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  #1  
Old 07-17-2010, 03:42 AM
jagarco jagarco is offline
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PBX basic orientation needed here :)


I'm a web designer and PHP developer and been on Hosting and Webdesign business for 10 years...

But I'm total newbie on PBX and VOIP, I didn't even know that what I needed was called PBX.

just need an "internal" PBX to auto handle my incoming calls and redirect them to at least 3 extensions, simple phones if possible.

First, I'm not interested on VOIP, and Virtual PBX providers are not an option as I'm not on the US(nor my customers).

I have read some about the PBX world but still don't know all its nature.

A 800usd/1500usd solution doesn't quite convince me that it has to cost that.

I read a little about some asterisk based quick solutions, seem interesting, if for handling incoming calls with caller options to choose and redirecting to extensions would need to learn basic script configuration and is not hard, I won't mind doing it...

My problem understanding still is.., the hardware...
So far, it is supposed to be installed on a CPU, for that I wouldn't have a problem to get one for less than 200usd.

The thing is... what exactly else is needed to just connect my simple phones to the PBX? (you see I don't even know what type of telephone I have nor the type of my phone line).

I think I need some kind of telephone card to be inserted on the PC, and that would be all, right?.
Are there other options instead of cards?

If so, are there any of these cards for at least 1 phone line and 4 telephones.. like less than 150usd?

Are there other alternatives worth of considering instead of these cards?

How are these card or devices's officially called, so at least I could search for them, or do you know of a "the place to go" for these?

And for the last...,
is it possible to have a Do-It-Yourself PBX like the one I need for less than 400usd?


thank you very much



Last edited by jagarco; 07-17-2010 at 03:45 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-17-2010, 04:54 AM
SysAdminMan SysAdminMan is offline
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It would certainly be possible to use an Asterisk based solution for this. You could either learn how to configure Asterisk by hand by editing the configuration files or use something like FreePBX which is a web based GUI for setting things up. FreePBX comes with many of the Asterisk distributions that you may see mentioned such as Elastix, Trixbox etc.

For connecting extensions to the system you have a couple of choices. You could install a hardware card (such as these) inside the PBX and use traditional handsets or you could use VOIP/IP based handsets (like these). The benefit of VOIP handsets is that they don't need to be located physically close to the PBX. As long as they can connect over IP they can be anywhere.

For inbound/outboud calls again you have a couple of choices. You can use a card in side the PBX as above to connect to traditional phone lines. The extensions will then be able to make/receive calls over those lines.

Rather than install a physical card inside the PBX you could use an ITSP (VOIP provider such as CallWithUs). These allow both incoming and outgoing calls over IP. There is nothing to install inside the PBX. As long as you have a reasonable quick and reliable internet connection the quility can be excellent.

If you decide to go for IP connections for your extensions and trunks then the PBX can be hosted anywhere (although definitely best on the same continent as your extensions and destination of most of your calls to keep network latency as low as possible)

If you go for either traditional extensions or trunks connected to a card in the server then for 3 extensions to hardware requirements for that server will be very low. You could easily use an old PC for that.

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  #3  
Old 07-17-2010, 10:48 AM
jagarco jagarco is offline
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Thank you for taking the time to respond.

(The following can be answered by anyone who likes to, I appreciate it)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bucasia View Post

For connecting extensions to the system you have a couple of choices. You could install a hardware card (such as these) inside the PBX and use traditional handsets
So it is going to be hard to find hardware interface (PBX<-> Traditional Phone device) for ~200usd?.

I saw them, the ones that have 4 jacks(?).., would one be for the phone line and the other 3 for the traditional phones?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bucasia View Post
or you could use VOIP/IP based handsets (like these). The benefit of VOIP handsets is that they don't need to be located physically close to the PBX. As long as they can connect over IP they can be anywhere.
So it won't need additional hardware(cards) besides the PBX Computer because the VOIP handsets would be connected by ethernet?
This seems to be key for an affordable PBX IF the handsets are affordable and no need for more hardware, but, I suspect there won't be outgoing calls for these handsets.. is it?.

