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cheapsob
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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 10:51 am    Post subject: PBX hardware setup Reply with quote Back to top

Hello all. New to the forum.

I have been using Vonage for about 2 years now in combination with ureach.com's call forwarding features on 7 Vonage phone #'s to run a low-budget small business.

We need to stick with Voip for the cost savings, but do wish to switch to a PBX system for better call handling and forwarding ability, rather than just using ureach.com and Vonage's call hunt features to route phone calls.

Can anyone recommend Vonage-Friendly hardware and some instructions/advice on the proper setup of a PBX run with 7 Vonage lines for incoming calls???

Most calls come in via ureach.com Toll Free #, then routed to our individual Vonage lines via Call Hunt.

Thank you in advance for your help!

-Scott
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VonageTPA
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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

How many extensions are you going to need and are you still going to need to have 7 lines after getting the PBX? Depending on the nature of the business, I've seen 7 lines serve 7-100 employees (and extensions.)

_________________
ISP: Varies depending where I'm at.
Vonage: Linksys RTP300
Router: IPCop 1.4.10
Phones: various
Total calls since Jul 24, 2005: 4,794 calls
Total Minutes since Jul 24, 2005: 25,552 minutes
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cheapsob
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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Thank you for the reply TPA.

I am unfamiliar with how a PBX functions, thus my ignorance on this post.

I need 7-10 extensions. Each needs to be able to receive incoming and be able to make outgoing calls. Of course, all 7-10 should be able to function simultaneously.

If you are saying the PBX will allow me to drop phone lines, and save me even more money, yet still provide the functionality of 7-10 working incoming and outgoing simultaneous phone lines, please elaborate.

Your assistance is appreciated. Thank you.

-Scott
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VonageTPA
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

cheapsob wrote:
Thank you for the reply TPA.

I am unfamiliar with how a PBX functions, thus my ignorance on this post.

I need 7-10 extensions. Each needs to be able to receive incoming and be able to make outgoing calls. Of course, all 7-10 should be able to function simultaneously.


You'll need one line per simultaneous external call. The # of lines really depends on the nature of the business and how often they'll be on the phone. You'll have to be the judge as to how many lines you'll need... BUT, however many you choose, make sure your phone system has the capacity for more in case you need more in the future. You'd much rather buy ONE phone system than one now & have to ditch it and start all over when you max it out.

I've had good luck with the Panasonic KX-TD/KX-TA systems, 'though I see they're starting to discontinue these and are pushing their larger systems, which is a shame--these were great home/soho systems. Given the number of systems out in the field, parts should be readily available for some time. Used Northern Telecom / Nortel and used AT&T/Lucent/Avaya systems would also be worth looking into.

If you're looking for something a bit more advanced, you might want to give some of the IP PBXs a try. These can be the cheapest per station and give you amazing flexibility and expandability, BUT, these can be difficult to configure for the uninitiated. Some of the smaller systems are plug & play, BUT, most of these are aimed at 4 lines or less. These are normally designed to work with a true Voip provider, which Vonage isn't, as they won't let you bring your own equipment, but you can get analog gateways (FXOs) that you can hook up your Vonage adapters to convert the Vonage lines to standard Voip lines that the system can use. This is a pet peeve of mine, as you're basically doing an additional conversion by doing this. Some other Voip providers give you the configuration info so you can just get the PBX (or install one to an older computer if using a software-based one like Asterisk), feed it the config info, and you're up & running... but not so with Vonage. <sigh>

While you've not mentioned what type of business this is, I'd imagine two features of a PBX that you'd appreciate are an IVR/Automated attendant and proper ring groups. IVR usually includes voice mail, and can automatically answer the phone & route calls to various people/departments. The ring groups would allow you to configure which extensions will ring when certain incoming lines ring. No more running around the office trying to find which phone is ringing.

If you have that many phone lines, I'd definitely recommend a PBX, but keep in mind that these systems usually aren't plug & play and do require some installation and wiring, in addition to programming. Some phone systems DON'T come with the programming manuals, as they're meant to be sold through dealers.

_________________
ISP: Varies depending where I'm at.
Vonage: Linksys RTP300
Router: IPCop 1.4.10
Phones: various
Total calls since Jul 24, 2005: 4,794 calls
Total Minutes since Jul 24, 2005: 25,552 minutes
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