New to FreePBX / hardware queries

I’m just about to switch to FreePBX + SIP trunks from a proprietary Samsung OfficeServ setup with ISDN. I have experience both with Linux and with various PBXs, but not with the combination of the two, so I may ask some daft questions!

Before I get started, I’m organising my hardware and have a few queries:

  • I’ll be making the box for the switch - I’m thinking of copying a similar one I made for another server - i3 3.2Ghz/8GB - given I’ll have a max of 15 phones and 6-7 concurrent calls, I suspect this is enough? And can the distro be easily installed from USB - no sense in adding an optical drive if it’s never used…

  • I’m also looking at phones - don’t need anything too fancy, just decent quality. Is there an accepted (or perceived) hierarchy of phone makes? Eg a Grandstream GXP1450 looks to be a good fit - would I have any problems with those?

  • The one thing I’m stuck on is a door phone. My current Samsung setup has a (proprietary) doorphone control unit, which I’ve connected a fairly cheap intercom and my door release circuit to. This was relatively cheap (<£100) and works well. All the SIP doorphone units seem relatively pricey - eg £400. Is there a cheaper way of doing it?

Any ideas much appreciated!

Just a thought but are you sure your Samsung one is a proprietary door entry system, and not just an FXS door entry system? If it is FXS, then you can use with the FreePBX Distro… I’m sure you have checked but just thought I’d mention.

As a newcomer to FreePbx/Asterisk, I’ve recently gone through the same loop as you on doorphones, and the cheapest ‘proper’ VOIP doorphone I found is indeed nearly £400 - they all seem to be ‘badged’ versions of the Alphatec: The bonus for me is that the version with the camera cost little more than the non-camera version, and I have uses for the camera.

On phones, I wasn’t impressed by the Grandstream ones - they work, but documentation not very good, web interface somewhat clunky and limited, small feature list (mixed blessing, that), and many changes require rebooting the phone.

I’ve gone for Yealink (mostly T26) which inspire much more confidence in me, and have a couple of features I want to use which are not available on the Grandstream - although I’m having fun with configuration because the End Point Manager package for Yealink is seriously out of date, and they’ve brought out a significant software revision since than. And the phones I bought came with quite an old software revision, so an update is needed.

  1. your hardware is ample for what you are wanting to do; you could get away with a much lower spec… x64 atom. you can install from a usb, you just need to “burn” the iso to a bootable usb…
  2. phones are pure preference. I find aastra phones a nice mix of price and quality. you want to make sure whatever phone you get in supported by the end point manager - really helps with deployment:
  3. problem with voip, end points are expensive. perhaps someone else can give you advise on this.

Many thanks for your reply, much appreciated!

  1. I figured the hardware was more than enough - it’s pretty much the minimum spec I can build! Although in this case I may go for a cheaper Pentium CPU. Re the USB install - I wanted to check as I’ve done lots of Linux installs from USB but some distros just don’t want to do it and require an optical drive.

  2. I found EPM - so it’s great to see what’s compatible. That will be a definite purchase!

  3. Actually, I’m finding phones cheaper - and more choice - than my current proprietary Samsung ones. It’s just the doorphone that’s pricey - if anyone has any ideas (I don’t mind a bit of DIY) I’d be interested…

You might want to check voipon -

Aha, thanks for the link - I saw some of these… but they are still all quite expensive! A shame I don’t seem to be able to find a simpler control unit like the one I have so I can use my existing doorphone. Hunting around, it seems I may be able to do it with a cheaper controller and an ATA…