Small office phone setup



  • There's been a lot of talk of elastic and asterisk lately - so I have a question.

    I have an office with 10 extensions in it on an old intertel system. Could I easily replace it with an elastic or asterick phone system and VOIP phones?

    I have a 15/2 cable internet connection (don't want to upgrade it) - would this be good enough to support SIP trunks?

    I also have a fax line at this office for a traditional fax machine I'd rather leave in place - would a SIP to POTS be OK for this, or would I need to continue paying for one POTS line?



  • @Dashrender said:

    There's been a lot of talk of elastic and asterisk lately - so I have a question.

    I have an office with 10 extensions in it on an old intertel system. Could I easily replace it with an elastic or asterick phone system and VOIP phones?

    I have a 15/2 cable internet connection (don't want to upgrade it) - would this be good enough to support SIP trunks?

    I also have a fax line at this office for a traditional fax machine I'd rather leave in place - would a SIP to POTS be OK for this, or would I need to continue paying for one POTS line?

    This is easily done with an Elastix/FreePBX system. Your existing connection is plenty!



  • As far as the fax line, you'll want to keep a traditional POTS line for it. Faxing over VoIP is VERY finicky.



  • Would it make more sense to just invest in an e-Fax system?



  • I believe the average bandwidth for calls is 100kbps both up and down for each concurrent call. So considering you have 10 users, even if you had every person on the phone at the same time, which is highly unlikely, you have plenty of bandwidth.



  • Technically you could get an analog telephone adapter and hook the fax machine up to your PBX (register as a SIP extension) or just port the number to your SIP provider. It can work well if you have enough bandwidth, but as A.J. suggested, it may be best to look at eFax here if you can.



  • This is a perfect opportunity to go to VoIP.

    @Dashrender

    I have a 15/2 cable internet connection (don't want to upgrade it) - would this be good enough to support SIP trunks?

    It depends on how many concurrent calls you have. Although a 2Mb upload may be a bit of a bottle neck.

    I also have a fax line at this office for a traditional fax machine I'd rather leave in place - would a SIP to POTS be OK for this, or would I need to continue paying for one POTS line?

    You can continue using the POTS line if you want but Asterisk now supports a single fax line for free on various distributions. So you could use the PBX to handle faxes, or give each individual user their own dedicated line which emails the fax to them.



  • @ajstringham said:

    Would it make more sense to just invest in an e-Fax system?

    Not at this time as that would require the purchase of a scanner, etc..



  • @Dashrender said:

    @ajstringham said:

    Would it make more sense to just invest in an e-Fax system?

    Not at this time as that would require the purchase of a scanner, etc..

    You don't have some MFP at this location?



  • If it helps, I have a fax machine used from a HP Officejet printer hooked up to a Grandstream HandyTone 701 adapter registered to a cloud-hosted Elastix PBX, and faxes work well on their 50/5 cable connection.

    But I agree with Chad about the 2 Mbps upload being a potential bottleneck.



  • @Dashrender even if you do have to buy a scanner, those are a couple hundred dollars. I assume people have to scan stuff in at least sometimes now as it is, no? e-Fax is more about receiving faxes than the sending.



  • @ajstringham said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @ajstringham said:

    Would it make more sense to just invest in an e-Fax system?

    Not at this time as that would require the purchase of a scanner, etc..

    You don't have some MFP at this location?

    I don't have a location to send the scan other than over the VPN to my office, not desirable. (and the local drive is not a valid target - super old MFP).



  • @NetworkNerd said:

    If it helps, I have a fax machine used from a HP Officejet printer hooked up to a Grandstream HandyTone 701 adapter registered to a cloud-hosted Elastix PBX, and faxes work well on their 50/5 cable connection.

    But I agree with Chad about the 2 Mbps upload being a potential bottleneck.

    Yeah, the up is the only potential problem. If someone is on the phone and tries sending a large email attachment, you could have issues. Is this a DSL connection at that location?



  • @Dashrender said:

    @ajstringham said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @ajstringham said:

    Would it make more sense to just invest in an e-Fax system?

    Not at this time as that would require the purchase of a scanner, etc..

    You don't have some MFP at this location?

    I don't have a location to send the scan other than over the VPN to my office, not desirable. (and the local drive is not a valid target - super old MFP).

    What is the make and model of the machine? You could probably scan to email and that would work well.



  • @ajstringham said:

    @Dashrender even if you do have to buy a scanner, those are a couple hundred dollars. I assume people have to scan stuff in at least sometimes now as it is, no? e-Fax is more about receiving faxes than the sending.

    You would be incorrect, they do not scan - our EHR supports uploads, true, but they prefer to have barcoded fax pages sent into their system, and this is what we do.



  • @coliver said:

    It depends on how many concurrent calls you have. Although a 2Mb upload may be a bit of a bottle neck.

    It might be a 15/3 - but that would be the max.

    I think they have 2 normal phone lines and the fax, so 3 calls max.



  • @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    It depends on how many concurrent calls you have. Although a 2Mb upload may be a bit of a bottle neck.

    It might be a 15/3 - but that would be the max.

    I think they have 2 normal phone lines and the fax, so 3 calls max.

    You could probably get away with it if it is just 3 calls... but again if someone starts listening to Pandora while another person is sending some sort of attachment you may run into issues.



  • @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    It depends on how many concurrent calls you have. Although a 2Mb upload may be a bit of a bottle neck.

    It might be a 15/3 - but that would be the max.

    I think they have 2 normal phone lines and the fax, so 3 calls max.

    You could probably get away with it if it is just 3 calls... but again if someone starts listening to Pandora while another person is sending some sort of attachment you may run into issues.

