 guest rooms connected to it, and link it to * via PRI. Reduce its programming to the bare minimum, only really translating between PRI and analog, and let * handle all the features. It can still handle room to room calls but everything else will go thru *.

Lastly to consider is MWI (message waiting indicator). If you don’t leave the PBX serving VM to the rooms and you use * for that, Asterisk can be programmed to dial feature codes to the pbx to turn peoples MWI on/off. But one other thing you must consider is the physical lights on the phones. Asterisk cards I know and I’m guessing maybe the voice gateway devices send MWI notification by stutter dial tone and also an FSK burst. Hotel phones, the kind with the red flashing light, often want a ~90v signal to light up the red light, which many cards do NOT provide. This may prevent you from using your existing phones with certain gateway devices or restrict them to going via your old PBX.

Hope that helps!

Would this work if i did it this way
uses the

Digium TE110P
Digium RTDM04B
and a bought 8
Vegastream Vega 50 6x4 Analog VoIP Gateway 48FXS/2FXO SIP
Dual FXS Adaptors

am i missing anythig exept the IP phones

nope you’re on the right track. I think audiocodes might be a bit cheaper than vegastream but of course whatever you get, i’d suggest get some reviews to make sure it works well with * and whenever making a big order like that it is often a good idea to start small, order 1 of everything you need and once you know its the right product order the other 7 or whatever

Getting 200 ATAs will be a real pain in the ass even with remote provisioning, it might be a bit less $/port but remember some things are only cheaper if your time is worthless.

Citel (www.citel.com) makes a 24 Port Handset Gateway for analog devices that should suit your needs and give you the functionality you are looking for. Please call 1 877 248 3587, and one of our inside sales people can answer any of your questions.

i have looked at the citel handheld gatway that just a little more then we would like to spend

i think the citel product, whiel it would work, is not what you need here. Citel’s strength is that they can talk to system phones from legacy PBXs, ie avaya nortel etc. That way you can replace * at the core and keep using your existing handsets without retraining users or running Cat5 everywhere. In some situations, this can be a decent savings if you have a lot of legacy phones and not a lot of Ethernet switching capacity or Cat5 cable.

You don’t have that problem because you don’t have legacy system phones that need to still work. You have a bunch of normal, analog telephones that will work with any FXS ports. Sure as I understand it the Citel product can configure as standard loopstart/kewlstart FXS, but you are paying for the extra feature (legacy system phone compatibility) that you are not going to use.

Thus, unless I am missing something, the Citel product is not what you need here. You need a LOT of FXS ports and aside from the MWI issue that’s about it. Thus any analog gateway will work and you should probably buy the cheapest one that works with * and has whatever other features you want.

Thanks for that

The company owner has asked me to get references/testimonials for *. If some members could please email me about the pro/con of *. Manly looking for people in HOSPITALITY ONLY. that’s the only way he will let me present a quote to him.

Thanks Chris

dont have any hotel stories but these may help

digium.com/en/asteriskbusine … sestudies/

voip-info.org/wiki/view/Aste … mensioning info on how much HW can do what
voip-info.org/wiki/index.php … mendations includes many success stories

also if it helps you can mention that the analog gateways are generic equipment so even if you decide * sucks you can keep using them with another product

How well would this system work over VPN we have one part of our resort that connect by VPN. also if any one else has good references on this product please email me them


as long as the VPN operates pretty transparently, IE traffic is nicely routed between networks, VoIP will generally ignore it. in other words it wont cause a problem.
However you will need to make sure that you have good quality of service controls on the VPN and the WAN links they use, to ensure VoIP traffic remains high priority.

You may also want to use a low-bandwidth codec like G.729, ilbc, gsm, etc over the VPN to reduce bandwidth usage… remember fax doesn’t work over those codecs. G.726-32 is also a good compromise- half the bandwidth of ulaw with very little quality loss.

dose anyone know how i can get a call accounting system hooked up and all so any way to do wake up calls.( i’m looking at the *now system because not all of my employees know with Linux)

my company specializes completely in the hospitality Telecom business, several of the concerns I have have been mentioned already here.

