Small Developers Office - Getting Started

Hi All

I’m a hands-on developer (as well as owner) of a small software and consultancy business with around 25 years experience in IT across most areas (except of course Telecoms and/or VOIP). I’ve got > 10 years experience with 'nix and am not afraid to get my hands dirty (and do on a daily basis).

I want to start to get familiar with Asterisk and thought I would start with setting up a machine in our office.

I’d like to achieve the following:

We have three lines coming into the office, two separate lines/numbers for voice and one for fax (currently answered by HylaFAX). I want to have both of our incoming voice lines (and the fax line??) go into an Asterisk server. I’d like the box to intercept all calls with a voice menu, possibly checking caller id (rejecting those with CID withheld) and forwarding the calls to the selected extension, showing the CID. Outgoing calls would either go out via the POTS or via a VOIP provider (we do not have one yet).

I’d like to provide full voice mail facilities for all staff.

I’d like to have a number of extensions (wired or wireless) dotted around the 7 or 8 rooms in the place.

I’d like all numbers to be maintained in a central repository that can be accessed by any handset.

I would also like the fax line (if possible) be used as an outgoing (and incoming??) voice line if it’s not in use for faxing at the time the call is made.

I am sure I read a white paper some time ago that outlines setting up a home Asterisk system that dealt with all these issues, including rejecting CID withheld calls and asking them to enter a phone number for verification but (of course) I cannot find this white paper anywhere now.

I have downloaded the O’Reilly book and am about to immerse myself in it but before I start I thought I would ask the following:
[li]Is anything I have talked about here not possible?[/li]
[li]Does the white paper I mentioned sound familiar to anyone?[/li]
[li]Am I starting in the right place with the O’Reilly book or could anyone suggest a better starting place?[/li]
[li]Given my location, can anyone suggest a supplier and/or recommendations for any necessary cards, phone etc for this project.[/li][/ul]
Apologies if this is a FAQ - I have trawled the forums but didn’t find any answers for the questions I want to ask.

Any and all suggestions (short of taxidermy) gratefully accepted.

Rgds and Antipodean TIA


I assume you mean the following book:

If so yes that is THE best place to start. I suggest as a first test follow it as close as possibel and get comfortabe with it, then move on to a real configuration.

Almost all of it is possible (I am not aware of the whitepaper you speak of but blocking calls without callerid is easy enough).

The only thing that may be hard is "I’d like all numbers to be maintained in a central repository that can be accessed by any handset. " I dont know about the other phones but the polycoms do have a “directory” that is maintained in an xml file on a central server but I think its limited to 45 numbers (not sure as we dont use it and its been a while since I played with it).

One solution would be to maintain a webpage with all the numbers (or outlook contacts) and use the manager interface to originate calls progarmatically. There are prebuilt outlook plugins (some free some paid) and there are lots of code snippets available for webpages in many languages. Basically what happens is you click on the then number, the program sends the commands to Asterisk, Asterisk rings your extension, you pick up and then asterisk calls the number you clicked on. It actually works pretty slick.

For faxing I would stick with HylaFAX. If you need extra lines you could always get a VOIP line or two for those times when you need a little more capacity.