How is the phoneline going to be connected to the PBX computer if there are no hardware interfase? modem doesn't work here right?
Or are incoming calls going to be through the Internet? If so, I would need a VOIP provider right? again, I'm not from the US so paying international "carrier"(?) services is not viable.


Even though I haven't tried any VOIP, I still hesitate for the annoying voice delay but if the handsets are on our local network and the incoming calls are still through the traditional phoneline, then there wouldn't be any noticeable delay right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bucasia View Post
For inbound/outboud calls again you have a couple of choices. You can use a card in side the PBX as above to connect to traditional phone lines. The extensions will then be able to make/receive calls over those lines.
Like this...
VOIP HandSet -> PBX card -> Phoneline

Quote:
Originally Posted by bucasia View Post
Rather than install a physical card inside the PBX you could use an ITSP (VOIP provider such as CallWithUs). These allow both incoming and outgoing calls over IP. There is nothing to install inside the PBX. As long as you have a reasonable quick and reliable internet connection the quility can be excellent.

If you decide to go for IP connections for your extensions and trunks then the PBX can be hosted anywhere (although definitely best on the same continent as your extensions and destination of most of your calls to keep network latency as low as possible)
Not being on the USA, is going to get me higher costs? I suppose.

thank you very much

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  #4  
Old 07-17-2010, 12:02 PM
cwells cwells is offline
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You need a PCI card with both FXO and FXS ports. The TDM400P is a cheap and commonly available card that can provide a mix of 1-4 FXO and/or FXS ports (it uses daughter cards to provide the functionality). You can get one for around around $100USD on eBay. Search for "fxo fxs asterisk".

The math here is simple: you need one FXO port for each external phone line (POTS). You need one FXS port for each internal handset. Personally I would ditch the old school handsets and buy some used IP phones. This would allow you to get a single 4 FXO port card and have 4 external lines and an unlimited number of handsets. Also, if you're willing to roll up your sleeves, you can do neat things like route local calls over your POTS lines (nice voice quality) and long-distance and international over a SIP trunk (cheap rates).

As with all things, now that you know what you are looking for, do some research to make sure the parts are compatible with each other.

Also, as an aside, I'd recommend a FreeSWITCH PBX over Asterisk, and *definitely* run on Linux or BSD, not Windows, if for no other reason than it will be easier to get help from the community. FreePBX v3 provides a nice GUI for FreeSWITCH (v2 is Asterisk only).

I'd provide some links to both hardware and explanations of terminology, but this is my first post and apparently I can't. My first (rather long) reply was unhappily discarded by this forum for trying to do so earlier. In lieu of that, just google "fxo fxs" and you should find what you need.

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  #5  
Old 07-17-2010, 04:26 PM
jagarco jagarco is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwells View Post
Personally I would ditch the old school handsets and buy some used IP phones. This would allow you to get a single 4 FXO port card and have 4 external lines and an unlimited number of handsets.
Interesting, so basically regarding hardware setup, I would need a simple PC(for PBX), a FXO slots card, some IP-Phones and my current LAN.
IP Phones would be connected via Ethernet and the PBX will route the incoming calls from the FXO card to the IP Phones through local network. Nice, seems reasonable affordable and flexible for future features.

Next, I would need to check software setup, so far I have seen some "Quick start" Asterisk software, not sure how far do these "quickstart" software options go about letting me configure the PBX easily, but at least I hope there is additional free easy to use/setup software to run on asterisk to setup my phone system's call handling and conditions.

I'll check your software references also.

thank you for taking the time

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  #6  
Old 07-17-2010, 05:18 PM
tim2718281 tim2718281 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bucasia View Post
You can use a card in side the PBX as above to connect to traditional phone lines. The extensions will then be able to make/receive calls over those lines.
Presumably you need some co-operation from the phone company, so that all the incoming lines can share the same phone number.

