Asterisk setup success 9

Old System

The previous system that the building used was a Comdial 1432B controller, that managed ~28 phones. Some of the features of this PBX / Key System included:
  • Shared Line / Key Line Appearance
  • Call Hold (no music)
  • Call Transfer
  • Toll restrictions
  • 2 ring groups
  • One-way phone to all phones intercom
  • Overhead paging through an extension

Decision to Replace

The church and school had allocated money for several years to set aside enough funds to cover a new phone system. There were some issues cropping up with the system, as well as some missing features. Also, a couple weeks before the new system's deployment was scheduled, a leak in the roof caused by ice buildup caused water to leak into the programmable phone's jack, which corrupted the phone system's configuration.

So, several of us decided to look into some potential systems. After researching and obtaining quotes from half-a-dozen companies around the area, we decided to go with Asterisk for its major pricing advantage, and virtually unlimited feature set. FreeSWITCH was also a viable options, but I had already spent several months playing with Asterisk on a dev box, so I was more familiar with it.

Requested Features

The staff had a number of features they wanted available to them, which include:
  • Caller ID
  • Ability to transfer calls between any phone with one button (basically, key-line functionality)
  • Distinctive ring for internal vs external calls
  • Overhead and phone paging (one-way intercom)


We purchased the following hardware, which supports the current system of 30+ phones
  • Dell PowerEdge T410 with 3-yr ProSupport (redundant power supplies, ethernet jacks, raid 1)
  • Digium AEX800 with Hardware Cancellation and 2x 4-port FXO (supports 8 POTS lines; we currently have 7)
  • 11x Cisco SPA-508G's on SIP (running 7.4.7)
  • 21x Cisco SPA-504G's on SIP (running 7.4.7)
  • 1x Cisco SPA-500S Sidecar
  • 2x Netgear FS726TP
  • 1x Netgear FS728TP ("core" switch)
  • 2x CyberPower CP685AVR (for the 726's)
  • 1x CyberPower CP1500AVRLCD (for the 728)

To integrate with the existing paging speaker system, I built-up a spare PII box, installed Asterisk 1.8.3, and trunked it via IAX2 to the main Asterisk box. The main Asterisk box also runs Asterisk 1.8.3, utilizes SIP to communicate with the phones, IAX2 to communicate with the paging server over the LAN, and DAHDI to handle the POTS lines.

The system has been up for almost a month now, and its (mostly) been smooth sailing. There were approximately 2 deadlocks, which were mostly my fault (I forgot to set the executable flag in a couple MOH scripts, which causes some nasty errors). Once I corrected this, haven't had any other problems. Some other cool features I've setup include:
  • Streaming radio stations via internal extensions
  • Direct inward system access to update voicemail recordings (locked down for no consequential outbound calling)
  • Voicemail to email

After comparing all the features the staff wanted with those available on commercial systems, then added in licensing fees, we would have gone way over budget. Thanks to the open-source community, we have a fully-functional, state-of-the-art VoIP Asterisk phone system.

Contact Me

If you would like more details on the installation, I tried to write out as much information as I could about the install on my blog: >> Alex's Blog

You can also e-mail me at

Created by: stpaulalex, Last modification: Tue 12 of Jun, 2012 (02:59 UTC) by admin
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