converting our company from POTS to VoIP

Discussion in 'General' started by houms, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. houms

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    Good Day all,
    I would like to first thank all the members of the community for taking part in such a worthwhile project. I am a newbie in Voip, so please take it easy on me :p

    We are a small consulting company in northern va, and we are moving offices in the July-Aug of this year, and we are looking to do away with our existing POTS system and looking to move to a complete VoIP solution.

    Our needs are as follows;
    - We would like to utilize Elastix for our IP PBX.
    - We need five lines and need to be able to make and/or receive calls on all five lines at a time.
    - We like to set it up so that if someone is one the first line, the other calls roll over either to another line or voicemail.
    - We must have forwarding options so that we may forward inbound calls to other numbers if necessary.
    - We would like to be able to conduct conference calls with at least 4 parties at a time.
    - We also would like to have an inbound fax. We are not married to having a physical fax so something like faxing to email would be great and I think may make it easier as far as configuration goes.

    What I would like to know is if anyone has any suggestions on making this transition?
    Currently we are just researching our options and trying to test some things before we start moving in that direction.

    I have setup a Ellsatix server on a vm and have setup two extensions to test with. We plan on buying IP handsets when we finally make the move, but for testing I have installed xlite softphones on two desktop machines and have them calling each other without any problems. Calling and voice mail is working fine on these two extensions and we are excited about the prospects. Our real focus and concern is with VoIP providers and who we should go with and what type of plans/rates can we expect to see? I have looked at broadvoice, vitelity, and voicepulse, but am confused about how multiple lines like we need work with these types of services?

    Also does anyone have any suggestions on handsets? we are not looking for anything fancy, but something that can work with the requirements listed above.

    So I am wondering if anyone out there has any words of wisdom on this? We are really excited about this conversion. Thanks in advance for your assistance. Look forward to eventually posting our story on this forum when its all said and done.
     
  2. rafael

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    Hi Houms,

    Welcome to the Elastix community and hope to see you often around :)

    All you wan't a do from this post is doable and you can do a loooot more with Elastix :). So there is a lot of stuff to learn. My first advice is that you download the book Elastix Without Tears, that should set a path to follow :)

    About the headsets, plantronics are a great option. You should also may want to use IP-Phones or ATAs to connect analog phones. Well it depends on your needs. For example in a call center the headsets would be the best thing because you would be always in the computer. But an ip phone would be much better in other cases.

    About SIP or IAX2 trunks take a look to forum specialised on it.

    Best regards,

    Rafael
     
  3. houms

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    Tahnk you very much rafael for your response and welcome. I am glad to join such a vibrant community. I hope to stick around :)

    I have downloaded the pdf and am reading it now, I think our goal is to go with Ip handsets. We are a company of 12 people and we would like 5 lines.

    I think we are leaning SIP, to be honest I am not sure of the major differences in the two protocols but SIP seems to be more common and supported more.

    Any suggestions on IP handsets that perform well and are Elastix friendly? Also we need five lines, so I assume the phone should be able to handle that many lines. What I get confused about is for example, this IP handset
    http://www.aavoip.com/Aastra-53i-p/aastra%2053i.htm

    says

    With a sleek and elegant design and 3 line LCD display, the 53i is fully interoperable with leading IP Telephony platforms, offering advanced XML capability to access custom applications and support for up to 9 calls simultaneously.

    So does it have 3 line appearances or 9? Again I am a newb so you will have to forgive me if any of these questions are just silly.

    Also some have suggested that we keep a POTS line or two for failsafe, even though we have redundant internet connections (fiber, bondedt1) from different ISPs. Just wanted to get your thoughts on this. Thanks again for your response rafael, your assistance is greatly appreciated. Looking forward to hearing your reply.
     
  4. rafael

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    any headsets that you plug to the computer would work fine. Some of theme would have much better quality than others and would last more. In some callcenter implementation we have use plantronics.

    Regards,

    Rafael
     
  5. hinzinho

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    Houms,

    Your setup sound quite simple. To answer your questions:

    Q) We need five lines and need to be able to make and/or receive calls on all five lines at a time.
    A) With your current POTS lines, you'll need to get a FXO card. Here are some cards:
    Digium AEX800P or Rhino R8FXX-EC-03.

    Q) We need five lines and need to be able to make and/or receive calls on all five lines at a time.
    A) Given you are on POTS, ask your telco to make sure the 4 lines are in a hunt group for your main number. If you set up the outgoing trunks to be in the same group, then Elastix will handle the available lines.

    Q) We like to set it up so that if someone is one the first line, the other calls roll over either to another line or voicemail.
    A) Read the "ring group" section of the Elastix Without Tears pdf.

    Q) We must have forwarding options so that we may forward inbound calls to other numbers if necessary.
    A) I'm not sure about this as I usually call the telco to forward our number temporary.

    Q) We would like to be able to conduct conference calls with at least 4 parties at a time.
    A) This will be tough since you only have 5 available POTS lines.

    Q) We also would like to have an inbound fax. We are not married to having a physical fax so something like faxing to email would be great and I think may make it easier as far as configuration goes.
    A) For physical fax machine, look into a FXS port. Otherwise Elastix has a fax option.

    Q) Our real focus and concern is with VoIP providers and who we should go with and what type of plans/rates can we expect to see? I have looked at broadvoice, vitelity, and voicepulse, but am confused about how multiple lines like we need work with these types of services?
    A) Be careful with going to true VoIP. If your Internet connection can't handle the calls, the quality of the call will degrade. Also make sure you have QoS, otherwise your users will complain!.

    Q) Also does anyone have any suggestions on handsets?
    A) Polycom 330, 550, 650 are nice phones. It's easy to set up since Elastix has a built-in Endpoint Manager for Polycom phones.
     
  6. houms

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    Thank you very much for your response, But I do want to ask you a follow up or two if possible.

    First you mention getting a fxo card, but I was wondering if we are going to an all voip environment does that not eliminates that need of an fxo card? My understanding was if we get a voip provider and setup elastix to work with that provider, that we do not need any converter cards. I seem to get the feeling that you are suggesting against going to an all voip solution. I am reading your reply to mean, stick with a POTS provider and then get voip phones to run internally setting/managing them from elastix. just interested in your response to this.....
    Also I would like to know what are the advantages of running this kind of setup if anything?

    Thanks in advance for your response.
     
  7. hinzinho

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    FXO card is only if you still using POTS lines.

    The quality of the calls depends with the VoIP provider. If there is no QoS from point A to B, then it's up to the Internet to deliver the packets from A <-> B. Just don't expect crystal clear calls at that point.
     
  8. houms

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    Thanks for your response. I expect we will be using QoS on our end. But the voip providers end I am not sure about. Assuming that is the point B in your example. Can you please provide me with any opinions on what this would mean? thanks in advance for your help.
     
  9. hinzinho

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  10. GMOAdmin

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    Houms,

    I was reading your post from a few months back, and am wondering if your company is going ahead with your VoIP deployment?

    We're based in MD ourselves.

    Regards,
    Karim aka GMOAdmin
     

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