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  #7  
Old 07-17-2010, 05:25 PM
jagarco jagarco is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tim2718281 View Post
Presumably you need some co-operation from the phone company, so that all the incoming lines can share the same phone number.
Ok, for now I only have 2 lines but just use one for customers, the other one I'm planning to use it just for our outgoing calls. If latter incoming calls start to pile up(often busy signals for customers) I'll check for options.

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  #8  
Old 07-18-2010, 02:49 AM
tim2718281 tim2718281 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagarco View Post
Ok, for now I only have 2 lines but just use one for customers, the other one I'm planning to use it just for our outgoing calls. If latter incoming calls start to pile up(often busy signals for customers) I'll check for options.
With one incoming line, you could get close to what you want with a cordless phone system with multiple handsets.

My home cordless phone system has extension-to-extension calls, transfer call to extension, and conference (two extensions plus outside line), plus answering machine.

Then have another set of phones for outgoing calls.

A primitive solution; but cheap!

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  #9  
Old 07-18-2010, 10:15 AM
cwells cwells is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tim2718281 View Post
With one incoming line, you could get close to what you want with a cordless phone system with multiple handsets.

My home cordless phone system has extension-to-extension calls, transfer call to extension, and conference (two extensions plus outside line), plus answering machine.

Then have another set of phones for outgoing calls.

A primitive solution; but cheap!

The boldface requirement of the OP was:

"I just need an internal PBX to auto handle my incoming calls and redirect them to at least 3 extensions"

A typical cordless phone system will not do this. There are multi-handset ones that will, but they are in the same price range as the VOIP solution (over $300) and still not nearly as powerful or flexible. They *are* easier to setup, but that's their only advantage. Plus voice quality on cordless tends to be fairly poor and can cause issues with other wireless devices, including wifi.

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  #10  
Old 07-18-2010, 11:59 AM
GraphicLoader GraphicLoader is offline
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I would have to say that this thread has some good answers but one thing that needs to be mentioned is echo cancellation.

The most prevalent problems when connecting any PBX that is server based to POTS lines is that you are converting an analog signal to a digital format and if you are using analog phones instead of SIP phones back to analog.

There are basically 2 types of Echo Cancellation available. Hardware based and Software based. The TDM 400/800 and 1600 are all software based and in my experience have been the worst and most problematic to deal with. I suggest to use either Sangoma or Digium TDM cards and modules that are hardware based for echo cancellation.

Another thing is that you really need to make sure the server you use for the PBX has a good processor and plenty of RAM to process the incoming analog signal to digital properly.

I recommend FreePBX as it is one pf the best GUIs and is more stable of an asterisk based platform than most others. You also might look into PBX in a Flash they have a quick install package that works well for smaller systems.

Too bad I didnt see this thread earlier as I just sold 2 small embedded PBXs on EBAY Thursday that would have been perfect for this application... LOL

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  #11  
Old 07-18-2010, 04:00 PM
cwells cwells is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraphicLoader View Post
There are basically 2 types of Echo Cancellation available. Hardware based and Software based. The TDM 400/800 and 1600 are all software based and in my experience have been the worst and most problematic to deal with. I suggest to use either Sangoma or Digium TDM cards and modules that are hardware based for echo cancellation.

Another thing is that you really need to make sure the server you use for the PBX has a good processor and plenty of RAM to process the incoming analog signal to digital properly.
I mostly agree on the echo cancellation, but disagree on the hardware requirements. I have several older dual Xeon systems (circa 2003) in the field, each running 50-90 simultaneous calls (short duration, but handling between 1-2M inbound calls per month per server) and they are barely utilized (< 10% CPU, 300MB RAM, 0.5% load). And I should mention they are doing G711 to G729 transcoding as well as executing an IVR script (in Lua) *and* doing a lookup in PostgreSQL to fetch the dialplan for every call, so they are doing a fair amount of work.

