While I understand the Asterisk software, I am unclear about how it works with the equipment and phone lines. Here is our situation:
We are a small company with about a dozen people working in their home offices all across the country. Presently, our customers and vendors must direct dial all of these folks. What we’d like is to establish a main number to which all calls are made. The caller then selects an extension and the call is routed to the appropriate person and/or thrown into voicemail. Staff would continue to use their own phone service to make outbound calls. Angel.com basically provides this service but is expensive and doesn’t allow room for growth and customization.
Here’s the part about which I am unclear: What do I need to connect to Asterisk to allow these transfers to take place? How many phone lines will I need to handle both the incoming and outgoing calls? Or can this be done entirely using VoIP and, if so, does Asterisk act as a gateway to the PTSN? Or do we need to contract with a provider for that service?
I guess what I need is an Asterisk 101 primer.