Paging group not working for some speakers

I am new to my job at a school where we are running FreePBX 15.0.17.43. We use the Paging Groups feature to do announcements through phone speakers in classrooms and offices and via dedicated speakers in hallways.

We recently installed some new hallway speakers. We can page them directly, and they work fine for smaller paging groups, but they fail to sound when we do an “all call” which pages all the phones and speakers in the school. There are currently 163 devices in our all call paging group.

Any ideas why the new speakers are working with the smaller groups but not our all call paging group?

Thanks for any help!

Probably restricted resources, the bigger the page group the more threads are created, if your hardware supports it and you are well routed, look into using multicast paging , which is considerably less resource needy and one or 1000 speakers use the same amount.

1 Like

@dicko is right

More of an FYI, but the paging module uses a limitation on the number of pages you are allowed to run at a time. The default is 40. Dicko’s answer explains why.

The limitation number is found here:

Settings > Advanced Settings > Max Paging Participants

Does FreePBX do anything to handle large groups? If it just uses the Asterisk Page() application, it will be limited by the size limits on application data in dialplans. I think one would have to do a cascade with layers of local channels to allow for large numbers.

Not that it wouldn’t be great to load balance a high number of simultaneous pages, but with the existence of multicast, what would be the driving force to re-architecting asterisk to make that happen?

Bear in mind that you need IGMP routing from the server to all endpoints listening, this is unlikely if any are ‘remote’

At least for SIP, this would require cooperation from the phones and speakers, as they nominate the media address, so it is they that would have to specify a multicast address. The problem for Asterisk would be to know not to send multiple copies to the same address. (As already noted, you would need a sophisticated router configuration to get the multicast packets beyond the immediate broadcast area.)

It’s system dependent on how much resources you have, but pure SIP paging will break down with groups of more than a few dozen endpoints. The wiki page warns this, and the GUI max group size of 40 is deliberate. More than that you will want to use multicast, which can be done directly from FreePBX with paging pro.