Help Me Plan My Elastix Installation

Discussion in 'General' started by bk1, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. bk1

    bk1

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    I am working with someone and they are moving their office to a new location in the next few months. They are looking to take this opportunity to modernize their phone system.

    So, I am working on getting myself more familiar with Elastix etc but in the meantime, we would like to put together a plan so they will know how much to budget.

    Here are some details:
    - Office with 15 employees in the main location with one at an outside office. The outside office does not HAVE to be included in this plan overall.
    - My estimate would be that the most external concurrent calls they would have is 7 or 8.
    - Currently has PRI that provides voice and data. (I think that is the correct term.) Basically, all the channels are for data traffic until needed for voice comm. Currently pay about $510 per month for this circuit with 20DID numbers

    So, based on that what would your plan consist of? I am looking for input from both people who have done this for their business as well as people who install systems like this for a living.

    My first thought was to just stick with the same kind of circuit they have now and they look into what type of card/device I would need to interface the two. This really wouldn't provide them with any cost savings per month but allows for rock solid voice communications.

    Another option I was looking into was to get 2 DSL lines, one for data and one for voice. Then, use someone like Vitelity to provide the majority of the DIDs etc. This plan seems to provide more cost savings but would have more potential for problems IMHO.

    Your input is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. bk1

    bk1

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    Here's a little more info after looking at a recent bill:
    Looking at their last phone bill I see the following:
    1,345 local calls
    43:54:25 hh:mm:ss

    domestic interstate:
    108 calls
    3:22:36 hh:mm:ss

    domestic intrastate:
    328 calls
    11:52:00

    I believe they currently have about 25DIDs but don't know that they NEED that many.

    Anyone care to enlighten me as to what they would do if this was their install?
     
  3. Amphibian

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    Let me say first, Welcome to Elastix.... Now that has been said, Welcome to the world of Telecommunications....


    IMHO, the first step you need to undertake is this,

    IF IT WORKS DON"T MESS WITH IT, meaning, you don't want to be the one that everyone hates after a move of this caliber. Now would not be the time to install new equipment and learn about it at the same time. It might be different if you had 30 years of telecommunications under your belt and were familiar with multitudes of equipment,systems and data/voice plans. Trust me, I have and I still run into situations where I wished I hadn't open my mouth and offered "to help with a new idea". Asterisk itself has not been around (IMHO) 20 years and is still, you might say, in its infancy for the most part. It works great - as Elastix does -, but there are still some issues with it, albeit minor ones it can still be overwhelming for newbees at times, even for me.

    I would go ahead and install their existing equipment at their new location, let them get settled in and comfortable while you learn about Elastix, Asterisk, and VoIP. Set up a test box attached to a "test line" and get to know how it works then go to them for the change. Once you do that YOU will be the KING of the territory afterwards, or, pay someone to do it for you that has the knowledge.

    As I said, this is only my opinion, and as they say, opinions are like """"""", everybody's got one.

    Amphibian
     
  4. dicko

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    Let me concur with my my friend amphibian

    If you are providing a PBX/keyswitch type replacement to a client, you must accept the fact that traditionally your client has a system that "just works" it might be toshiba, nec, mitel, att (or whatever they call themselves this year, avaya maybe ) nortel (you blew it there guys) samsung, blah blah . . . , and precluding a 'force majeure' it will so work if the power is on

    If you want to do that thing, then you will have to actually "do that thing" five nines is five nines, end of story.


    (to clarify,Five nines means 99.999 percent or less then three minutes a year of down time. and that is what phone companies are required to deliver (at least here in NANP land) )

    To aspire to that, you really have to know how, and you really have to have an unimpeachable network, you also have to have the same availability from your VSP, unfortunately, this is currently unlikely. you will thus have to set up fail-overs, both inbound and outbound to suit, both on the VOIP side and also the network side, and by that I mean both the IP and the traditional TDM/voice/phone network.

    The good thing is that it's easy to get four nines currently, and most clients won't know if they only get three. but if you eff up those 30 or 300 minutes on a Monday morning, you will be in "deep shit" with your client. In other words, do your maintenance at 3.00 am on sunday and don't mess with it otherwise.


    Welcome to the world of VOIP




    dicko
     
  5. andyshawn

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    I agree with you Dicko, but let me also give my take on this.

    It would be good if you are able to setup back there existing system and then after they have settled into the new office, setup an elastix server, then you run both system concurrently for a while and cut over in phases.

    On the other hand, if there existing system is giving them serious problems, then you can go ahead and just implement the new system.

    I have had experience with 4 installations and in all 4 cases, both systems were running concurrently, before i completely migrated over.
     
  6. bk1

    bk1

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    Well, thanks for the input.

    I do IT work for a living so I am not as concerned about the networking aspect of things. I was more looking for a jumpstart on Elastix best practices for my particular situation as well as some general telecom best practices.

    I am currently reading Elastix Without Tears and am working on a test system as well.

    This particular client has not exactly been happy with their current phone system provider. There has been some outages and problems. So, it's not like I'm looking to replace 99.999% uptime although I do get your point.

    I was leaning towards just going with a voice/data pri like they have right now. That way, the majority of the problems associated with running phone service over the internet should not come in to play. I would like to start introducing them to VoIP maybe even just for long distance in the near future.

    So, I guess I'm still looking for what your plan would be for an install like this. Your warnings are noted and I may end up NOT doing this install depending on what research tells me. I have another month maybe two before I need to decide.

    The thing is that if they move their old phone system over now, the case for switching later is going to be more difficult.

    So, what would you guys implement for a situation like this? I'm looking for as much detail as you guys are willing. I'm talking about everything from if you would run the voice and data on separate networks internally, to what box you would load elastix on, to which phones you would install etc. What kind of phone extension scheme would you use for an office of 15?
     
  7. dicko

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    For a "fresh-start" deployment, For clutter free under desks, I would suggest POE phones to start, Aastra, Polycom whatever suits, put the phones in VLAN:512 (cisco style) probably not a problem for 15 phones but IMHO you asked and will be easier to manage if they grow, use a decent router, that fully understands QOS/TOS and VLAN tagging.

    Keep the PRI for now but 1.5M x (23 - phonecalls)/23 is a little under speced these days for 15 machines no, so add a decent data circuit and start provisioning VOIP services over it. Consider BGP for these two ip services if possible.

    Choose Redfone or Xorcom hardware for the PRI they allow redundancy and fail-over to be accomplished with ease.

    Hardware wise there will be little load here, so go for reliability not raw power, keep this server largely forcore VOIP and try and delegate other ancillary services to other hardware.

    Develop of course a reliable and tested backup/restore system, cover yourself all the way down to bare metal restore.

    Be aware of the common risks you are exposing yourself to and apply appropriate counter-measures.

    But most of all just wander through these fora and the http://www.voip-info.org site (and others) so you will be pre-aware of the problems commonly encountered.
     

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