Rather broad ranging query


#1

Hi,

Sorry in advance but VOIP is pretty new to me - so if there is a better place to look or post, please do direct me there.

Our company has a main office with about 160 people. We already use a pretty old but entirely satisfactory Telrad PBX. We also have several branch offices. These have far fewer staff - perhaps 10 per office.

We have been trialing Skype between the main office and branch offices - however this is a bit of a messy solution, not only in infrastructure terms, but also in that the normal telephone can ring while somebody is already using Skype.

What we would like to do is to set up a server (Asterix seems to be the one to go for), tied into our internet connection, then with several connections to the existing PBX. The branch offices could then continue to use soft-phones, connecting directly to our server. Ideally, this would allow the branch offices full access to our internal extensions and our internal users to be able simply to dial either an extension or a preprogrammed “speed dial” number on their regular Telrad handsets in order to access the branch office users.

Most FAQs and support docs I have seen either work on the basis that the Asterix server will be the sole PBX (where I want it to integrate with an existing PBX). Or, they assume that a VOIP providor will be used - we eould rather have the branch offices connect directly to us (from a strictly financial point of view - although would this potentially cause latency issues?).

Apologies for the rather rambling post - Does this sound possible, and can anybody give me any pointers as to where to start?

Thanks In Advance,

Rob


#2

Rob

Whilst I can’t offer to much help on the techie stuff - here’s my view from an business manager perspective. We installed Asterisk around 1 month ago and have been very happy with it (100% uptime!). Our business is comms and we take/make around 5K calls per month, so a reliable system is critical. I would strongly make sure you get someone in who has delivered such systems in the past and use tried and tested components, especially if these become the primary ‘phones’ for the remote sites.

We were in a greenfield site and whilst I had an old index kit to reinstall, we bit the bullett and went for Asterisk with Snom 190’s on every desktop. Whilst we don’t have branch offices we have a number of home working employees, and are currently running a trial with x-lite to allow them to make calls from home (ADSL into * box) and yet the call to be routed out via the office ISDN30. This definately permits these users to be seen as “on-net” as far as the internal extensions are concerned.

I’d recommend you give Andrews & Arnold a call - aaisp.net/aa/voip/systems.html 01344 400111, (speak to Andrew or Adrian) as they put in our system, and have possibly done more Asterisk deployments in the UK than anyone else. (based on my limited market research)

Hope this helps. Feel free to call me on 0870 2 40 30 20, if you’d like any further follow up.

greg


#3

Rob,

Let me make sure I understand your need. Essentially, I think you are wanting to have your branch offices tied into your HQ office over VoIP so that you get “free(er)” calls between the sites and so that the branch employees can access the same applications as the HQ staff (same dialing plan, shared voice mail, bridged lines, etc). Is that close to right?

If so, then we may have two possible solutions to help you. One is a product we offer called PBX Extender. It is intended for exactly the situation described above. It turns your Branch office employees into users on your HQ PBX so everyone seems to be working from one single central phone system.

The second solution that could help you is called a handset gateway. It converts all your PBX phones and PBX wiring into IP phones so that Asterisk can REPLACE your PBX and become your enterprise-wide IP PBX service. You get to leave all your existing phones and wiring in place, and the Asterisk doesn’t really cost you everything, so you can cost justify a straight migration to IP for ALL your employees without a huge disruption or big capital expense.

If either of these sound like what you are looking for, drop me a private message and we’ll arrange a further discussion.