Is This Possible?

Discussion in '3CX Phone System - General' started by markwalsham, Mar 14, 2010.

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  1. markwalsham

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    Hi everyone,

    Hope your all well. Let me first say that I am very very new to telephony, although have had extensive experience of Windows Workstation and Server installs and configurations. I have a part-time role at my local school, where I help out with their IT etc. They run an fairly old PBX system, with two analogue lines. Typical for a school, they have wired Ethernet in all rooms locations.

    The problem is this. The school lines (one incoming and two outgoing) get very congested on a regular basis, with people calling in to notify of absences and general questions.

    I can see that some form of IP based phone system and server controlled telephony solution, with something like Automatic Attendant with Voicemail seems to be an ideal solution. A recommendation was made of 3CX for this purpose.

    What I am asking, basically, is what exactly do I need to do a very modest install to handle incoming, outgoing and voicemail, with a simple IP phone implementation?

    I have a tight (nearly non-existent) budget.

    I am guessing, I will need:-

    1. Server Hardware - A machine capable of running Win2k3 Server (or higher).
    2. Ethernet interface.
    3. Analogue to IP Interface Card (?)
    4. 3CX Software.
    5. Standards Based IP phones (Patton units?)
    6. Analogue Phone Lines.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated and if you require any more detail, please let me know. As stated above, this is all very very new to me, and want to get a sense of how much I can do DIY.

    Cheers, Mark.
     
  2. leejor

    leejor Well-Known Member

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    If you have DTMF analogue phones then you don't have to replace them with VoIP phones if you don't want to. You can purchase ATA's (analog telephone adapters) that would be located where your current PBX is. This may work out a bit cheaper and there would be less risk of damage or theft of a VoIP phone in an unsecured area. You could install a few VoIP phones in the main office areas. You would also have to buy a gateway to convert the current analog phone lines to VoIP to bring into 3CX as trunks. Since your lines sound quite busy it would probably be best to get a four line gateway to allow for any future expansion.
    So...
    Computer to run 3CX (even a small Atom based system would work in your situation) Win XP-pro/Win7(NOT home or starter)
    Four port Gateway (for incoming telephone lines)
    ATA(s) with enough ports (one for each set)
    3CX software
    Small switch (to connect all of the Ethernet devices together)
    small UPS (to keep the system up during short power outages)

    If the school has a high speed internet connection already then you might want to look at (the price) of going with a VoIP provider in your area. That would eliminate the Gateway. You may still want an analog line if the school has a fax machine or alarm system.
     
  3. markwalsham

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    Thanks for the reply. Can I just clarify something? I appreciate this is simple stuff, just want to fully understand the architecture before I go head first!

    So, the main analogue line in, will need to go through a gateway. Is this an appliance, or is it an expansion card that I need to add to the PC running 3CX?

    Also, how does this gateway split the line so that I can say have 4 lines from one physical inbound line? Is this how it works?

    I understand the concept of the ATA's, which in this case would make sense also, as does the UPS and switch, and good call on the other outside lines for alarms and fax. I presume that I only connect the candidate lines to the gateway (to allow 3CX to manage) and leave the others well alone?

    I clearly am showing my lack of knowledge on telephony!

    I am happy building a PC with 3CX, it's just the gateway I am not sure of!

    Thanks, Mark.
     
  4. jelliott52

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    Hi Mark,
    A gateway is basically an analog voice to Ethernet voice converter. A gateway is 1- telephone line to 1 - port on the gateway. If you have only one telephone line for outbound calling then you can only make one call. You can get an one from Grandstream or Linksys, the part number for Grandstream is GXW-4104, they are all over the internet. If I where you I would view all of the video's that 3CX has and read there manual cover to cover.

    Jay
     
  5. mfm

    mfm Active Member

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    Our supported gateways can be easily configured using our step by step guides. Most of the work is done for you to get you up and running, each gateway differs, the Grandstream is a good place to start. Pattons are extremely reliable but also expensive so it might not git into your tight budget.Only 1 call can pass trough a line whether it is incoming or outgoing, multiple lines must be passed from pattons to PSTN extensions.

    This diagram might visually aid you in understanding.

    http://www.dceexpress.com/Images/Patton_4520_appa.jpg
     
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  6. leejor

    leejor Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. The only lines that have to go through the Gateway are the ones that you wish to make or receive voice calls on. As I said, if the school already has a high speed internet link, and it's reliable, then I would seriously investigate the cost of (eventually) converting to a VoIP provider that allows the use of devices (a Gateway) other than the ones that they provide. You might find that you are able to add a few more trunks for less than you are paying now.
     
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