FOOD FOR THOUGHT Seeking Mentor

GUMC-IT

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I'm posting in Trunks because it seems to me that's my first hurdle. So:

My church has a PBX that was donated and installed by the donor nine years ago. The donor has since moved on, leaving us with an unsupported system that no one has the expertise to maintain. We have two voice lines and one fax line, provided by Verizon. As far as I know, it is not VoIP. We have a separate line for internet service.

My goal is to replace the existing PBX with (probably) an RPi-based PIAF system. The information I've gone through so far is aimed at using Google Voice or another VoIP solution as the trunk--obviously, that's not our situation (at least, not yet...). I'm very comfortable with Linux and programming, so that's not an issue.

So, I'm looking for someone who can help me understand the relationship between where we are and what I need to do to plan the replacement.

FWIW, I'm in northern Virginia. Any and all assistance will be enormously appreciated.

- Jeff
 

atsak

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FYI - so you know lots of us here will give free advice if you just post the question of what you're looking to figure out . . . if you get Linux already I can't see why it would be hard to figure out in the public forum and maybe help some other people out?
 

GUMC-IT

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I guess that's just it--I'm trying to figure out where to start. So let's try this for a question: Given three lines from a carrier (in this case Verizon), how do those get translated into trunks for use with a PIAF platform? The idea is to replace the current PBX with PIAF.

I'm not at all opposed to keeping everything in the forum--just don't know what it takes to get a project like this defined.
 

rossiv

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I guess that's just it--I'm trying to figure out where to start. So let's try this for a question: Given three lines from a carrier (in this case Verizon), how do those get translated into trunks for use with a PIAF platform? The idea is to replace the current PBX with PIAF.
If those are POTS (plain old telephone service, copper, etc.) lines, then you will need something with an FXO port. I am partial to the Obi110 myself. I use it at my house and it works just fine going to TWC Digital Phone. I think that would be the most economical option compared to purchasing a FXO PCI/e card.

Basically, it would look like this:
Code:
Service from Verizon --> Demarc. Point (Phone Jack on Wall) --> OBi110 LINE port --> SIP (over network) --> PIAF
In that order for inbound, reverse that for outbound.
 

rossiv

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My goal is to replace the existing PBX with (probably) an RPi-based PIAF system.
FWIW, I'd fully recommend a BeagleBone Black over the Raspberry Pi. It's MUCH more powerful, and in my experience more reliable. I use one at home since about three/four months ago when the old P4 power hog that was running the phones decided to crap out. Has been running without a hitch even through power failures (comes back up 100%).
 

GUMC-IT

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So there would be an Obi110 for each of the 3 lines. OK, that explains how to get from the demarc to PIAF. Huge leap forward; thanks.

Next question: how would you go about providing 3 lines (2 voice, 1 fax) entirely through VoIP? What are some pros and cons of PIAF vs. buying VoIP service?
 

atsak

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The Grandstream Gateway will work fine for your application if you want to keep the regular local loop lines from Verizon. I have not personally used them (I use Sangoma Vega's which are a lot more money) but have always heard good things about them.

I would not recommend doing fax through VOIP it is a headache. If you require fax service still (it's 2014!) myfax offers a reasonable service and there are others you can scan and email to and receive faxes via email. Otherwise keep one of the lines out of the system and patch it directly to the fax machine if you still need that functionality.

After that it's basically a problem to figure out how to connect the actual phones to the system. If you have the old analog lines in the building and can't run CAT 5 for SIP phones, there are two options. One is to use ordinary analog phones and another FXS gateway, the other is to use a switch which can use the old two pair wires for data - I forget what these are called but can look for them if needed.
 

mainenotarynet

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OP stated what they have now, then in post 3 stated they wanted to know where to start. I think many are jumping the gun here, even though the OP says the info helps them.

May I suggest this:
Compare what you have NOW to what you need, to what you want. Meaning take inventory of what you have.
Some questions:
1. How many phones are in the building now, just Pastor's office and secretary or are there phones in other rooms too?
2. If you want to expand to have a phone in every room (sans the sanctuary) to provide the capability in the future of building wide paging.
3. Is the church used by other programs (e.g. an Adult Senior program, where a separate line for them only could come in handy.
4. What is your budget? This would have a major affect on what kind on equipment to purchase.
5. How many concurrent calls (on a busy day)
6. As stated is a FAX line used on an regular basis or just once in a blue moon. I have a Brother MFC9440CN (copy/Network scan/Network Print/Fax) and has an ATA for the fax line over VOIP. Just turn off error corection and mine works fine (for me not very often but at $1/mo for the 800# is not a budget killer.
7. What are your ultimate goals for the PBX (what would you like to accomplish?
8. Is the GUMC hell bent on keeping their POTS #s or are they willing to give them up to save $$ (usually business lines are costly per line). You may also be able to port the POTS lines to an ITSP such as Vitelity or Voip.ms so the POTS gateway would not be required.
9.Is there a CAT5 Data Drop in all rooms where you want a phone to be? If not is doing this (since you say you are their IT guy) cost prohibitive.
10. You say you have a separate Internet line. Is this DSL through Verizon or is it High speed Internet through say TWC, Cox, Comcast or another Cable provider? IMHO DSL is NOT highspeed internet as it is one step up from a 56k modem from back in the 80's and 90's. Cable internet is really what you need for this to be a quality connection especially if you want to tell Verizon to stuff it and go completely VOIP later on to save $$.

There are many factors to consider. These are but a few.

