Replacing Alcatel 4400


I’m not sure if this is in the correct section or not, please move if not.

I have spent the last year setting up two FreePBX servers in a highly redundant topology - All works well and both are connected to our aging Alcatel 4400 PBX.

Our Alcatel system will be 20yrs old next year and it’s becoming a constant menace to keep running. Cards are now non-existent and our supplier is now eBay!

My next project is to look for a replacement to the Alcatel but still keeping our 450 copper based extensions

Can anyone give any advice on anything that could allow me to use FreePBX as a direct replacement or will I need to do a like-for-like replacement with the Alcatel to keep the copper extensions?

I would go for audiocodes 24 port FXS gateways with asterisk, gateways are not cheap but you can pick up second user units in quantity at quite reasonable prices on ebay.

Grandstream also makes some 16/24/32/48 port FXO gateways. We use their smaller 4 and 8 port models with AsteriskNOW/FreePBX and they work just fine.

As stonet points out, though… not cheap.

Eric /

On second thought…

My next project is to look for
a replacement to the Alcatel
but still keeping our 450
copper based extensions

Do you mean that you have 450 analog telephones that you want to connect, or that you have 450 phone lines connecting you to the PSTN?

The Grandstream (and presumably Audiocodes, though I don’t know about them specifically) are FXO gateways and connect you to individual PSTN connections. If you want to connect lots of analog phones, you’ll need an FXS gateway. Grandstream does have the GXW4024 FXS gateway that’s good for 24 phones / fax machines / modems / etc.


Hi Frankly while both of these are good solutions they don’t scale well to 450 extensions.

Realize the this is almost a DS-3 worth of DS-0’s and let me tell you, done right Asterisk is up to the task.

This is also an area that I have a tremendous experience having replaced 1000’s of stations at hotel’s, nursing facilities, schools etc. The key is to use channel banks to connect the extensions and DS-1 (T1) cards in the PBX.

You can certainly use Digium or Sangoma cards but I like to take it one step further and use a Cisco router with voice T1 cards so that you can have redundant Asterisk/FreePBX boxes in front of them.

Asterisk/FreePBX + T1 + Channel Banks is the best solution.

Let me know if you are looking for a business partner on the project.

Check out Xorcom Astribank

Many Thanks for all the replies - Very informative!

To clarify things - This would be to connect upto 450 existing copper based internal extensions not PSTN lines so an FXS gateway would be required. Due to our site layout, conditions and factors outwith my control it is not possible to replace these with IP handsets so the copper has to stay for now.

at the moment our 2 Freepbx servers are connected to the Alcatel via Sangoma E1 cards via cisco routers, presumably these could be used with channel-banks?

We have 1 primary and 1 secondary freepbx server. The primary doing all the work with everything set to failover to the secondary if there is a problem - The cisco routers are also redundant to each other leaving no single point of failure.

You’ve all given me some excellent info to get on with - I’ll start investigating and will post back if i have any queries!

It would be most interesting to read a “progress report” of this migration project (difficulties encountered, lessons learned etc).

I’d also appreciate SkykingOH’s analysis behind his recommendation of traditional channelbanks (afaik only Adtran and CAC/Force10 are still offering such products) vs the seemingly much more popular standalone VoIP gateways / FXS-to-SIP “port servers” which are currently offered by a dozen different manufacturers.

Edit: Add Rhino CB24 and Xorcom Astribanks to the channelbank category, but still …

Those are the only Channel Banks made today, amazing.

They must be getting very expensive.

This is a hard call. I don’t know what Cisco boxes you have and your DSP inventory.

I don’t have an aversion to used gear as I am installing it as part of a service. There are so many Carrier Access ADIT 600 boxes on the secondary market sub $100 and a 2611 router and enough DSP’s for 144 + concurrent calls are sub $200 it’s a compelling solution. Nothing else offers redundant PS’s and carrier class quality.