    I'll kill pandora and all other streaming services at the sonicwall.



  • @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    It depends on how many concurrent calls you have. Although a 2Mb upload may be a bit of a bottle neck.

    It might be a 15/3 - but that would be the max.

    I think they have 2 normal phone lines and the fax, so 3 calls max.

    You could probably get away with it if it is just 3 calls... but again if someone starts listening to Pandora while another person is sending some sort of attachment you may run into issues.

    I'll kill pandora and all other streaming services at the sonicwall.

    Good luck I would have a riot on my hands if we attempted to do that here...



  • @Dashrender said:

    @ajstringham said:

    @Dashrender even if you do have to buy a scanner, those are a couple hundred dollars. I assume people have to scan stuff in at least sometimes now as it is, no? e-Fax is more about receiving faxes than the sending.

    You would be incorrect, they do not scan - our EHR supports uploads, true, but they prefer to have barcoded fax pages sent into their system, and this is what we do.

    Wow. That's really weird...well, all in all, it might be easiest to spend the little bit of money it takes for a POTS line to maintain it just for the fax.



  • @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    It depends on how many concurrent calls you have. Although a 2Mb upload may be a bit of a bottle neck.

    It might be a 15/3 - but that would be the max.

    I think they have 2 normal phone lines and the fax, so 3 calls max.

    You could probably get away with it if it is just 3 calls... but again if someone starts listening to Pandora while another person is sending some sort of attachment you may run into issues.

    I'll kill pandora and all other streaming services at the sonicwall.

    Good luck I would have a riot on my hands if we attempted to do that here...

    Why not just QoS it? Once you get this setup, allocate SIP traffic as highest priority on the network and then filter down from there, with sites like Spotify and Pandora having lowest priority.



  • @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    It depends on how many concurrent calls you have. Although a 2Mb upload may be a bit of a bottle neck.

    It might be a 15/3 - but that would be the max.

    I think they have 2 normal phone lines and the fax, so 3 calls max.

    You could probably get away with it if it is just 3 calls... but again if someone starts listening to Pandora while another person is sending some sort of attachment you may run into issues.

    I'll kill pandora and all other streaming services at the sonicwall.

    Good luck I would have a riot on my hands if we attempted to do that here...

    Luckily it's our corporate policy - no streaming unless it's for an approved webinar, etc.



  • @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    It depends on how many concurrent calls you have. Although a 2Mb upload may be a bit of a bottle neck.

    It might be a 15/3 - but that would be the max.

    I think they have 2 normal phone lines and the fax, so 3 calls max.

    You could probably get away with it if it is just 3 calls... but again if someone starts listening to Pandora while another person is sending some sort of attachment you may run into issues.

    I'll kill pandora and all other streaming services at the sonicwall.

    Good luck I would have a riot on my hands if we attempted to do that here...

    Luckily it's our corporate policy - no streaming unless it's for an approved webinar, etc.

    That makes it easy.



  • @ajstringham said:

    Why not just QoS it? Once you get this setup, allocate SIP traffic as highest priority on the network and then filter down from there, with sites like Spotify and Pandora having lowest priority.

    My thoughts exactly



  • @ajstringham said:

    @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    It depends on how many concurrent calls you have. Although a 2Mb upload may be a bit of a bottle neck.

    It might be a 15/3 - but that would be the max.

    I think they have 2 normal phone lines and the fax, so 3 calls max.

    You could probably get away with it if it is just 3 calls... but again if someone starts listening to Pandora while another person is sending some sort of attachment you may run into issues.

    I'll kill pandora and all other streaming services at the sonicwall.

    Good luck I would have a riot on my hands if we attempted to do that here...

    Why not just QoS it? Once you get this setup, allocate SIP traffic as highest priority on the network and then filter down from there, with sites like Spotify and Pandora having lowest priority.

    That would work, I've had iffy results with some QoS at the firewall though, it may just be the Astaro that I was using.



  • @ajstringham said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @ajstringham said:

    @Dashrender even if you do have to buy a scanner, those are a couple hundred dollars. I assume people have to scan stuff in at least sometimes now as it is, no? e-Fax is more about receiving faxes than the sending.

    You would be incorrect, they do not scan - our EHR supports uploads, true, but they prefer to have barcoded fax pages sent into their system, and this is what we do.

    Wow. That's really weird...well, all in all, it might be easiest to spend the little bit of money it takes for a POTS line to maintain it just for the fax.

    This won't be an issue since we already pay for 3 lines, we'll probably reduce costs by trading two POTS for 2 SIP trunks.



  • @Dashrender One of the other things that I ran into is to ensure that you can get service from a SIP trunk provider that isn't your ISP. I am in a very rural part of NY and there is only one entity that services our area.



  • @coliver said:

    @Dashrender One of the other things that I ran into is to ensure that you can get service from a SIP trunk provider that isn't your ISP. I am in a very rural part of NY and there is only one entity that services our area.

    Say again? Do you mean you simply couldn't get a local number for your area? I recall @scottalanmiller saying something about some backward system in NY some time ago that allowed them to limit who could provide local services up there.



  • @Dashrender Yep, that is exactly what I am referring to.



  • @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    @Dashrender One of the other things that I ran into is to ensure that you can get service from a SIP trunk provider that isn't your ISP. I am in a very rural part of NY and there is only one entity that services our area.

    Say again? Do you mean you simply couldn't get a local number for your area? I recall @scottalanmiller saying something about some backward system in NY some time ago that allowed them to limit who could provide local services up there.

    Different areas are serviced by different providers, that's for sure. Not really any different than any other part of the country though.


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