Simple questions, very general about phones, cards, etc

Hey all, hopefully someone can help clear this up. There is an awfull lot of info on this forum, but no general FAQ for people like me :smile:

We have 2 standard phone lines we use in our office wired to five 2-line phones. The main reason i’d like to setup a PBX system are to use the voicemail features, call transfering, automated attendant. Basicly we would really like to have pricing recorded, frequently asked questions, etc.

I installed asterisk@home on a spare pc we have around the office a few months ago, and played with it some. It doesnt seem too bad, as I’m a geek and can get that figured out, its the rest of the hardware that’s throwing me off.

For the card i’m looking at the Digium TDM400P, from what I’m reading this will interface with our standard old phone lines?

The one thing I’m not sure about, is what kind of phones we’ll need, There are so many different types, i’m not sure what to search for. The only request the boss has, is that it has a small screen so if he accidently dials the wrong number, he can use backspace to fix it…he bitches about dialing wrong numbers daily…my suggestion to simply dial the right number the first time goes unheard :smiley: there SIP, nortel phones, im not sure which will work fine with asterisk and dont want to nag the bookkeeper to spend the money on this stuff, and have it not work.

What kind of phones should we be looking for, and how much should I spend on them? 241 for the card isnt that bad (the whole kit), as the resellers i’ve found charge more for JUST the card. Can anyone steer me to an affordable place for hardware? I’d rather use ebay if possible to save anything we can, just tell me what I need :smile:

Thanks in advance

For phone you can use analog phones or IP phones. Analog phones will require either an ATA device or a card such as the TDM 2400p didum makes IP phones will connect to asterisk threw your LAN. You have to decide wich is a better fit for you. here is a list of phones and there is tons of info on that site

Thanks for the tip, Ip phone is deffinatly what I needed to know. I’ve got a few other questions, but I’m sure I can find the answers by digging around. The one thing that concerns me is taking the output from the asterisk pc, and sending it to the other computers. Im guessing the best bet would be a standard router with the firewall disabled acting as a switch? In any case, that link is very handy, it seems like there shouldnt be too much of a headache in setting this up, although i had some problems using a softphone back when i installed it, but that was probably PEBKAC (problem exists between keyboard and chair :smile:).

In any case, the actual question I have now is, what is all this i’m reading on ebay about “this phone is unlocked!” is this a special firmware, a nonrestricted feature model, programmable, etc?

Can anyone think of any problems I may run into with getting this running? I think going with the 2400p card is a little out of our budget. Can anyone recomend an ip phone manufacturer that is reasonable and still high quality? I’d love to go with cisco, but really dont want to spend 200+ a phone.

Thanks for all the help, I don’t know what i’d do without forums :smile:

To get a qualty IP Phone, it is going to cost you, aroung $200 each depending on features. You can get ATA for under $100 and use your exsitng analog phones but you may limit yourself of the advanced features asterisk can provide. The least expensive IP Phones that I know of, are the Grandstream Budgettone 102s. While they work, after testing with them they just have that “cheap” feel to them through out.

if I was buying phones for a office system, I would lean heavily towards the polycom 301, 501 or 601s, depending on feature needs. Note, the speakerphone in the 301 is not full duplex. If a couple of stations just require a simple phone, I would propably use ATA for those users and get better phones for the managers and operator.

Just my $.02