AsteriskNOW + FreePBX installed.. now what?

I’ve been doing administration for years, but this is the first time I’ve taken a shot at trying to get a new phone system off the ground for a small office I work for.

I got the AsteriskNOW + FreePBX installed, but am not sure where to go from here and was hoping to get input on whether it would do the job or if I needed to add anything extra to it:

AMD 64bit Dual core CPU
2gb ddr400 memory
300+gb disk space (disk1: SATA 82gb 7200rpm, disk2: SATA 250gb 7200rpm)
Creative sound blaster audigy card (onboard sound disabled)
10/100 onboard NIC (can get gigabit if better suited)
onboard video (have PCI-E video card available if it can/should be used for some GPU processing tasks)

What this would power:
Voice only, 2-3 incoming numbers w/some direct and one to menu system for reaching various offices (billing, front desk, etc).
up to 5 simultaneous calls/connections to the outside world
10-20 handsets/extensions
hold music
other tidbits I am missing/not thinking of?

Also: for providers of the VOIP connection to the outside, are there any recommendations/input about companies/plans that would do well for a system with the needs I have described above?

Yes, that is correct, unless the Internet was down. That was why I suggested keeping at least 1 POTS line.

The office does have one, which I had not planned on replacing. It’s used currently and would continue to be for the fax line.

Nice - I like it, none of the office use would interfere with the phone quality.

Incidentally, if the PoE switch, the freepbx box, and the internet bridge/modem device were hooked to a UPS - the phones would stay active even if the power went out, correct?

I would get a second, smaller connection for the exclusive use of the telephones.

With g.729 the demands would be light. Around 120k.

With uLaw, your other CODEC option 600k

Slightly more functions in one-touch availability is the primary reason. 3 line buttons instead of 2, more blank spots on the ‘programmable’ buttons area. Stuff like that. Looking over the features they are pretty much equivalent, but the 9143 seems more appropriate for a medium-heavy phone user where the 6731 seems better for a medium-light user.

I think it comes down to a matter of personal taste at that point so there is no right or wrong decision.

I think the 6731i has more programmable buttons.

The 9143i “feels” better with hard keytops instead of rubber and a more traditional, substantial handset.

They both work perfect with the provided XML software.

That’s great to hear. Thank you so very much for all of your input and responsiveness, you’ve really helped me get this project off the ground!

No problem. Please update us and let us know how it goes.

With the amount of planning you are doing I can’t imagine you will have anything but complete success.

Oh one more thing I almost forgot - I don’t recall seeing an answer to the internet speed question. What sort of upstream speed do I need to handle 5 trunks and light office traffic?

We likely need to upgrade the internet connection here at the office but not sure by how much. It’s on a typical SOHO business cable connection.

There is nothing wrong with this phone, it does support the XML scripts. It is an older model.

My question to you would be why not the 6731i? It has more features and cost less? I am always interested in what attracts people to different model phones.

This model looks ideally suited for the office, any particular input/feedback on it?

Seems to be a nice mix between the 6731 and 6757

Excellent, thanks! Ok… down to the last few important bits now I think…

for 5 trunks, what would be a good codec to use for quality/bandwidth-economy, and what kind of internet connection upstream speed would support it and still allow low intensity office internet access?

No, you can go to your account once it is setup and add the trunks. No setup or additional configuration to the PBX required.

As far as the Aastra phones take a look at the link:

The bottom line

6739i - Large color screen top of the line executive phone with gigabit Ethernet
6757i - Large Black and white screen option wireless handset
6731i - General Purpose Phone

Whatever you do don’t buy used Cisco 79xx series phones, they are a nightmare to configure.

Where can I see a comparison list of the VOIP/SIP phones? I’ve tried to google the aastra 67xi phones and I get a lot of setup instructions, but no real shopping list kindof layout for the various models and their features.

I do like the freepbx sipstation module, and will very likely go with that. Though there will be at least 5 trunks needed… will it be difficult to setup the remaining 3 or 4 since the module only does 2 to start?

Upgrade completed successfully and installed a ton of modules (pretty much everything except the 2.9 beta installer helper).

LLDP allows the switch to advertise its identification, configuration, and capabilities to neighboring devices that store the data in a MIB. LLDP-MED is an enhancement to LLDP that adds the extensions needed for IP phones.[/quote]

That is from the spec sheet. So the answer is they will do the auto config.

I am not familiar with these switches, the prices and the specs look great. I am going to look into them.

For your outbound service take a look at our SIP Station powered by, it’s a great service at an affordable rate and a portion of the revenue helps support this project. You can set it up from the sipstation module.

I’ll look into the various phones. As for the switch, it’s a Cisco SF300-48P managed switch. Recently got this because the office has doubled in size over the past year, and with knowing that we’d be replacing the phone system at some point, and me nudging towards VOIP, I picked us up something with PoE as well as a couple gigabit links and gbic ports to link across the parking lot to the other office suite.

Looks like I’ll have to miss out on some of the automatic VLAN goodness, but maybe not - I remember seeing (and specifically getting the SF300 for) some VOIP specific options in addition to the PoE. Have to dig out my manual again. If it’s one of the small business pro ones that you’ve got misgivings about… I’ll just have to deal with it and make lemonade if it starts giving me headaches, since I am on a snug budget to work with.

But back to the basics… From what I have gathered, I need the Asterisk/FreePBX server, a supportive switch, the phones, and a service (to something like vonage) to connect it to the outside world. Details like the analog backup lines are bonus, but the four parts I mentioned would be the core, yes?

I’m working on the upgrade from 2.7 to 2.8 now, but what would be the best next step: get some handsets to configure, look for a service provider, or something else entirely?

The Astra 67 series are the most supported phones with the distribution. Take a look at what the XML scripts can do that are pre installed. Visual parking and voicemail just for starters. They are all priced right also.

The Polycom’s and Cisco Small Business Pro SPA series are very good choices. The new Yealink phones also have a following.

PoE is a must and if you are planning on using the PC port you should start right create two VLAN’s one for voice and one for data.

If you are a Cisco shop any real Cisco switch starting with a WS-C part number supports automatic VLAN configuration of the phones. Literally you take them out of the box, plug them into the network, the switch tells the phone the ID of the voice VLAN and the data port is also configured. If you plug a PC into a switchport it works normally. Much easier admin. All phone configuration is automatic at that point you simply enter the extension you wish to assign the phone to when it boots up. The Dell managed PoE switches support this feature also.

WRT the switches the Cisco WS-C have the above capability and I have had great luck with them. They are a very expensive. In my opinion the Cisco Small Business Pro (the old Linksys stuff) PoE switches are pure garbage.

If you are dead set on a cheap switch I will have other people chime in on an opinion as I gave up on the Netgear, Dlink and Linksys crap years ago.

You should also put in a few analog ports for backup in case your Internet is out and for 911. The Openvox cards work great for this purpose.

Let me start with a basic question. Have you picked any phones out yet?

Also the Asterisk Now you installed is a very basic distribution. Since you are at the beginning of the process I suggest you install the new FreePBX distro. You will find many enhancements to make your administration easier.