VOIP Only ( Newbie here )

I am a complete newbie and have ordered a VOIP book from Amazon.

Now that I warned you, I would like to find out the following.

My (very) small business currently has a toll free number from Qwest, routed to our only office number. This sort of works well but there is a complete lack of PBX and things are kind of awkward.

Here’s what I would like to do:

  1. Have a toll free number
  2. Have two separate business numbers
  3. When somebody calls the toll free/business number, if busy, it will roll to the other one
  4. When the calls go through, the caller is in the PBX and has audio options, music etc.
  5. Upon the user selecting an option, the PBX can initiate a VOIP connection to a voip phone which matches the extension/option chosen by the caller.

So there would be no actual telephone lines, and afaik, no telco interaction.

Is what I described above possible, and is it possible with Asterisk ?

Can I easily find providers for this kind of service / can anyone recommend any ?

Thank you for your time.

First, something that is sometimes hard to wrap your head around- if you have no POTS lines, there are no ‘lines’ at all really. You have VoIP accounts (which may be restricted to a number of channels/concurrant calls), and you have DIDs (phone numbers) but merely having VoIP makes the concept of rollover more or less obsolete, at least when talking about inbound calls (to the pbx).

Here is what you should do:

  1. set up Asterisk pbx and your IP phones. Make sure calling inside works. You can hook this up to your POTS line for starting out.

  2. Hire a VoIP carrier. Get one or more DIDs (numbers) from them. Possibly forward your 800# to one of those numbers. Remember that a number is NOT a channel.

  3. see above. No lines = no rollover.

  4. callers will get an IVR (voice menu), music on hold, ducks quacking, whatever you want.

  5. they will if you want have choices which will call phones or groups of phones and lead to other options (elephants, monkeys, etc).

As for providers you will have to make one big choice- wholesale or line?

Wholesale providers sell you the DID for a fee, and then you pay a penny or two per minute of outgoing. If its a toll free DID you also pay for incoming. You can also set your own outbound callerid with a wholesale service, so no matter how many people are on the phone, they all show up as calling from your main/1800 number. IE: connect.voicepulse.com

The other option is lines. A service provider selling service this way gives you a DID and outgoing service. The outgoing is restricted to 1-2 channels at a time, and the caller id is set as your DID number. THis is very close to analog service, at least as close as VoIP gets. IE: viatalk, broadvoice

For you i’d probably recommend wholesale unless you make a lot of local calls and don’t have many employees, then a line might be better.

Hope that helps!

thank you for your fast and insightful reply.

although I can guess the answer I still have to ask to make sure I’m not going the wrong path:

Can Asterisk do all that you mentioned above ?


it definately can!