1] message waiting Lamps… on the old NEAX-2400 the MWI is definately NEON… none of the SIP-media gateways support Neon MWI. that said SOme of the telematrix and teledex guest room phones support both FSK and neon via a switch inside the phone;s faceplate. older phones do not have this dual support.

2] Wakeup calls can be handled in asterisk, there is support this availabe as I have an asterisk machine im testing for the possibility of deployment in hotels. in the case of the script the guest can set their own wakeup from their room. the script could be modified where you could key the extrension in to set the wakeup for and allow the front desk to set wakeups.

3] analog lines - the ADtran totalaccess 924 is a 24 ort SIP media gateway and will support 24 FXS lines per unit. they can be sourced for around $1000 if you are an adtran dealer which is less than $50 / port.

4] Call accounting - there are several addon programs to asterisk that allow for RS232 output of SMDR / CDR records. they can then be run into many different call accounting systems. I know Metropolis allows you to build your own SMDR record so it should support the asterisk format. it will also allow you to set up a telnet session to retrieve SMDR data as well.

5] admin phones - I would suggest the nicer polycom or snom display phones for the admin areas, but remember Bridged line appearance isnt truly supported in asterisk and many hotels use this feature so they can see calls ringing the front desk or concierge without having these areas staffed all the time. metermaid is a possibility so you can see calls that are parked but this from what I understand is only available on 1.4? someone correct me if im wrong… and I wouldnt yet put 1.4 in a production enviroment. Mitel also makes SIP compatible phones that have a nice fit feel and finish.

6] Console - use of thr Flash operator panel might give you the feel of the busy lamp field front desk console that many hotels are used to. couple it with a touch screen and you might have a nice way to transfer calls to rooms and see who is on the phone.

7] Voicemail - this is the one area im not comfortable with in a hotel as it isnt “guest oriented” but im thinking that you might be able to use AGI or dialplan functions to head up the voicemail and make it guest friendly. I havent gotten that far yet into developing a hotel solutions

8] PMS interface - Most Hotel compatible PBX’s support an interface to the Hotel’s PMS which does many things including but not limited to guest room status (dial a codeo n a phone to tell the PMS that room is clean).
checkin-checkout restrictions - phones are restricted to Local, internal, 8YY, or LD capable based on checked out, credit card, cash pay guest, deposit left etc…

9] dialup - from our experience in setting up some of our properties using legacy PBX to use VOIP trunks we find that still are a lot of people using dialup or faxing via modems from their laptops and receive complaints of not being able to do this. in our case there are a mixture of lines at the sites and so we’vebeen able to route that guest’s calls to a Copper line… but if the site were on an asterisk that couldnt be done as Ive not successfully modemed or faxed above 9600 station to station

I have yet to see any kind of PMS interface written and available on the market by itself via open source or commercial, however like anything else asterisk can be outfitted via programming to do anything.

All in all I havent placed any asterisk systems in production at a hotel yet esp High end(we have worked with a couple in testing that are limited service properties)… we typically are still mainly Legacy for the internal part of the hotel but use the adtran 924’s to allow the hotel;s to take advantage of VOIP lines for their trunks. the 924s will take VOIP (SIP) trunks and convert to either a T1 output (you could run it into a T1 card in the NEAX 2400) or down to a POTS / ground start level (could run into a Univ trunk card in the NEAX 2400).

other ideas: - Mitel 3300 ICP now supports SIP stations and SIP trunks… so you could implement this PBX and use the Dual Mode Mitel phones for admins and thus at a later time if you wanted to convert it would make migration easier.

all in all I really like asterisk a lot and see its future to be very bright as long as digium continues to allow it to be open source and doesnt abandon its development… but i also see that for a hotel its not yet ready to be plug and play and will take some programming to get the features into it that hotels want the most and are used to.

mitel 3300’s also cost $3000 for a dead HD or board to be fixed. I know i been there!

jbrock: We’ve been there MANY times with mitel(and many other legacy PBX… Nortel opt 11c parts are twice that much)… my company is an elite with mitel and get raked over the coals all the time. it is only a matter of time before asterisk will be ready for the mainstream hotel market… there are some things being worked on heavily that show MUCH promise but arent quite ready yet.

