[Gllug] Asterisk for a small office

Andy Farnsworth farnsaw at stonedoor.com
Tue Jul 18 18:45:24 UTC 2006

Alex Singleton wrote:
> At work, we are moving into a new office in September. Basically there 
> are going to be three people working there and I am considering a 
> phone system. One option would be BT's Featureline, which is BT 
> exchange organised phone system. The other option is Asterisk. I 
> wonder how cheaply I could set such a system up. I already have a 
> spare PC. What hardware would I need to have, say, two incoming 
> analogue lines and three or four analogue handsets.
> Also, if the handsets have CallerID, does Analog support this? And 
> will Analog, if people call our office number, be able to ring all the 
> extensions simultaneously?
> Alex

  To answer your questions, you would need the following:

Two Digium Wildcard TDM400P - TDM21B Card (1 FXO and 2 FXS Ports) at 
£154.99 each excluding VAT
Note that FXO = connection to an analogue phone line and FXS means 
plugging in a telephone handset.
Each TDM400P card can handle 4 modules in any combination of FXO and FXS.
You can also connect several analog phones to each FXS port, however, 
they will still only be one line. (i.e. they both ring when that line is 
rung, and if one person is on the phone and someone picks up, they hear 
the conversation.)
If you were able to live with 2 phone lines in and two separate lines in 
the office (i.e. two person would have to share theirs) then you could 
save about £100.

Also, if you want to go with VOIP hardware phones you can get one card 
with 2 FXO ports and no FXS ports, though you might want one to hook up 
a fax machine for outgoing faxes.  Asterisk can receive incoming faxes 
and just email them to you.

Each VOIP hardware phone will cost you anywhere from £50 up to several 
hundred quid per phone.

One hint, go ahead and buy a new Hard drive for the asterisk server, 
outside of a powersupply failure, they are the most common problem.

As to CallerID, yes, analog supports caller ID both incoming into 
asterisk and then passed on to the analog phones (and digital ones for 
that matter).  As long as you get one FXS port per analog phone they act 
just like their own line.  Asterisk can ring a group of phones (i.e. all 
of them) until someone answers.

Andy Farnsworth

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