Here's the specs on one of them (from /proc/cpuinfo):

vendor_id : GenuineIntel
cpu family : 15
model : 2
model name : Intel(R) Xeon(TM) CPU 3.06GHz
stepping : 9

Here's the stats from FreeSWITCH:
UP 0 years, 19 days, 21 hours, 58 minutes, 9 seconds, 647 milliseconds, 891 microseconds
1031762 session(s) since startup

Unfortunately it's Sunday, so a copy/paste the current load would be highly misleading, but I expect we could easily handle up to 500 simultaneous calls per server.

Of course, the performance of Asterisk will be significantly lower but still, I doubt anything faster than a 1GHz, single core, with 512MB is required for any SOHO setup (assuming the box is dedicated to this application). From what I've seen on the mailing lists, most FreeSWITCH users opt for ultra-low-power fanless systems for home use (although this will probably have a negative impact on interactivity if you use a web UI).

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  #12  
Old 07-19-2010, 05:57 PM
Weavver Weavver is offline
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Hi Jagarco,

The folks here have gave you some good tips!! I mainly agree. However, If you will use some FXS and FXO card I would encourage going for a Sangoma card with HW echo cancellation!! It is, by large, better than the Digium ones.

Anyway I would go for some Barebone PC, install some Asterisk+FreePBX (very good Asterisk GUI) software. I just want to warn you about one VoIP truth: Good-performance--Cheap--Beautiful CHOOSE ONLY 2.
Talking about phones, you can go for some IP phones like linksys, Thomson, Polycom. It is, for sure, better than softphones talking in terms of performance, but it depend on your budget.
About the lines.... I would get rid of PSTN lines... You haven't say where is your client located but... If you can go for some ISDN line ... it will be better in terms of voice quality. However this means hardware and money. Why don't you go for a VoIP provider ?? Based on your requirements if you dedicate a DSL connection for your VoIP provider you won't complain about voice performance!! I will also use a separate network!!

Regards

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  #13  
Old 07-27-2010, 02:27 AM
mikeruelles mikeruelles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagarco View Post
I'm a web designer and PHP developer and been on Hosting and Webdesign business for 10 years...

But I'm total newbie on PBX and VOIP, I didn't even know that what I needed was called PBX.

just need an "internal" PBX to auto handle my incoming calls and redirect them to at least 3 extensions, simple phones if possible.

First, I'm not interested on VOIP, and Virtual PBX providers are not an option as I'm not on the US(nor my customers).

I have read some about the PBX world but still don't know all its nature.

A 800usd/1500usd solution doesn't quite convince me that it has to cost that.

I read a little about some asterisk based quick solutions, seem interesting, if for handling incoming calls with caller options to choose and redirecting to extensions would need to learn basic script configuration and is not hard, I won't mind doing it...

My problem understanding still is.., the hardware...
So far, it is supposed to be installed on a CPU, for that I wouldn't have a problem to get one for less than 200usd.

The thing is... what exactly else is needed to just connect my simple phones to the PBX? (you see I don't even know what type of telephone I have nor the type of my phone line).

I think I need some kind of telephone card to be inserted on the PC, and that would be all, right?.
Are there other options instead of cards?

If so, are there any of these cards for at least 1 phone line and 4 telephones.. like less than 150usd?

Are there other alternatives worth of considering instead of these cards?

How are these card or devices's officially called, so at least I could search for them, or do you know of a "the place to go" for these?

And for the last...,
is it possible to have a Do-It-Yourself PBX like the one I need for less than 400usd?


thank you very much


You can relate easily to PBX terminologies by searching online. Wikipedia is a great source for learning more about this phone systems. Alternatively, try using Asterisk. As a programmer yourself I am sure you are familiar with this open-source virtual PBX software.

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  #14  
Old 08-08-2010, 02:02 PM
orbitdiensten orbitdiensten is offline
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Yeah I suggest an Asterisk based system, easy one like Elastix.

It's easy to setup.

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