Hardware suggestions

In the simplest terms, can anyone suggest a hardware example. Specifically an extension telephone manufacturer and model (that perhaps) they currently are using in an installation. I am only asking for an example.

Your question is a bit broad… can you specify which features the phones will need at a minimum, what type of current existing infrastructure do you have, do you want analog phones or IP phones; if IP, do you have a termination protocol preference ?

At a bare minimum we need to know what the phones will be used for and what basic functionality you expect from them. Even then, the choices are hella wide… more detail from you = more sound recommendations from others here.

Now to answer in the simplest form just in case you can’t provide any further detail… I personally feel the most elegant, manageable AND cost efficient infrastructure to deploy under would be to layer the phone system on top of a pre-existing IP Network (access@Layer 3). Asterisk IP+SIP|IAX servers can then be placed anywhere as long as sufficient bandwidth is available, and same goes for the phones. I personally would use Asterisk servers speaking IP/SIP on the network and to the phones, and deploy capable AND extensible IP/SIP phones where needed. Unless shoehorned by hardware contracts and executive<->vendor backscratching into server hardware manufacturers; I’d build each needed asterisk server on a hybrid, self-assembled pricewatch-du-jour component platform (adhering to asterisk HCL, no buggy parts) with a minimum requirement of 1year warranty for each major server component. Unless you are pushing more than 24 CONCURRENT (NOT # of users) calls per server, you can get away with a final assembly cost of $200 per [headless] server.

Requirements beyond this can get as elaborate as you like… terminal server with out of band management (console port, agetty to serial port on each server,), relay on each power circuit for remote reboot with DTMF-speaking and radius-authenticating relay controllers… all the way to eliminating each and every single point of failure from Layer1(cabling) clear to Layer7 (application). Some of the phones (IMO, ALL should) speak RS232 over console port, you can even OOB manage the phones. I’ve included async serial pairs/ports on every desk/hybrid wallplate run for the last several years… .it’s worth it. What doesn’t have a port usually has a port header. Hang an autoanswer modem off of each term server w/a non-sequential number, different lata if possible (security)… voila. Radius EVERYTHING. Xyplex got bought out not too long ago, and the new company has released the old MaxServer software available for download. With the amount of flash-cardless MaxServers out there on ebay and every other tech graveyard, each costing about the same as a couple yuppie latte’s, you can pick up an amazingly-capable OOB/terminal server as long as you put at least one tftp and dhcpd server on a directly connected ethernet or reachable via helper-address to a remote site, in order to load the xyplex software and to load the stored parameters (config) file. And hey, if murphy is getting the best of you that day, there’s always xmodem and snmp RW for the locked-out. For the price of what most enterprises would use a 2511 or 2611 for, you can purchase 100 cardless MaxServer 1603’s off ebay, providing a port density 10,000% more dense than a lone 2511/2611. Then hang a modem off that, etc etc etc etc etc. See, you can be as reachable, extensible and reliable as you like, for little money. Asterisk is a BLESSING for the cost-conscious enterprise. The only thing left these days that might be necessary in an enterprise config requiring big money is a mainframe host.

I’d be shocked if the most elegant and cost effective solution at this time were NOT IP & SIP-centric. What are your requirements and how far would you like to take it ? How critical is it and what is the maximum amount of downtime you can afford per-incident ? About how many total users/w/phones will you need, and about how many are on the phone per-office at any one given time ? Barring telemarketing, I still get good mileage out of 5:1, sometimes even 7:1.

So on and so forth… Sorry about rambling, it’s what I do.

Okay, let’s try it this way. Theoritically, I have three incoming phone lines now provided by my local telephone company. There are approximately 12 extensions throughout the building for various workers. Each extension should display caller id information (if Asterisk can be set up to do this) and indicate when a voice mail message (for that extension) is present. I have read enough about Asterisk to know that it will do most of these PBX telephone features.

I am simply looking for a starting point, a suggestion to try this model or that model extension telephone. For example a Panasonic model KX-T7420 or a Lucent model 18 button telephone works for us. This general information would help greatly.