Remote Extensions

Hey all, FreePBX Noob here.

I’ve got 2 systems - One’s a demonstration system with 8 Cisco 8841s I set up at the Career Tech Center I’m a student at, and the other’s being utilized for my job. We’re a business with a few remote offices and we’d like to interconnect them using means other than SMS or Facebook Messenger. The original plans are a central FreePBX Server at my office, a phone at my office, another at the main store, and a third phone at the office across town. The phones are going to be Cisco SPA504Gs. I can set up a extension within the office in my sleep, but what I’m struggling with is how to set up an extension to work from outside the network. I’ve had a ton of conflicting things told to me, so what’re the best ways to go about this? We’re also going to be adding softphones in the future, but if they’re of the same set of instructions as the Cisco phones, then that won’t be much of a problem.

Lots of options, but generally you need to use a VPN, on the phones or on the network.

Bonus, here is how to connect two boxes together:

Be prepared for a lot of recommendations from here too. :slight_smile:

You’ve got several choices when it comes to registering remote phones. To be honest, going with a phone that does VPN internally is probably the easiest. Some of the Sangoma phones do that and are supported by the integrated VPN in the Distro. I’ve got zero experience with SPA phones on the OpenVPN that comes with FreePBX, so they might work, but there are other options that will get better support in this community.

Of course, a lot depends on a lot of stuff. It the IP addresses the phones pick up change from time to time, you’ll definitely need something with a VPN built it. The Adaptive Firewall component of the system can make your connections work, but it will invite a lot of script kiddie activity that drive some people nuts.

Setting up your phone system in the cloud might be a good choice for you. That way, everyone VPNs into the system, even if their addresses never change.

There are lot of things that are going to be interesting for you. If you are set on having a local machine, get your local phone working and get outbound calling working. Set up your firewall to allow calling in from a remote IP address and set up a soft phone on your cell and use 4G to connect (so the IP is outside your local network) and test with that. Once you’ve got a feel for the hurdles involved, you can get the rest of your installs done relatively easily.

I have my machine set up for on-premise hosting, would I able to convert it to cloud without having to completely reset it or pay for an upgrade?

  1. Man, those are not nice phones to work with, every little thing is a reboot. So many better choices.
  2. Use TLS & SRTP

I’ll bow out of the rest of this conversation.

Note that I prefer on-premise hosting, but with your installation being so small and already dispersed to three locations, there might be a case for going to the cloud. Other than that and the advantages of virtualization, no, there should be any real difference.

@sorvani brings up a good point with TLS and SRTP. You’ll probably want to make sure that you are using a secure transport layer, so you can either go with a VPN or use TLS. I don’t have a dog in that particular technical hunt. It might be something worth looking into though.

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