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

By Matt Mombrea

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 with a whole bunch of wires everywhere.

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 which has a wealth of knowledge about PBX and VOIP.

Continue to Part II ...

Categories: Uncategorized
By Matt Mombrea


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

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

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    Rex Ryan August 6, 2011

    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.

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    My experience with Asterisk/FreePBX and Broadvoice « April 22, 2014

    […] 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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Meet the Author

CTO / Partner

Matthew Mombrea

Matt is our Chief Technology Officer and one of the founders of our agency. He started Cypress North in 2010 with Greg Finn, and now leads our Buffalo office. As the head of our development team, Matt oversees all of our technical strategy and software and systems design efforts.

With more than 19 years of software engineering experience, Matt has the knowledge and expertise to help our clients find solutions that will solve their problems and help them reach their goals. He is dedicated to doing things the right way and finding the right custom solution for each client, all while accounting for long-term maintainability and technical debt.

Matt is a Buffalo native and graduated from St. Bonaventure University, where he studied computer science.

When he’s not at work, Matt enjoys spending time with his kids and his dog. He also likes to golf, snowboard, and roast coffee.