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Author Topic: Need help in speccing out a small business setup  (Read 2515 times)
Aegis
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« on: January 08, 2016, 04:44:37 am »

Hi! I've been asked by a friend to come up with a small business telephony solution and I'm thinking the OBi110 might come in handy here.

He has a single POTS landline that he wants connected to 4 cordless handsets, each one being a separate extension number. VOIP calling/receiving isn't important to him (yet anyway) - just the ability to make, receive and direct calls to specific handsets.

Can anyone offer me some advice on the simplest and cheapest way I could go about doing this? I'm in the UK btw.

Thank you!
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Lavarock7
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2016, 06:41:23 am »

There is a slight problem with your friends request. He has 4 cordless phones but I suspect they all connect to one base station. That means they are all the same phone, so to speak.

If they happen to be 2-line phones then that makes it a bit easier but you woudl still have 2 base stations then.

Let's eliminate the cordless phones for the moment, or assume each has its own base station:

If it were me, I would set up an account at Voip.Ms, test things and then port the number to them. They have UK servers.

I would get two Obi202 because each one has 2 phone ports.

Then I would configure 4 subaccounts (extensions) on Voip.Ms, each one with its own voicemail and failover, etc. I would assign each to have the same CallerId for outbound calls.

Then I would create a recording, "Thank you for calling the XYZ Company. If you know the extension... enter it, otherwise press 101 for Joe, 102 for Sam, etc"

I would then create the Digital Receptionist (IVR), attach it to the incoming line and fan the results out to the appropriate extension.

If desired, you can have the unanswered calls go to an "operator" extension prior to voicemail, etc.

Each person has the ability to call out or receive calls simultaneously. All calls to customers show the same number is calling. Inbound calls get routed as the customer wishes. Each worker has his own voicemail.

The cost is 2 Obis and a few dollars a month for the phone number to be at Voip.Ms.

A slightly more expensive proposition (not cordless) is using IP phones that have adaptaer built it, or Obi1xxx type IP phones with multiple line buttons so any worker could pick up someone elses call if necessary.

With a single base station and 4 phones that are essentially extensions off that one phone number, only 1 call in or out can be done at the same time. Usually you can transfer a call to another handset, but no one else would be able to make or receive a call with that type of setup. I assume that is not your goal, thus re-thinking the type of phones in use.
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drgeoff
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2016, 08:39:48 am »

He has a single POTS landline that he wants connected to 4 cordless handsets, each one being a separate extension number. VOIP calling/receiving isn't important to him (yet anyway) - just the ability to make, receive and direct calls to specific handsets.
Most DECT systems available in the UK will enable:

1.  Any one of the handsets to make an external call on the PSTN line.

2.  Any one of the handsets to make an internal call to any of the other handsets which are not in use.

3.  An external call received on the PSTN line to ring all the handsets and be answered by any of them.

4. Combinations of 1, 2 and 3 above.  ie one handset on an external call and two others on an internal call.

5.  An answered external call to be transferred to another extension, either directly or after the caller has been placed on hold and the first handset user has spoken to the second handset user.

Some incorporate an answering machine.

An OBi110 using only its PSTN connection, ie no VoIP, will not bring any significant benefit.  It is unable to separately 'address' multiple handsets on one DECT base station or multiple corded phones.
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Aegis
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2016, 09:01:36 am »

Thank you both for your thoughts on this! Kinda new to the whole thing (though not tech/tinkering in general) so I've got some learning/experimenting to do Smiley

Oh, and he hasn't bought any kit yet - this is hypothetical at the moment. He does have one (old) corded phone and another newer cordless handset but you can't isolate the call on them - people are always picking up/dialling on one handset whilst the other's in use (not very professional).

I'd like to put together a basic setup that addresses his immediate needs but also has the potential to grow (i.e. using VOIP, possibly allowing employees to use their mobile phones with the system and whatever else might be useful).
« Last Edit: January 08, 2016, 09:11:32 am by Aegis » Logged
drgeoff
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2016, 10:53:18 am »

Possibly over your head at the moment.

1.  An Asterisk server. (A digital PBX)

2.  An Obi110

3.  IP phones implemented as any mix of:

  3.1 IP phone instruments
  3.2 Ordinary analogue phones connected to ATAs such as OBis
  3.3 Softphone clients running on PCs
  3.4 Softphone clients running on Wi-Fi connected smartphones

will give all the requested features.  The Asterisk server can be configured to autoanswer incoming calls and prompt for user input to select a desired extension.

The OBi110 will interface the PSTN to Asterisk and provide one external line.  VoIP SIP providers can be added as and when more external lines are required.  The number of internal extensions and the number of simultaneous internal calls is not limited in the way that it is with a DECT base and extensions.

