Need new PBX for work

Our current phone switch is slowly giving up the ghost. As we have implemented a few Linux systems here for various things (and I run it at home exclusivly) we are contemplating moving to Asterisk. Our current switch is a Definity with voice mail. All of our phones are Lucent 6416D+ digital phones and we have about a hundred of them in the building. We also have a call center for our reservations department. I’m sure Asterisk is a viable solution but I’m curious about what kind of hardware I’ll need to handle this many phones.



start here: … mensioning

and give us a bit more info on the specifics - how many active calls, what codec, any conferences, etc?

probably, a decently fast server would be enough for you (single proc >3GHz). we use dell 2850’s, and with around 30 active calls, the one server averages 15-20% CPU usage, and that is with recording every call. the servers are probably overkill, but it’s nice to have the capacity to grow.

Unless I misunderstand I dont think those phones will work for *

Thanks for the quick response. I’ll look over that address and see what I can come up with. As I haven’t had lot to do with our current phone system I’m not sure even how it gets in the building. I think its a T1 type line from what I’ve over heard but I’ll have to check.

It wouldn’t surprise me if our current phones won’t work. Our phone company here is not the best at using equipment that everyone supports. They want you to do everything through them so they make all the money.

Thanks again.


Its not so much the phone company as it is the equipment maker. Lucent or any of the other companys that make phone systems doesnt want you to use thier phones without using their PBX this has been the norm for years in the industry. The link whoiswes posted has tons of info at that site.

I don’t want to get into a flame war of phone companies. But some times they are not the most helpful unless you agree to just let them do it.

Any way.

I must be getting a bit slow (or there is just to much other stuff in my brain). From what I can understand we will need a digital card for the T1/E1/J1 connection from the telco to our PBX. That will route all the in/out calls through this PBX box. I guess I don’t understand how we then connect our handsets to the PBX. Do we just need alot of these FXO/FXS cards? So if we need 100 handsets we need a 100 ports?


depends on if you use analog handsets or VOIP handsets.

for instance, a polycom (what we use, in addition to softphones) uses a network connection and IP address to connect to the asterisk server, so the voice pathway is over the network (which, in essence, is all VOIP is).

if you wanted to keep analog phones, you’d need one port for each phone…you can use something like a wildcard, which has an amphenol (sp?) connection to plug into a patch panel (we have one, works great), or an external channel bank, or any one of a number of other things.

if you’re going to need to upgrade your phones (if they’re incompatible) then i’d look strongly at upgrading to VOIP based handsets (or softphones, if your employees would work with them).

Currently we are using Lucent 6416D+ handsets. They’re not analog since we can’t plug a modem into the same jack. I don’t think they are IP phones but probably digital.

I did run the cable in the building and all the phone lines are standard cat5e so moving to an IP phone with an rj45 connector is easy. I also found the page on known phones that work with asterick on the wiki so I can at least start looking around at prices.

Thanks for all the info.


6416 phones will not work as VOIP phones.

They are exclusively a digital phone for the single pair Avaya/Lucent PBX digital ports.

Avaya does sell some VOIP phones that some people have had some success connecting to an Asterisk system, but, chances are you don’t have any.

You’ll have to give up everything you have if you plan on switching to an Asterisk solution.

Don’t forget to look into the power situation for each phone. You’ll have to supply power to each VOIP phone you get, by either using power over ethernet (POE) switches, power injectors with your current switches (like a Juicebox), or a local power adapter at each desk.

Lastly, I’d look at the call centers needs. Avaya PBX’s have come a long way with ACD. Asterisk ACD is much simpler by comparison, though it may have all you need.

As those digital phones will not work with any other PBX, Asterisk or otherwise, you should begin by…

  • getting a quote from 3-4 installers to check how much it’d cost to install a new, non-VoIP PBX that can work with those existing phones (most likely, only Lucent PBX’s can handle them, but it doesn’t cost to ask)

  • get a quote from knowledgeable Asterisk installers how much it’d cost to get a working Asterisk PBX along with 100 VoIP phones

  • check whether it makes more sense financially to go VoIP instead of straying with POTS/ISDN