I think your starting place is not trunks, but paper planning as if this is a busy church a BBB may be under powered (although I use RentPBX and not a BBB so I should not compare here) RentPBX however is a monthly cost but if you buy a laptop or desktop specifically for this (or a RasPi or BBB) you could save even more in the long run.

Take some time to plan what you need then worry about the implementation.

Good Luck
 

GUMC-IT

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Take some time to plan what you need then worry about the implementation.

Good Luck
You're exactly right, Kevin. I'm in the very early exploratory phase; we haven't even established a project budget yet. But the answers in this thread so far have helped greatly to point me toward the information I need to gather. My major project last year was to design and install a new sound system for our 500-seat sanctuary--that started with a similar learning process. Unfortunately, when the building was constructed less than a decade ago, budget restrictions meant that some systems suffered. So we don't have building-wide Cat5, for example. Fortunately, I'm only trying to replace our existing PBX, not add lines, so (except for the nifty features available on SIP sets) we probably won't have to worry about cabling.

My next step: go through your list of questions and see where that puts me. Many thanks.

- Jeff
 

mainenotarynet

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Jeff; look above as when you were replying, I added another question (#10)

The size of your church sanctuary says a lot too. A BBB may be fine for a 'trial run', but I think that if you wanted to expand little by little mabe a Cat5 drop in one room a month over a longer period of time, you may want to consider a dedicated laptop or desktop in a closet (well ventilated of course) [maybe the room where your current PBX sits now] would be a better bet for the long haul. Again, you are just in the paper planning/exploritory phase now so now is the time to figure out the future in terms of expandability.

You see a trunk is a single spot for calls to come in or go out. But in a PBX and with a VOIP provider One trunk can handle more than one call at a time (called Channels) My VOIP.MS trunk for one of my businesses has a max of 10 channels (set by me) for a max of 10 concurrent calls over this one trunk (Number).

There is much to explore in PIAF and VOIP in general. Take your time and check with those that would actually use the system as to how tech savvy they are because there WILL be a learning curve between the phones they use now and any new phones you replace them with.

If looking at the Grandstream switch, consider Grandstream phones too (not pushing any brands jus look around these forums and you will find others, but...)

Secretary and Pastor GS GXP2140 (or 2160 but the 60 has 6 lines and 24 BLF keys that can't be expanded whereas the 2140 is only 4 lines [although in VOIP lines doesn't fit anymore] call them extensions instead) The 2140 can take the GXP2200 EXP expansion modules (up to 4 of them [each has 2 pages of 20 BLF keys for a total of 40 per)

Others can utilize a GXP1405 (2 Lines [read extensions] or a single extension using line 2 as a 2nd call appearance)

I got 2 2140's, 1 Exp module, and 4 1405's on ebay for around $400 (I have a name but will not broadcast it, I try not to advertise anyone)

Yes, Ebay may not be the best place and there certainly are others on this forum that offer equipment (just look around in here [Items for sale board] and you'll find some)

Anything else, just ask, PM or call me (see my website [just add .org to my username] for my phone #)

Hope this is enough food for thought for you :smile5:

Good Luck
 

GUMC-IT

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Yeah, baby! Now I'm drinkin' from the fire hose! ;-)

I'll let you know how my research goes. Thanks for all your help.
 

kcallis

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Yeah, baby! Now I'm drinkin' from the fire hose! ;-)

I'll let you know how my research goes. Thanks for all your help.
I think I'd like to hear that story; thanks.

The setup that I put in place for a 40 unit motel was the following:

Grandstream 4104 FXO Gateway
Grandstream 4248 FXS Gateway
Zotac dual core Atom machine

Th going price for the 4104 is approximately $200, and although it requires a little tweaking (there are a couple of guides on the net, including the forums at freepbx.org), it works quite nicely. The FXS gateway was initially a little more problematic, but once I purchased the End Point Manager from Schmooze, it became more friendly. Faxing is one of those things that either it works or it doesn't. So far, faxing has been working just fine using the Incredible Fax. Of course, it is not an overly complex setup considering that only one person is making use of it.
 

rdoac

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I just put in a PBX at our church. They had 13 Comcast Lines. We took that down to 2 (Alarm and main number on forwarding) and will be saving about $200 per month. We opened an account with Voip.ms, ported their fax number over (all the others were on a hunt group anyway). Voip.ms give 25 concurrent connections - so it's like a 25 line hunt group for pennies and 1c per minute. This church as a staff of 14.

We bought 2 x Yealink T38Gs for the reception area, and 2 x T20s for two of the staff that wouldn't get on with cellphones. The rest we use follow me and divert to their cell phones. We run this on a dual core atom based PC. The receptionists are getting the hang of the interface and exploring. I initially setup things like an IVR and phone directory for them. Voicemail is emailed.

Gotcha's were wiring up the emergency phone in the elevator, fax machine, and remote phones for welcome desk (used on a Sunday only). I ended up getting a few ATA's and plumbing the old phone systems's first two lines into the PBX for the moment. When the old system finally dies, I'll hunt down the wiring and put normal house phones there. Currently working out how the elevator phone disconnects. I suspect I need to turn something on on the ATA.

The incentive was the amount they would save by cancelling all those lines. It will pay for itself within a couple of months.
 

GUMC-IT

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I just put in a PBX at our church. ...
Thanks for your response! Your situation sounds exactly like mine, except we only have a fraction of your staff (5)--right down to the alarm and elevator lines. Comcast is doing an initial site survey today. How very providential. I'll keep you in mind as questions develop.
 

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