Best practices for branch offices

Trying to figure out the best solution for branch offices. Should we have a main PBX and have all users connect over VPN or have PBX’s at each branch and use something like IAX2/SIP trunking between them either through WAN or VPN?

This question has many answers, but more importantly would be what requirements do you have.
An example, if you have a few locations with 30+ users and you loose internet, you may still want the users inside the office to be able to communicate internally, that would then require a PBX at each location.
Now you would use IAX to communicate between offices, this can be done via the web, or a more secure answer is that vpn you mentioned.

If you a smaller offices, maybe the above isn’t required., so you use 1 PBX for all users, then from the firewalls at each location configure your VPN and configure the multiple networks into your single pbx.

There are lots of ways this can go. A lot depends on the number of branch offices, how they communicate internally, how they connect externally, the number of extensions at each off, the total number of extensions, etc.

For small numbers and good interconnectivity, the VPN is a good solution. For large numbers of offices with a small number of phones, the VPN configuration at the head end might get a little intense. If you already have VPNs running, or want to implement VPNs, this is a good way to justify that decision.

If you have poor interconnectivity or poor internet service at one or more location, a stand-alone system might be the right choice.

If your locations have static IP address (as most commercial spaces should), you could also (I can’t believe I’m saying this) consider cloud services for all of your phones. Of course, that depends on good connectivity again, but is a good option.

If you have mobile users (phones that travel), setting up a system that relies on VPN is another good solution. If you go that route, you can implement it with a single server or multiple servers (depending on how your outbound caller ID needs to look).

In other words, there are many factors that go into this decision. If you can use a stepwise approach (do the main office first, then implement whatever solution you want at one of the branches and repeat) you might find that a hybrid of these solutions ends up being the way to go.

Typically we’ll get a main branch with 30-50 employees then a few remote offices with about 5-10. I figure inbound and outbound its best to use local pbx or SIP trunking. But internal branch to branch is where I’m wondering is best. If we set each branch to a different extension block of numbers (main 1000, branch1 1100, etc) then use something to connect the phone systems together with trunking. Just not sure the best way.

I figure if they only have 1-5 phones we’d just VPN the phones to the main pbx as it’s not a huge deal if their phones are down when HQ is down.

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