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Setting up a small office or home office VOIP system with Asterisk PBX – Part 1

December 10, 2010

By Matt Mombrea
4 Comments

It used to be that having a phone system in your office that consisted of multiple extensions, phone numbers, and digital receptionists was a massively complex and expensive project. In fact, most offices still operate on those types of analog systems which quickly become a nightmare to maintain. With an analog phone system, every phone extension requires its own separate phone line run to its destination. This is probably in addition to a data line and maybe another phone port or two; it adds up in a hurry.

If you’ve worked in IT at a small to medium company, you’ve likely seen patch panels similar to this:
Wire mess

Our company recently moved out of an office where we were running a hosted VOIP solution attached to a slow DSL that was our only option for data. The system was set up by a full service voip operation who managed everything. The system was cumbersome and at around $500/month, expensive, but it worked. We’ve since moved to a new office, and this time I had full control over what services went into it and how the network was structured.

The space came pre-wired for a full analog phone system, which made it tempting to just use it, but knowing the potential cost savings with an in-house voip system I decided to venture in that direction. It also didn’t hurt that we had plenty of Mitel 5224 VOIP phones left over from the old office, which saved us a significant amount of money out of the gate. The first step was to figure out what exactly I needed to make this work on my own. I knew some of the basics, but being new to this I was unsure of which components were mandatory for the set of features we require.

The features that we need:

  • N number of extensions
  • A Digital Receptionist / IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system
  • Direct dialing to extensions
  • Voice mail
  • Dial Groups
  • Follow-Me
  • Multiple phone numbers
  • Inbound call routing
  • Caller ID Manipulation
  • Call Waiting
  • Call Transfers
  • Conferencing
  • Fax

Pretty standard stuff for an office.

In Part 2 of this series I’ll detail the network components, the network layout, the software chosen, and the initial set up of the system. Until then, have a look at the website http://www.voip-info.org which has a wealth of knowledge about PBX and VOIP.

Continue to Part II …

Matt Mombrea

Matt Mombrea

Matt is a longtime entrepreneur and software engineer. He also sits on the board of Computer Science at SUNY Fredonia. Born and raised in Buffalo, Matt is passionate about building and maintaining great businesses in Buffalo. Apart from leading Cypress North, Matt architects our company’s datacenter, engineers dozens of custom applications, and directs the rest of the development team.

See Matt's Most Recent Posts

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4 comments

Setting up a small office or home office VOIP system with Asterisk PBX – Part 2 | Cypress North Blog December 16, 2010Reply

[…] part one of this series on setting up a SOHO Voip solution, I detailed the requirements that we had for […]

Setting up a small office or home office VOIP system with Asterisk PBX – Part 3 | Cypress North Blog July 11, 2011Reply

[…] sure to check out parts one and two of this […]

Rex Ryan August 6, 2011Reply

Just want to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in your post is just great and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the enjoyable work.

My experience with Asterisk/FreePBX and Broadvoice « tralce.com/blog April 22, 2014Reply

[…] early on, I happened upon this guide, which pointed me in the right direction. The guide is fairly outdated now, but I knew there […]

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