Newbie - where to begin?

Hi All

First time caller, long time listener. On similar boat to some, I have recently been tasked with managing our VoIP system (9-12x desk phone) without any handover of any kind. What I do have is login access via Elastix, and so far have managed to work most things out through trial and error, as well as the massive help from reading forums such as this :smile:

It has come now to a point where our business has grown, and is looking to physically move office in 1-2 months time.

The existing server itself is offsite (on a server, not managed by us), with Elastix the only access I have. What I need to accomplish in the end is for us to physically host this system on a new server in the new office, upgrade Elastix to FreePBX (open for suggestions), and refresh all desk phones as required.

What information do I need to go and find to achieve the above? Can I get all these from the Elastix access?
I have a test server ready to install, just not confident I have all the details to replicate our current setup.

Appreciate everyone’s help and patience in advance.
Thanks kindly.
P.

I’ve got some great news for you. This is going to be almost painless :sunglasses:

To start with, if you don’t want to care about compiling everything yourself, download a current FreePBX Distro ISO from http://schmoozecom.com/distro-download.php – You should be using the 64 bit image unless you have an extremely good reason why not (eg, you’re installing it on a 10 year old machine)

http://downloads.freepbxdistro.org/ISO/FreePBX-64bit-6.12.65.iso

Boot from that, Give it a root password, and… that’s pretty much it!

You can then re-add your extensions, trunks, etc, and you’re good to go. I wouldn’t suggest doing a restore from your Elastix system, as they are extremely old, and you’ll have no end of issues upgrading.

Thanks Rob. That’s what I had in mind. A fresh install sounds like the way to go.

I’m sure these are really basic questions, just wrapping my head around how everything works. At the moment its all magic to me.

  • How does the outside world know to direct calls to the new server?
  • How do stop it from going to the old (existing) server?
  • We cant be offline for too long, so ideally I would prefer to replicate and test; is it possible to run side by side?
  • I read a VoIP provider is required, I have no information on this; does Elastix tell me this?

Thanks kindly
P.

Well. You’re paying SOMEONE for phone numbers. Those phone numbers somehow get to your current phone system. That doesn’t change. Unless there’s physical phone cables involved, in which case it’s harder.

Both of those questions are also the same as the first. Who do you pay to get those phone numbers? That’s the person to speak to about that.

Actually.

That is too. But it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to have the same numbers running in parallel. You may need to get a test number to mess around with.

Totally randomly, I suggest SipStation. :sunglasses:

That’s making more and more sense, from my point of view.

We have two of main lines for the business (paid to our phone company). Correct me if I’m wrong, would they then forward calls to these numbers onto our voip system? I can confirm these with them.

I’ll go ahead and install the FreePBX distro in the next couple of days. Once done, would it be just a case for copying the current settings (extensions, trunks etc) from Elastix?

Will I need to reconfigure any/all settings again once we physically move locations?

Regards
P.

Well, the easiest thing to do would be to get those numbers ported directly to SipStation (again, they are the ones who actually pay my wages, so I am slightly biased :sunglasses: and you don’t need to worry about forwarding or anything.

The only outage you would have would be in the cutover. But… that’s nothing to do with me, and you should be speaking to the guys at SipStation who will be able to sort you out.

For the settings, yes, just copy them. You’ll find a lot of new stuff, but all the common things are still there. With changing location, the only thing you may need to do is change your NAT settings (which is a matter of clicking a button in the SIP Settings module)

Just to add to Rob’s excellent advice, you will also need to reconfigure your phones, if that was done manually, then you will have to redo them manually. If they are currently “provisioned” by your old box then you will need to modify/replace the files in /tftpboot and have them get their stuff from the new server’s tftpd/https/http/ftp server

Proof of that possible problem would be for you to post the issue of

ls -l /tftpboot

on your old server, if that is a yes, then paste one of those *.cfg or whatever, configuration files, obfuscating as necessary

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All good advice.

If you are curious how your old system talks to the world, the information is available from the Elastix server itself. Check in your trunk configuration. There, you should see how you are connected to the outside world.

There is no absolute when it comes to using a VOIP provider. You can use a T1 or PRI provider (the local telco, the Competitive or Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers, for example) or use VOIP. Personally, unless you are unhappy with your current telco (VOIP or *LEC), I’d look for ways to stay.

Before you start porting numbers to a new provider, I’d contact your old one first. I’ve lost lots of good customers that really liked my service to shady suggestions that “you have to switch for “such-and-such” to work”. If they (your current provider) is working for you, stay with them. They should be willing to help you with your transition.

In FreePBX, there are “bulk” import mechanisms that you can use to set up all of the extensions in your system. This way, you can set everything up in a spreadsheet, double check it all with your (internal) customers, and have a plan in place. Don’t underestimate the value of showing your co-workers that not only are you on top of it, but you have a plan and that you could even be giving them new capabilities they never had before. The less stressed Bob in Accounting is, the less likely he is to freak out for no reason. Everyone likes it when we can keep Bob from freaking out.

Post back any lessons learned - while it might seem a trivial thing, letting others know that you’ve done it can be a big help.

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