New to FreePBX, questions/advicetips

Hi Guys.

I am currently testing out FreePBX in lab to see if it will work with our company. We currently are in contract with a provider who looks to use FusionPBX, but have had nothing but issues. Just the initial install and wait time was horrible, wrong configs etc. If I can prove that FreePBX works without issues we have amo to get them to fix their issue or let us back out of the contract We currently keep having dropped calls, one way audio. I have my personal voip on the network never had issues. So I am trying out FreePBX and will probably get couple of modules. Some of the things we wanted (and where told they can do in some instances).

2 of the biggest ones are

1 - DND break through - let operator force call someone on DND
2 - Let the operator see who is calling all phones (prior with our old voip system, it would show on her phone display).

Ive never really dealt with telcom/phones, so this is all new to me and trying to figure this out on the fly, so appologize for any dumb questions :slight_smile: If you have any tips or advice I would love to hear it. I did watch Cross Talk Solutions vids, and will watch again if this works. We are installing pfSense routers now, previously was Ubiquity. Thanks again (sorry if part of this doesnt make sense, been doing 5-7 days at 10-12 hrs. last 3 weeks, so my brain is pretty shot.

Sounds like you might need an operator panel in addition to FreePBX/Asterisk.

Thanks, comtech. That’s what I was thinking. I looked quickly at isymphpmy, but looked like I had to pay, so didnt look much further yet since thats not on the top priority of deployment (if we do). out of the ones above, which one do you personally like the best?

The good thing is I think you can try them all free and pick the one you like best. They are time-based, so be ready to test once you download them. I like FOP2 the best personally, but unless you have a support package, if you have questions or need help (you might not, it can be straightforward) there is not a lot of “Free” support.

Not trying to discourage you but…

Not sure what your skillset is with IT/Linux/Telephony/SIP but if you’re new to any of it it’s a pretty steep learning curve. If you’re trying to prove the current vendor is the issue it may be an uphill battle for you in which you will probably end up with egg on your face.

if the vendor is taking too long, providing wrong configs, etc then that seems to be a vendor issue. If you have a contract with them it should state an install date. If they missed that it may be grounds to cancel the contract. That’s a question for lawyers though.

The crosstalk solutions vids are a great place to start but honestly they just scratch the surface. There are just so many variables with networks, phones, firewalls, ITSP’s etc that will create issues you just won’t see coming without experience. The CTS vids show you what it looks like when an experienced FreePBX tech makes a video about something he’s done probably thousands of times and it skips over a lot of the gotchas that a newbie would fall into.

Point is, you may be biting off more than you can chew here with your intended goal.

Disagree. While it is important to remain realistic, there is certainly no reason not to try. I started in this forum years back with only basic Linux experience, and nothing regarding Asterisk/FreePBX. Bit by bit, with the help of the community, wikis, and the asterisk book we figured out to do what we wanted.

To @ashcortech’s point, we didn’t replace our existing PBX. It was not a quick fix, but we started adding value within the first week. This only improved as time went on and now the system truly runs as a peer. Some things use the legacy system and others use FreePBX. Its been a great experience and I have learned alot, but there was no magic. Be prepared to invest ALOT of time in learning, updating, troubleshooting and configuring.

There is the forum, near limitless web articles and several paid services available if you need help.

You should also think about your backup strategy. If you are just learning by doing, you can easily break things.

optimal part of my post “with your intended goal”

I’m certainly not suggesting he doesn’t learn any of it. My point is this isn’t something you pick up in a week and run with. If it’s any bit of a sizable install and he’s trying to go up against an existing experienced vendor to “prove him wrong” I just don’t see this working.

You can do this with FOP2. If you are a bit familiar with HTML, CSS, JavaScript & PHP, you can customize/redesign FOP2 to fit your needs.

FreePBX/Asterisk/VoIP requires a but more than “I can install it” knowledge. You need to have a strong understanding of Networking, TCP/UDP and some more protocols to be able to successfully troubleshoot issues.
A good start would be the FreePBX/Asterisk wikis as well as online forums.

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I did not see the goal/requirement that it had to be functional/replacing the legacy system in a week. What I read was the user was attempting to determine if FreePBX is viable as a business PBX solution by confirming that there was a path to the functionality he was seeking.

I’m certainly reading between the lines here but this clearly isn’t something he has 6 months to accomplish from the sound of it…

I hear you, and even appreciate the reality check, but I just don’t personally see the value of these comments, especially when we know so little of the situation. We don’t know what they would do with FreePBX and how they would ago about supporting it, so why comment on it? To me (and the OP could take this a completely different way), it kind of comes off as “Why try, no point”. That is so counter to what this project and community represents to me (Freedom! and it has given us alot of it) that I felt the need to clarify the experiments and effort have value. I hear what you are saying and where you are coming from though, and just wanted to push back a little with my own experiences.

I guess my point was the time to learn to swim is before you fall off the boat…

The value is maybe the reality check will push him in a more productive solution for this particular situation.

To me it sound’s like the OP has already fallen off the boat in this situation (existing system sucks, need fixed ASAP). But I could be wrong, in which case he is free to disregard my post.

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Thanks guys. Yes it is over my head, but I am willing to learn it. Been spending countless hours playing with it. If I can grasp this, and make it work, then in the long run it will be worth it.

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I’m a small business owner who switched from landlines to a FreePBX system which I built. I’ll start by saying I’m a techie sort of person and at the time, I had a fair amount of time as my business was going very well. My Linux is terrible but my general knowledge of computers and networks is above average. I love FreePBX.

Having said that, how much time will your job permit you to work on the project? And not knowing how many employees you have it’s a bit hard to guess at what issues you’ll have to deal with such as remote phones etc. Unless your job gives you a lot of time, I might suggest you pay someone else to do the initial setup and then you make any changes, additions, etc. as you go. Phones are rarely a static thing and that will let you learn at a bit slower pace.

I’ll also add that we run pfSense as well but we ended up bypassing it with our FreePBX system. I’m sure it’s my knowledge limit but we constantly had problems when we were behind the pfSense firewall. We took the phones outside of that firewall and the problems went away. It does take another fixed IP but we had one available. We still use pfSense for everything except the phones. We also ended up replacing our home-built FreePBX with FreePBX appliance.

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Welcome! Are you saying your PBX is directly connected to the internet (reachable from the outside)?

FreePBX has it’s own firewall built into it. When you say “directly connected” it is still behind it’s own responsive firewall. That firewall is built specifically for FreePBX with automatic access for things like remote phones while still preserving the required security so that only authorized phones get that access. It’s specifically built around the needs of a secure phone system.

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