However all of that is not something you can put together in a couple of evenings.  Plus, when a business is depending on its phone service, you need to consider very carefully all the reliability and service restoration issues .

« Last Edit: January 08, 2016, 10:57:06 am by drgeoff » Logged
Aegis
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Posts: 5


« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2016, 01:41:11 pm »

Thanks drgeoff - and yes - I had started investigating Asterisk and FreePBX. As you say though, not something that can be knocked together in an evening - luckily there's no real time pressure here though.

Since I maintain their PCs/network it makes sense for me to do this for them too (more work for me as well Wink)
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SteveInWA
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Posts: 4291



« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2016, 05:23:47 pm »

There is a slight problem with your friends request. He has 4 cordless phones but I suspect they all connect to one base station. That means they are all the same phone, so to speak.

If they happen to be 2-line phones then that makes it a bit easier but you woudl still have 2 base stations then.

Let's eliminate the cordless phones for the moment, or assume each has its own base station:

If it were me, I would set up an account at Voip.Ms, test things and then port the number to them. They have UK servers.

I would get two Obi202 because each one has 2 phone ports.

Then I would configure 4 subaccounts (extensions) on Voip.Ms, each one with its own voicemail and failover, etc. I would assign each to have the same CallerId for outbound calls.

Then I would create a recording, "Thank you for calling the XYZ Company. If you know the extension... enter it, otherwise press 101 for Joe, 102 for Sam, etc"

I would then create the Digital Receptionist (IVR), attach it to the incoming line and fan the results out to the appropriate extension.

If desired, you can have the unanswered calls go to an "operator" extension prior to voicemail, etc.

Each person has the ability to call out or receive calls simultaneously. All calls to customers show the same number is calling. Inbound calls get routed as the customer wishes. Each worker has his own voicemail.

The cost is 2 Obis and a few dollars a month for the phone number to be at Voip.Ms.

A slightly more expensive proposition (not cordless) is using IP phones that have adaptaer built it, or Obi1xxx type IP phones with multiple line buttons so any worker could pick up someone elses call if necessary.

With a single base station and 4 phones that are essentially extensions off that one phone number, only 1 call in or out can be done at the same time. Usually you can transfer a call to another handset, but no one else would be able to make or receive a call with that type of setup. I assume that is not your goal, thus re-thinking the type of phones in use.

+1 to this excellent description.

Leveraging cloud-based telephony is the easier, more-reliable and robust solution for business telephony vs. trying to set up your own PBX.
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Aegis
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Posts: 5


« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2016, 12:25:59 am »

Thanks for all your suggestions! I think I'll pick up a single OBi202 for tinkering/getting the ball rolling - I'll probably be back asking all kinds of questions soon Cheesy

*Edit* I will ask - what do you think is an acceptable data-rate for VOIP? (and for the setup described by Lavarock) - they're currently on DSL and getting around 3 Mbps - would this work or is it too slow? Thanks!
« Last Edit: January 10, 2016, 12:29:38 am by Aegis » Logged
drgeoff
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Posts: 3114


« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2016, 02:11:56 am »

VoIP typically uses the telco standard 64 kbit/s codec so with IP overheads etc around 100 kbit/s per simultaneous call is required. But:

1. that is required in each direction and DSL usually has a much lower outgoing speed than the incoming one. What is the 3 Mbit/s you mention?

2. VoIP does not tolerate packet delay in the same way as browsing or file downloading. If a low speed link is also being used for non-VoIP services, choppy audio is very likely. Enabling QoS can help but is not a sure-fire solution.

3. With any 'cloud' architecture even the internal calls between extensions may need to traverse the connection to the internet. That is 200 kbit/s in each direction per call.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2016, 02:41:12 am by drgeoff » Logged
Aegis
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Posts: 5


« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2016, 01:18:59 am »

3 Mbps is the downstream, upstream is around .8 Mbps - the internet will be in use for light browsing and some occasional streaming too (music/videos). Unfortunately there's no way to speed this up either (getting fibre laid would cost thousands that the company doesn't have).

Sounds like I'd be pushing it to use VOIP at all? Sad
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ianobi
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Posts: 1828


« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2016, 03:22:58 am »

Try running this free test from a pc, no voip equipment is needed:

https://www.8x8.co.uk/my-8x8/resources/tools/voip-test

It takes a few minutes, wait for the summary screen to appear. If you MoS is 4 or above, then you should be ok.

If streaming causes problems to the voip, then you may have to look at QoS "Quality of Service" settings in the router to give voip priority.

Before you buy any voip equipment, you can test voip quality using a free softphone on a pc with a reasonable speakers / mic / headphones combination. Some voip providers allow free accounts (e.g. sip2sip) and you can use their test numbers to assess quality.
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