Looking into modernizing our office phone system

I’m researching replacing our current office phone system with a modern one. Currently we have a pretty old system (not managed by my department): POTS lines into an old PBX, old Toshiba DKT2010 handsets, lousy voicemail, and no direct-dial to each desk. You have to call in, talk to the receptionist, and get transferred. We also have no caller ID, and when you move from desk A to desk B, your extension changes from 305 to 309 (or whatever) – your extension is not bound to the phone, but to the jack. In addition to being retarded, this means your business cards now have the wrong extension on them

If I’m going to be taking over the phone system then I’m replacing it. I don’t know anything about phone systems except that VoIP and Asterisk are my starting points. Here’s what I want:

  • DID to each desk
  • Caller ID
  • Voicemail emailed to your inbox as MP3/WAV
  • Jabber integration if possible – if your Jabber status is “away” the call goes straight to voicemail.
  • Extension bound to the phone… this seems like an easy one, since DHCP already does this for computers.
  • Faxes delivered to users’ inboxes – complete email/fax conversion would be idea.
  • We have Exchange 2010 which has Unified Messaging; I don’t know if we’d need to use that but I guess it’s an option. A friend pointed me at MS Response Point, which I was going to look at, but Microsoft apparently ended that product, so I didn’t bother.

    Currently I’m checking out Trixbox, specifically their trixbox appliance. Though, I usually like to “roll my own” box when first playing around with new technology to learn how it works.

3 Replies to “Looking into modernizing our office phone system”

  1. Would highly recommend pbx-in-a-flash (asterisk flavor) along with aastra 57i phones and their xml scripts for extremely flexible and simple “roll your own” voip pbx. We use trixbox and Aastra 57i phones, but fonality seems to have stopped their development on the CE product in order to focus on the Pro appliance. Best of luck!

  2. I’ll second PBX in a Flash – we use it in our offices (9000 air miles apart) with no problems at all. Good distribution of Asterisk on ISO – who could want more 😉

    As to the Aastra phones, yes, great voice quality, but if you need to punch a hole through NAT anywhere in your network, the Cisco phones do a better job. SIP and firewalls…

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