[HELP] Connecting POTS hunt group to asterisk (noob)


Our company has 4 incoming POTS lines, 1 for fax, the others in what I believe is called a ‘hunt group’, so if our main number is busy, calls are routed transparently to the next number we have. These 3 are plugged into a Merlin 410 wall, er, thingy. (Sorry) The individual internal extensions are connected to the 410.

I’ve been asked if we can upgrade the phone system (mostly to remove the now intermittently dodgy Merlin phones and provide voicemail) and I found and installed Asterisk@home onto a spare machine. This would appear to give all the functionality we need very simply. [Very, very impressive job, guys - this seems to me to be a truly ‘disruptive’ breakthrough.]

OK, so I’m pretty sure my boss will freak out if I suggest going pure VOIP, particularly as it would mean changing phone numbers, so I’m thinking I can do this: Buy 3 FXO cards and install them in the Asterisk server. Setup the incoming and outgoing trunk to serve these lines. Install SIP phones (etc). Take the lines currently going into the Merlin 410 and plug those into Asterisk. Live happily ever after with massive pay rise for job well done. (Then push for pure VOIP.)

Will this work? Not knowing too much about this, I am confused about what happens with this ‘hunt group’ idea.

I’m sure I can work out the gory details of Asterisk internal settings later, but I need a “there there, it’ll all be fine” on whether we can retain our existing lines in without disruption.

[Dodgy additional question: The Merlin phones appear to have RJ45 jacks and all wires appear to be connected - does this mean that I could carry ethernet over the existing telephone wiring in our office? It would be a real coup to internally separate voice and data traffic. (For free)]

Thanks in advance.


if you did decided to move to a voip provider you can have your numbers ported, so you wouldn’t “lose them”. you are correct you can setup the 3fxo to accept the 3 pots lines you have now for incoming calls. I am not sure on configuring the “hunt group” not sure if you can do that unless you are given a frat T or bri/pri isdn, if you find out other wise please inform me here.

I also don’t know anything about the merlin system and it’s operations but as long as you can connect it to the network and have it communicate via a channel that asterisk can then you can use the asterisk box to route your calls to it until you get everyone migrated off onto the new system (asterisk, running either sip or iax phones).

hope you find this somewhat helpfull

Hmm depending on the cable used during the merlin deployment cat 3 vs cat 5 you will most likely need to have the ends reterminated to a proper 568A or B pattern it could be done but you may not see more then 10MB out of it. If it was originally run with cat5 (seems alot of vendors are doing this now) just make sure your patterns are correct and you should be in business.

The only other thing i’m not quite sure I understand 100% is:

um if you mean like you already have one run of ethernet to the desktop yes it could be a way to reclaim the existing wiring… otherwise I’m not sure what you mean.

We have a Merlin Legend/Magix phone system here. The way our current setup works is that we have 12 or so lines that come in from the outside. These are just standard analog phone lines setup in a huntgroup.

Basically what happens with a huntgroup is this. When a call comes into a hunt group, the phone company rings the lines in the order you specify. If the first number is busy, the phone company’s equipment automatically rings the next line. It all works pretty seamlessly without your phone equipment needing to worry about anything.

As for retaining your existing lines, from what I understand you’d be better off getting 1 FXO card with the number of ports you need over 3 separate cards. Such as the TDM400P. When we migrate from our Magix system, we’re probably going to end up switching to an ISDN PRI, but i’ve also looked into the route of keeping the existing lines.

With your wiring, it pretty much as logik says… Our Magix system was wired up with Cat3, but the ends are terminated to one of the two 568 standards, so we sometimes use them for data in a pinch. All you can do is plug in a network connection, and hope for the best :smile:

I hope i’ve been of some assistance. Its definitely been a big learning process for me as I prepare to replace our phone system with one based on Asterisk.