This may be a long read as I explain myself but I hope that you can offer some guidance. I’ve spent a few days inundating myself with telephony solutions and the options are a bit overwhelming. I usually do my research myself but need a few pointers on the process.
I’ve been tasked with finding an upgrade route of the current phone system while maintaining functionality. The office I am in supports 15 extensions (employees) on 5 trunks. We have a single analog phone line/number that customers/clients dial to reach the office (Line1). If that number is in use the telco automatically rings the next Line2-5 until it reaches a free number on the system. Outgoing calls are handled in the reverse order. User picks up the phone and gets a dial tone on Line5 and working itself to Line4 etc.
Our receptionist answers the phone if she is available and directs the call. If she isn’t available or is on the line, the caller is directed to a virtual-receptionist/dial-prompt.
Our office would like to be the model for the other offices in the company. I would like to find a solution to our setup that could then be implemented (in the future) into other offices while linking services, inter-office calling, uniform extensions, and servers to provide a unified experience.
Can I use FreePBX to make the switch? It is important to keep ‘Line1’ phone number as it has been the business number for decades.
Can this number be switched to a SIP/DID provider or. . .
Will it be possible to only keep Line1 while switching all other trunks to SIP? IE: will FreePBX switch to a SIP trunk once connected to free up Line1 for another incoming call?
I’ve read that for a company that relies on phone connectivity that cloud pbx solutions aren’t quite up to par on service and support. We would consider this route but prefer the long term cost savings of having a ‘simple’ FreePBX server w/SIP phones.
Thanks for the help!
From a use perspective, it’s absolutely possible to get a 5-port analog trunk, setup the 15 extensions and use it that way, but here’s what you might encounter:
- A little trouble (manual config) setting up the analog gateway
- Less real trunking functionality
Here’s what I recommend. It’s different layout - I hope no one gets offended I’m recommending a service provider - but it’s tried and true from a consulting perspective:
- Make an account on flowroute.com. Check the pricing to see if it’s ideal for you.
- Port your numbers from the PSTN services to flowroute
- Once ported, you can use those numbers from flowroute using a standard SIP trunk, with unlimited concurrent calls
- you also get awesome hand-holding through the process from their support
Again, I know this is an alternative option, but from my perspective you get more support for a small business this way, than the original proposition.
Have a great one.
Also, some follow-up:
You would build freepbx into a hosted pbx (check out http://www.freepbxhosting.com/) or install your own using FreePBX Distro (http://schmoozecom.com/distro-download.php) on a simple pc with a dual core processor or better, and 1G RAM or more (pref 2GB).
From there, keep that behind your router or firewall… and let flowroute configure the trunk for you. All you would need to configure is the dial plan routing and extensions, for the most part.
Thanks for the quick response and explanations. I’m looking into flowroute as I type so thanks for the suggestion and hopefully with little blow-back to you. This is exactly why I asked though to get some suggestions on implementation. I would imagine to have some follow up questions. . .
Also, I already installed the FreePBX distro on an old PC to check out the interface. It’s a Pentium 4 with 1GB RAM so sounds like that won’t suffice for a full change over.
Just to be clear. Say we went to the hosting service at freepbxhosting and ported our current PSTN numbers to SIP at flowroute. In the future, our other offices could do the same using the same account? We could manage internal extensions and dialing plans for multiple offices? Each office would simple have SIP telephones connected to a switch connected to a suitable internet service?
Sometimes having a hosted provider and a trunking provider is more difficult to support.
We have been providing hosted solutions, including both FreePBX and PBXtended since the origination of the product. Please take a look at our solution:
Clink on the FreePBX hosting link in the upper right.
We can also arrange a free trial. Tell Ben in our office you saw our link on the FreePBX.org “hosting partners” page.
Happy - You can have as many DID’s as you wish on a trunk.
You can also run multiple offices off of one hosted server.
Depending on the size you can add geographic diversity with multiple servers and failover routes on the DID’s so if a connection is down at one office the calls can route to another (and even prefix the caller ID)
Thanks, I’ll give the office a call to discuss an all inclusive package.