Newbie Needs help

Not sure where to start so maybe a little background about my skill set and our needs.

I am comfortable building linux boxes and working within the Linux environment and with networking, but am absolutely new to Asterisk and not sure how to go about setting one up to handle our needs. I’m pretty comfortable with the thought of building an asterisk server connecting it to a single POT and then using the server to distribute the signal where it needs to be.

But what we need is something a little more advanced and I’m not sure what I need or even where to get it.

We are a growing company that currently is in need of being able to communicate, simultaneously, on between 2-5 calls plus have the ability to fax. Hopefully, in the not to distant future, we will have to expand to up to 20 phones, all being able to take calls simultaneously.

Calls will more than likely be routed to an operator who will then transfer the calls to the appopriate person, but may need to have the ability to call certain people directly. All calls need to be recorded (dealing with health care).

So I know we need:

  1. An Asterisk server
  2. 5 sip phones (?)
  3. NIC and Router to connect server and phones
  4. A card to convert to regular phone line for FAX

and this is where I really get lost.
5. A way to connect to the outside world…

It seems that I could start with 6 analog lines from the local phone company (5 voice/1 fax) but that seems a little cumbersome and might be difficult to expand. What do I need to be asking and from whom?

Thanks for the input.

You can choose a TDM card to connect your asterisk with the PSTN, The TDM Cards have 4,8,12 or 24 ports for analog lines this cards use fxo modules for connect pstn lines and fxs modules for connect analog phones or fax machines. The card use PCI or PCIE ports.

You can buy an astribank too, they use the usb port. Or maybe FXO/FXS Gateways the use a single Ethernet PORT.

Even you can use SIP trunks, if you have a nice bandwidth, maybe you only need a dual ATA like PAP2T for connect your fax machine. You dont need extra hardware for a SIP TRUNK, but you need G729 Codec and a good bandwidth with QoS.

Are you absolutely set on strictly analogue? Since you are considering having 20 lines, you may want to start looking at the price of T1 internet lines in your area and see if they can also do SIP. I have never used the g729 codec because my VOIP provider doesn’t support it but I hear a lot of good things about it; however, it has a license fee of $10 a channel. So if you want 20 calls on this, that’s $200. As far as I have read, its a one time fee, but will probably be worth it to save some bandwidth.

setting up an IVR and recording calls is completely possible in asterisk. Do you know what kind of hardware you’re going to be using with this setup?