Need some advice for a 300 agent call center


#1

Hello everyone -

I have been working with asterisk for almost a year now and have installed about a dozen installations for various ISP’s and small companies.

Now for the first time I will be installing a 300 seat call center for a bank, basically a 10 PRI solution.

My basic question is what hardware would anyone recommend for this. Since I personally have never done anything greater than 20 seats I do not truly know what would be required for a larger installation. One of the major requirements will be call recording. It should have the ability to record every conversation concurrently.

If more information is needed please let me know.

Thank you for any help in advance.

-Ali


#2

Please provide more information, as there is really not enough here to make any recommendations. Information such as:

  • Call Volumes
  • Number of sites
  • Types of call flows (inbound, outbound, data-driven, etc)
  • Plans to use any CTI applications
  • Outbound dialers to be used
  • etc

With this, then there may be enough information to begin to at least give you some ballpark estimates.


#3

Thank you for the response MuppetMaster:

Hope this will help -

  • Call Volumes
    They will be expecing about 4000-5000 calls per day.

  • Number of sites
    Everything will be contained in one site.

  • Types of call flows
    inbound, outbound, driven IVR, DTMF

  • Plans to use any CTI apps
    Yes (let me know if I need to specify)

-Outbound dialers to be used
we have our own RTC client dialer which we will use.

One more thing, is there anyway to have some sort of redundcncy?
Meaing if the system goes down we dont want every PRI going down as well. Ofcourse we can have 2-3 seperate servers handling a few PRI’s but I was curious if there is another option.

Again, thank you very much.


#4

Sorry I have a correction to make:

The call volumes will be more towards 100,000 calls per day. Basically all 300 lines will be constantly busy from my estimation. And call duration will be inside of 5-10 minutes on average.


#5

One thought,

If you are going to have 300 agents, you’ll need more than 10 PRI lines, otherwise you won’t be able to handle peaks, if for some reason your agents are all busy your line simply goes busy instead of holding until someone frees, which is the most efficient way.

Also,
I suppose you planning to go with SIP phones or softphones, right?

If your center will be mission critical, which it looks as it is, share the load among many servers and share dialplans among them, use external E1 channelbanks.


#6

The only thing I see as a real problem is the recording. The number of phones and lines is just one of scale. You would need a medium to large server farm to support it, but with Asterisk combined with SER, it could be done.

However, the recording is another issue. In any financial institution, recording is a normal thing. (Especially for financial groups that do trading.)

Asterisk can record calls, but asking an Asterisk solution to record 300 calls simultaneously, store the recordings, and have a way to be able to easily retreive the recordings, is asking for a lot. It doesn’t matter much if you have a recording if you can’t find it later when you need it.

The process of archiving the recordings alone is going to make this a real problem to implement. Most financial institutions need recordings to be available for a long period of time (Here in the US, the Securities and Exchange Commision mandates 2 years for recordings of telephone calls involving stock and securities trades.) You could be horribly overbudget just trying to build the collection system, not just the archive solution, but having a way to easily find and playback a recording is going to be essential.

15 years ago, I worked for a bank that lost a recording. It cost them $18,000 to resolve the dispute.

There are lots of commercial recording solutions out there that can handle this volume, but they’re not usually setup to handle VOIP calls. You may find that locating a recording solution that will fill the bank’s needs will be the first problem. Once you find that, you’ll know if you can use it with Asterisk or if you have to build a standard PBX solution.


#7

Aheeva CCS Asterisk Call Center recommends 60 agents per box as a maximum for outgoing campaigns because of the AGI, IVR,dialer and recording load on the system. I have a running 8 E1 PRI system with a double Opteron/dual core SCSI system to an automatic IVR, I wouldn’t recommend more than 4 E1s/T1s in the same system for a more complex functionality.

Regards,

Roman

[quote=“haieralibaig”]Hello everyone -

I have been working with asterisk for almost a year now and have installed about a dozen installations for various ISP’s and small companies.

Now for the first time I will be installing a 300 seat call center for a bank, basically a 10 PRI solution.

My basic question is what hardware would anyone recommend for this. Since I personally have never done anything greater than 20 seats I do not truly know what would be required for a larger installation. One of the major requirements will be call recording. It should have the ability to record every conversation concurrently.

If more information is needed please let me know.

Thank you for any help in advance.

-Ali[/quote]


#8

I appreciate all the help and the speedy replies.

Thanks again.

-Ali


#9

What I am looking at is having 5 servers handling 2 PRIs each. Matching that with SER and it should work. So basically I will handle 60 calls per server then.

Will dual XEONs be enough for this or is dual Xeon (dual cores) recommended?

Also should I still terminate my pris into a gateway or is it okay just to use digium cards?

Thanks.

-Ali


#10

60 calls is a very conservative estimate and applies towards outbound dialing (ie - predictive campaigns I am assuming). So, depending on inbound vs outbound you are going to be able to squeeze more. I would do some load testing on a lab that follows some of your scenarios to do validation before committing to a final architecture.

And, of course, the more horse power the better.


#11

And where do you recommend terminating the PRIs?


#12

If you plan to use PRIs for incoming and outgoing call handling and putting those in each box, what do you need SER for?

Also, I would actually recommend looking at at T1/E1 Channel Banks instead of embedding cards in the Asterisk server to provide more flexiblity and scale. Something like these:

vegastream.com/vega400.asp
audiocodes.com/Content.aspx?voip=374

More possibilities here:

voipstore.atacomm.com/Shops/Brow … 868032.htm


#13

If you plan to use PRIs for incoming and outgoing call handling and putting those in each box, what do you need SER for?

Also, I would actually recommend looking at at T1/E1 Channel Banks instead of embedding cards in the Asterisk server to provide more flexiblity and scale. Something like these:

vegastream.com/vega400.asp
audiocodes.com/Content.aspx?voip=374

More possibilities here:

voipstore.atacomm.com/Shops/Brow … 868032.htm[/quote]

As a serious question from some1 interested:
Can you explain a bit more detailled how channelbanks are giving you more felxibility, especially when you loadbalance behind it ?

Here in Germany (Eruope too?), Channelbanks are not very common, so im not familar with channelbanks.