Migrating from Cisco to FreePBX consulting?

We currently have a 105-phone VoIP system from Cisco. It was installed in 2009.

It’s increasingly had problems, and the previous IT director let the support expire. The system is also running on Windows Server 2003, which obviously isn’t great.

We had a quote to move to Switchvox, but at $90,000, it’s out of our price range at the moment.

We are now looking at FreePBX. I have a tiny test lab, and I am struggling. It’s mostly because I know nothing about VoIP or even much of the necessary networking terminology.

Would it be possible to get a system up and running with a person on-site during the migration in the $8,000 to $10,000 range? Or are my expectations unreasonable?

If you are willing to read and try for yourself, I bet you can do it with help from this forum. The most difficult, but not impossible, part would be the phones if they are from the 79xx series. You would either need to convert them to SIP firmware or use the sccp-chan-b driver and do some manual configuration. When I first started with VoIP, I didn’t have much knowledge about it either, just a strong background in networking, but FreePBX distro is quite easy to start with and the parts you might not get, you can always go to the forum for help, or to support if absolutely needed. I suggest you give it a try, install the distro and start with one phone and work your way up. If your phones are from the SPA series, like the 9xx or the 5xx, it will be extremely easy, if they are from the 79xx series you will definitely have more work to do, but nothing that can’t be done with patience and perseverance.

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I agree with @arielgrin, I started of with 79xx and was able to convert them easily to SIP once I got the tftp working, I bricked a few trying but managed to un-brick them :smirk:

If time is not in your favour, seriously consider the support options available within your budget constraints.

Good advice!

105 phones will cost you $10k alone. If you find a really good bulk deal, maybe $8k.

But a 105 extension setup? That is something I would quote to a client at ~40 hours of billable labor. Meetings, design time, testing, etc. The actual FreePBX install is a small part of something like this.

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Really? I had a budget to spend at the amount you mentioned here; only for the install and post-install jobs. Our first project cost was more than triple of our budget to the current one and it was a remote-job. If what you said is true and my boss finds this out, he will go nuts.

To clarify, by FreePBX install, I mean the actual installation and basic setup. That is only a couple hours of work tops. The rest is setting up endpoints, recordings, designing the call flow, and such. All the things that are needed to let you finish setting up FreePBX.

I’ve done plenty of remote only setups like this. Sounds like you were taken for a ride.

I do this for people all the time:

  1. Never convert an SCCP phone to SIP, especially the 79xx series. The CPU and memory in the phone isn’t sufficient to do SIP right. Your button configs will never do what you expect, and a lot of the advanced features from SCCP just can’t be done.
  2. Install FreePBX in a standard, default config on local hardware.
  3. Install Chan-SCCP-B using the FreePBX install instructions I wrote for their Wiki. https://github.com/chan-sccp/chan-sccp/wiki/Setup-FreePBX I just tested them a couple weeks ago and they are good for FreePBX 14 using Asterisk 16, or anything lower.
  4. Install the SCCP Manager that I didn’t write (the one I wrote wasn’t secure and doesn’t work with anything after Asterisk 1.8). The new manager is https://github.com/PhantomVl/sccp_manager
  5. You should be able to get the first phone loaded in an hour, from bare metal. After that, it’s just a matter of grinding through the list, getting them working.

I’m pretty sure there’s no “bulk” handler, although I think that if the sccp.conf file has the phones in it,
the SCCP Manager will pick them up and convert them to the database that chan-sccp-b uses for its real-time support.

If you run into problems, drop back here and one of us can help.

I wouldn’t keep 10+ year old phones though. If a company is going to migrate from something that old, then they need to migrate completely.

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People do things we wouldn’t do all the time. If a wholesale change away from Cisco is what they want, there are lots of ways to do that. If an incremental approach is what Management is most comfortable with, then this is a reasonable solution. Besides, a 10 year old phone from Cisco is a lot better than a lot of brand-new phones, and you can get working Cisco 7960s for pennies on the pound.

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