small-office PBX Noobie help

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Deanster, Jul 30, 2004.

  1. Deanster

    Deanster Cheese?
    Millennium Member CLM

    Hi everyone!

    I'm a moderately experienced and technical guy, able to manage small networks just fine, and moving into Unix.

    I'm working in a new office, and on their list when we move to new space in a couple months is an upgrade to their PBX system. The existing system is a 'Starplus' system supporting 8 outside lines, internal intercom, and a ridiculous external voicemail system where you dial the phone company, punch in your 10-digit number, and get your mail.

    I've never worked with phone systems before, other than as a user, and the whole world of PBX is very new to me.

    I'd really appreciate your suggestions of where to start, and perhaps suggest a couple systems that might meet our fairly basic needs - I'd like to set up a system with one main number, with several inbound lines. I'd like a direct number for each employee and I'd like voicemail that runs more or less normally (where you just push a button on your phone to retrieve it).

    It'd be best if it didn't cost a mint, but we can spend as required to get something that works. My initial quote from a recommended vendor was for $9000, just for the hardware. Seems about 3x what I'd imagine was reasonable.

    Thanks in advance.

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  2. grantglock

    grantglock /dev/null

    I manage a 3com NBX system here at our office. It's pretty cheap for what you get. Plus it uses existing Cat 5 cable for your PC's.

  3. NetNinja

    NetNinja Always Faithful

    Ahh wellcome to the world of PBX's

    I managed a North Star system once. 300 + phones.

    The components were expesive as hell. I was very supprised to realize that the system was actually a 486 computer running the whole show.

    The manual was very terse and I knew a company that specialized in Phone systems give me free tech help whenever I needed it.
    They did about $300.00 in work for us so the tech dude gave me his direct #.

    As far as having a basic 1 touch button to retrieve voice mail. I would opt not to have that feature.
    The reason is you don't want everybody in the company able to retrieve eveyones voice mail.

    The only person that should be able to retrieve voicemail is the user and the PBX admin. If there is ever a falling out or an investigation the first word out of your mouth should not be "Uhh everybody can access each others voice mail") That may be a CLE for you.
    Career Limiting Event

    The only advise I can give you is make sure you can grow with the system. Check to see how expensive the upgrade path is. i.e. additional phones, Fax capabilities, call forwarding and text messaging.

    If the phone system comes with a good manual you should have no problems whatsoever configuring your PBX system.

    Other than that, GOOGLE it.
  4. grantglock

    grantglock /dev/null

    Deanster, where are you from? The company I work for sells and installs Avaya phone systems in Iowa.
  5. If you're starting fresh, there's an open source PBX called Asterisk. I've heard great things about it from my landlord/old-coworker who works at a hardware company (*cough*Intel*cough*)

    Also check out Vocal at Same sort of idea, but uses VOIP only.
  6. As an aside, I am currently using a Panasonic KX-TD1232. We got set up for $5k for about 25 users. It will support up to 64 users, using proprietary & non-proprietary (analog) phones. I went to this, from a "soft-pbx" because I used to work for Interactive Intelligence and we used our product in-house.

    The "soft" pbx is a lot nicer, and expandable, when compared to a "hard" pbx, like the panasonic. Again, just my $0.02

  7. NetNinja

    NetNinja Always Faithful

    I have been to both Asteriak and Vovida.

    I have yet to see any pictures or real world deployment of these products. Yeah you read about them but how much are they really using them

    I would love to run Asterisk but building/troubleshooting and configuring and Troubleshooting and configuring, did I mention troubleshooting?

    I would love to see a whole package with some documentation that would take you through the whole process.

    So for instance my first question would be.

    I have a 25 user office what would I need in terms of hardware to run my office effectively?

    Maybe I will give digium a call.
  8. Deanster

    Deanster Cheese?
    Millennium Member CLM

    Thanks, guys - I'm checking most of these out...

    The only one that looks good that hasn't come up here is 'TalkSwitch'... I've had it recommended by severl others, and it looks decent and reasonaly priced (if not exactly cheap). Anyone tried it?

    I'm also a fan of 'soft' PBX... it's not so great to pay $250 to put a basic phone in the waiting area.

  9. NetNinja

    NetNinja Always Faithful

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