Suggestions needed on setting up Asterisk as a Call Center

Currently, we use Centrex for our phone system. Our phones are 4-line office phones with an RJ45 connector to connect all 4 lines at once, we use that connection on all phones.

Our office has about 10 employees and need to change over to Asterisk for an advanced’ish call center. I consider myself an intermediate user of Linux operating systems, so that part isn’t all that scary. What I need to know, or get recommendations on, is hardware and the OS of choice for Asterisk, though I might use AsteriskNOW.

My boss wants to go with a VOIP solution with 2 emergency landlines for… emergencies. I’m guessing he wants to keep 2 Centrex lines for the emergency part and use a VOIP provider for the other lines. As a side question, is it possible to use Centrex for all of the above?

From the videos I’ve watched, we need to convert out analog phones to SIP so Asterisk can read it. I have no idea what hardware is needed for this, which brings me here.

Our goal is to have calls popup on our PCs and have the admin assistant to see who is on the phone and who isn’t so she can route the calls accordingly. We also might eventually incorporate Asterisk into a Helpdesk solution, though I’m still looking for one that’s compatible.

Cliffs Notes:
Currently using 4-line office phones with Centrex. Need to know what hardware is needed to create a call center with the calls popping up on the PCs for us to answer.

Thanks guys.

Also, would we need a PCI card in each computer to get those special popups or would we just need it in the server and everything is done over LAN?


I would ditch the Alog sets to start with then get a TDM400 for your Alog co lines and then for handsets use something like the Aastra 5Xi range as they support xml and work well in call centers


Wouldn’t it need to be an 8 port PCI card? How would you connect 4 phones with the TDM400? Do those phones work over LAN? I’m still unsure what hardware is needed to get a complete setup.

Information update:

We’re getting rid of Centrex and going to use Skype or some other VOIP service. We’d be getting VOIP phones as well, so no softphones needed. We have 4 analog lines now, but will probably use 2 for emergency purposes and have everything else though VOIP.

Still need suggestions on hardware, both PCI cards and phones recommended.