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Free Billing Module Suggestions


(South Africa) #1

Good day,

I am looking for a possible free billing solution to use with freepbx 14.

I tried Fbilling but simply cannot get it working.

Any suggestions?


#2

A2Billing maybe?


(South Africa) #3

Tried that,

I cannot get that to work the way it should.

I hoped FreePBX would have a billing module by now.


(Tom Ray) #4

FreePBX is not designed to be a wholesale/resale platform where the users are treated as individual accounts and billed as such.


(TheJames) #5

what are you “billing”


(South Africa) #6

I am billing the minutes called from the pbx.

I do not want to bill individuals. I e, a client has a pbx either on site or on a vm and at the end of the month I want to bill them for the calls.


#7

Processing the CDRs from your trunking providers would probably be easiest. The Asterisk CDRs would serve as a backup.


(Tom Ray) #8

This is where I recommend a switch/proxy when you have multiple systems floating out there and want to track call records/logs. Because while you can get your billing from the provider and then parse it out to figure out who made what calls, etc. to bill them you miss out on something important as well. The non-billable calls, reporting, ease of management and other benefits.

This is part of the reason I uses switches for this stuff. Not only can I bill all my usage from a central place regardless of how many servers are in use but I can see failures (and why), I can see how many simultaneous calls I have, what my CPS is at and have a central fraud protection/route control without having to do this over and over and over again on each machine.

However, regardless of if you do that or use your provider you still have the issue of an actual billing system that does things how you want. Either of these two suggests allows you to have a source of the data. You still need to parse it and bill the usage accordingly because I’m sure you must be padding it a bit.


(Itzik) #9

This is probably not what you are exactly looking for, but take a look.

https://wiki.freepbx.org/display/FPG/PBX+Call+Accounting+Module

I am not sure if this module is in production yet (stable).


(Dave Burgess) #10

In a completely different direction, I use a couple of VOIP Providers and I like to use the billing data they produce for me. It avoids billing for local (in PBX) calls and gives me all the detail I need to bill their calls. It also allows me to import my cost for their calling as well as their cost, which makes my accountant happy.

One of my providers even offers a “white label” service where they can send the bill on my behalf to the customer. If this worked for me, it would save me a lot of time as well.

So, instead of trying to use something from the PBX, have you considered using something from your provider?


(South Africa) #11

In an ideal situation that would have worked for me. But we use one sip trunk for all voice calls and the provider can send a bill we would still need to generate the individual invoices for clients.

I am bussy setting up mysql to do this for me that it pulls the CDR and matches the accountcode field and bills like that.


#12

a2billing is pretty powerful and can most likely do what you want.
I suspect the issue is not a2billing but simply that you don’t know how to use it.
Why not ask their commercial support team for a quote to help you out? They are pretty flexible with pricing and will either design the modification for you (if needed) or give you pointers on how to do it yourself (cheaper).


(Tom Ray) #13

A2Billing hasn’t been touched or updated in any serious way or means since the release of Asterisk 12. The master release is hasn’t been touched in 4 years and the development release has only had PHP 7 updates added to it.

Nothing to address the changes in Asterisk in v12 like PJSIP or anything else. It’s deadware basically.


#14

I agree in principal but a2billing still works and it’s free so why not use it.
It’s a stable product and they have issued security updates over the years.
Also Star2billing (the commercial side) is still active.
Do you know of any better alternative?


(Tom Ray) #15

Because it doesn’t work properly. Dealt with this with other users already over the past couple years. Star2Billing’s response was they just haven’t gotten around to it but other community members made it work with v13+ on Asterisk. Of course they were more than happy to work on it for a cost. So that should tell you right there where they are with this free software. Hasn’t been seriously touched in over 4 years and when asked their response was basically they’d make updates for money.


#16

I just got an official reply from them and unfortunately you are correct. :frowning:


(Tom Ray) #17

What was their reply this time? Curious to see if how different it was from before.


#18

All development has stopped and they don’t want to continue development even if I pay for it. They say it’s open source and I can make changes if need be but that it requires extensive work. I suspect it needs a complete rewrite and not simply patches to remain current.

It’s really too bad as many people are still using it and there does not seem to be a viable alternative out there.


(Tom Ray) #19

Oh that is new.

Right because using a B2BUA as a switch (which is basically what A2Billing did) is a poor idea. There are options out there but they are generally more at the switch/SBC level. Some opensource ones like Kamailio/OpenSIPs have the core tools for it but require you to do the leg work. Commercial options will have reporting and some may even have billing software.

The problem with using a B2BUA, like Asterisk, for your call accounting is that a single call can generate multiple records as the call details are about the call in the PBX. Even more so if it’s a two-legged call (call forwarding/followme). Most call accounting software/logic works under one answered call = one CDR and a multi-leg call = one CDR per leg.

Using Asterisk CDRs are a main point of accounting for billing customers is a PITA.


#20

Anyone know any open source alternatives? ASTPP looks ok but it uses Freeswitch which is kind of a deal breaker. I really like the FreePBX distro environment and community.