Heavens more VoIP

July 7, 2006

Continuing our conversation with VoIP, its all good knowing the
technology but applying it can bea different situation..

So we know how it works, my previous VoIP article explained
the fundamentals, before I continue though, if I have not explained
anything enough or you don’t get a certain element please let me know
otherwise this blog will just be another blog with a geek throwing
out terms and theories that nobody understands or cares about,
thats pointless and a waste of bandwidth 🙂

Scenario time, you own a small business, say 8 employees, you
want a sales line, support line and a line for general contact. Your
local telephone company is rubbing their hands at this point, you
have 3 possible options, get dedicated lines, hire out a
communications consultant who will grab you a PBX
off the shelf and give you a nice fat invoice.

I agree, the above solutions are valid, but it needs more cow bell 🙂
in other words, we introduce VoIP into this equation and the options

Firstly we will need a PBX, Asterisk would be the most ideal, its free
and powerful, all you would need after this is a PC to put it on, doesn’t
have to be a top notch one, I have saw PC`s running 256 Meg
with a 500 MHz CPU handling small to medium size call centers.

Asterisk runs on Linux, a free operating system you probably have heard
of, there is a Windows version which works also, but for now we are using
Linux as our example, plus we do not need to involve the cost of a Windows
license either..

I am still assuming here that the business has either a T1 connection or a
high end Cable/DSL connection, this is the only prerequisite.

So, we have Asterisk, a Linux server with it on, what next? Your staff now
need to get hooked up to it. At this point you have two options, Soft phones
or VoIP phones, difference is that the former is software based, while
cheap it has its downfalls, if the PC you are running it upon crashes, so does your call.

Hard phones (VoIP Phones) are the way to go if the budget allows, you
will have a dedicated phone , so even if your PC does crash, you wont
care, since all your communications are done on another device.

Lets assume now that you have it all setup, phones connected to your
Asterisk box, now you just need a VoIP provider and get your numbers
ported, which I explained in the previous post.

What can we do now compared to before?

  • Have X (Depending on your VoIP provider/package you choose)
    number of incoming calls on one line without busy signals

  • Queue calls, so if you have 3 sales people it will ring all thiere phones
    at once,
    or by round robin etc.

  • Voice mails sent to your email account.

  • Call monitoring, recorded calls, call statistics.

  • Call Conferencing (Agreed, its a common function now days, but
    I just wanted to make sure its still possible)

  • Automated callbacks, its possible to give Asterisk a list of numbers
    to call with a message

  • Return calls, Lets say for example that the sales team are all on calls
    but you don’t want to wait for them, until one of them is free to take a
    call, so you can get Asterisk to call the customer back automatically
    and link that call straight to a sales person when one comes available
  • Lets say toy have another location, you can get that location to use
    your Asterisk box also, all calls will be transfered over the Internet
    to your Asterisk box, no need for a traditional phone system at this location.

There are more features and possibilities Asterisk offers, but you get the gist:)

Well, enough of this theory, next article on VoIP I plan to get our hands dirty….

If you cant wait , then check out VoIPMonkey`s blog, some great info there…

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