Nice to see you are in my city jbrock: ill remember that when I need to order more hardware / phones / etc.



[quote]other ideas: - Mitel 3300 ICP now supports SIP stations and SIP trunks… so you could implement this PBX and use the Dual Mode Mitel phones for admins and thus at a later time if you wanted to convert it would make migration easier.

all in all I really like asterisk a lot and see its future to be very bright as long as digium continues to allow it to be open source and doesnt abandon its development… but i also see that for a hotel its not yet ready to be plug and play and will take some programming to get the features into it that hotels want the most and are used to.

I fully agree with your comments I have worked with Mitel systems since the mid 80s. Asterisk is ready yet, The big issue will be PMS intergration. TBH writing a bit of middle ware wouldnt be too much of an issue.

As to costs well for a Hotel using Pots for rooms there is little in and theMitel will win the order. This is for many reasons:

1:- It will work out of the Box.
2:- PMS will intergrate.
3:- Most hotel staff know how it works (world wide)
4:- Its a Brand that Hotel Managment and owners know.

Finaly the fact that it costs $3000 to change a Mitel harddrive. YOu must be paying a hell of a fee for the guys labour. The drives are £500 UKP ($900) and it should take less than half a day to do. I would even fly from the UK if someone would pay me over $2000 to change a drive :wink:.

I would love to use or spec * but the pain of getting a Hotel system done it just too much. I have looked at using the XML from an Aastra to do many things. but getting suites to work and as you say getting the VM to work in a Hospitality way is an issue as well.


actually we make our own hard drives, preload the software and the backup copy of the database, send them to site and have a monkey tech plug em in and the site is back up and running. occasionally have to go through and make it resync to the AMC but usually its fully running without that. and yes a lot cheaper than replacement HDD from mitel.

the big thing mitel gets everyone on with their new pricing structure is software Licensing costs, which when asterisk is ready that is an area that can greatly offset the higher hardware costs for SIP media gateways.

hard drives or floppy discs have always been a failure point in any PBX over the years(remember G-1005 sx-200’s Eating disks because of the PMS interface glitch). at least with asterisk RAID can be outfitted easily and cheaply to help alleviate this. (look at what mitel charges for redundancy on a 3300).

in some hotels redundancy is a big issue however even the Mitel PBX’s dont provide true redundancy to the analog stations… IP sets can be resiliant to a second controller but MOST hotels are using analog in the guest rooms.

having not studied up on it yet I dont know how to make a phone resiliant in a SIP enviroment to be able to register to a second server automatically. theoretically you could set up a watchdog type enviroment with a hot standby system that kept its DB and configs updated to the main and in the event of failure on the main you could change the IP and get a site back up… but thats kind of clougey… and there might be a much better solution than this i just havent looked into it.

If there is one thing that the asterisk revolution will have i think it will be an effect on pricing structures of legacy manufacturers… right now everybody and their brother is on the asterisk bandwagon with prototypes, betas, and some production machines… and as these develop further and prove themselves and the fly-by-nights get shaken out the legacy guys will realize its a big threat to their existance and will have to respond.

a name will only carry you so far… granted right now in the hotel world many franchises request Mitel with an Innovation Voicemail, but like anyone else they are cost concious (why else would Hitachi have gone down when they had by far the BEST hospitality switch out there… simple: mitel cost 1/2 the price and does the same thing)

when asterisk proves itself in the real world and people realize it will cost 1/2 as much and do more then Mitel and others will respond.


PMS can interface to Asterisk. Several call accounting systems can get the call detail information from Asterisk and post the priced call records to the PMS.

My question is will your PMS support Asterisk, and if your hotel is a member of a chain, many chains will not allow non-supported PBX’s.

Passing call records is only small part of what a PMS needs to do.

It will need to

Change the callerID name of the extension
Alter call barring
Set the room to clean/dirty
report if the maid is in the room.
Clear out and reset the voicemail.
Record wakeup calls.