My name is Mark and I work for a small family printing business. I do the IT and other infrastructure type work and software development. If it’s not obvious from my ramblings below , telephony/communications is new to me. I’m reading up as much as I can, but I may be technically wrong or inaccurate more often than not… so please correct me! Thanks!
First some background on our current telephony system:
We currently have a Toshiba Strata DK40i and Toshiba Stratagy Version 3.2 for our office. Our phones, 8 in total, are Toshiba DKT2020-SD.
We have 6 incoming lines (POTS), two local, two USA toll-free, and two Canada toll-free. We have 8 phones in various locations in the office. This will likely increase to 10 or 12 physical phones in the near future, but unlikely to increase the number of lines beyond our current 6 for the next few years at the least.
We want to replace this system (DK40i) for a number of reasons - features it doesn’t provide ( and we’d like to have in place ) and the cost of having it maintained by a service provider (plus the service has been rather poor).
Asterisk does what we need (and far more), plus it is PC-based and so much information/knowledge available on the web allows us to maintain, administer and upgrade as we need and do so ourselves.
Features we want:
- music on hold
- call record
- call logging
- call queuing
- call forward on busy
My assumption is that the lines coming in from our telco are analog and that internally, due to the Toshiba system, we’re digital ???
Also, that the Toshiba phones are proprietary and will only work with our current PBX or other Toshiba PBXs and therefore can’t be used in an Asterisk deployment.
Going forward, we do not plan to move to VoIP any time soon.
So if I were to use Asterisk, I would:
- Need 6 or more FXO ports available on the PC to accommodate our existing 6 incoming lines? I’d like room for future expansion as well - if popping in additional cards in the future isn’t problematic great, if buying a modular card with room for growth is better great. I don’t see us moving to more than 10 or 12 lines in the next few years.
If that is correct, hardware suggestions or recommendations would be most welcome. I’ve been looking at Digium products to familiarize myself, but not quite sure what is the right fit.
It’d be great if our current Toshiba phones could be used, at least at first to help keep cost down. Is it a possibility?
If we can’t use the Toshibas or would like to add new phones, it looks to me like we could use IP phones internally and everything would be a-ok, because they’re talking to Asterisk and its taking care of the rest.
If we can use IP phones, suggestions are most welcome. If not, any recommendations?
Each phone needs the ability to pick-up/switch between our 6-incoming lines.
- Asterisk and/or hardware crash/failure - we can’t have our phones down for any period of time as it is still the way most of our customers reach us.
What are my options?
I’ve read a bit about using a failover switch which I could (???) interface to our existing Toshiba PBX which would then take over. However, if our Toshiba phones can’t work with Asterisk, this means we’d have to have two phones per office location which is rather clunky. However, please elaborate on this option - as using our existing PBX as backup would be good because at least we’d have line switching and voice mail.
If we have to use analog phones (see question 3) I then need one FXS port per analog phone in the office. However, in the event of failure they would no longer work as well, correct? Or is there someway to configure the interface cards so that the analog line is still directed to the analog phone? Was it the X100P card that would still allow an analog line connected to it to go to the phone connected to it if Asterisk or the server failed?
Would it be possible to setup a bank of analog phones that could be used in the case of server failure? I guess if I split each incoming line between a standard analog phone and an FXO port I could do this - yes/no? Not recommended?
It seems to me that the failover to our existing PBX is our best disaster recovery option - especially if we could make it work with only requiring one phone per office location.
Any other options?
- Is Asterisk for us? Or should we still be looking at a proprietary PBX? I’ve been looking at some and most of them allow PC-based maintenance and administration so it would reduce our need to call in a tech. It still may be a more cost-effective solution for us… at least for the next few years.
As you can see, more research on my part is required, but any help to get me up to speed faster is very much appreciated!
Thank you for taking the time to read my post and for the time to offer help and suggestions!!!