Downsides of your own PBX

August 2, 2006

Because I am a nosy sort, I checked out again how some of
you got to read my little part of the web, I found alot of people
wanting to know the downsides of running your own PBX.

A PBX is pretty much a unit that can distribute calls, handle
voice mail and extensions in your home or office. You call
a customer support line you will no doubt be placed into
a queue system to wait for an available representative, this
is also a roll of a PBX.

So why on earth should you need one for your home setting?

Since we are all mad about VoIP here we are going to concentrate
on a PBX system orientated around this, so for a choice of PBX
we are going to use Asterisk as an example, no gold stars to anyone
who guessed it either:)

I am going to throw out the pros and cons and try and
elaborate along the way.

Pros of using your own VoIP PBX

  • Calls can be easily screened, even certain telmarketers
    can be hung up upon automatically
  • Control of your own voice mail system, everyone in
    your house can have an extension, so no more shouting
    at the kids upstairs dinner is ready:)
  • Calls cost less, considerably less, you do not have
    to pay taxes on your phone lines just pay for the
    time you use, I use Exgn for incomming and outgoing
    calls.
  • Redundancy, in an office environment you may have
    two offices, your PRI goes down in one, people
    cant call out! but with Asterisk you can divert
    the call to the other Asterisk box and you can
    make outgoing calls!
  • Again, in the office environment the two offices
    can communicate just by extension numbers.
  • Someone in your house is talking on the phone
    but you need to use it. With Asterisk, just pick
    your phone up and dial away.

Cons of using your own VoIP PBX

  • Hardware, you will need a PC, depending
    on your phone requirements it can be
    an good chunk of an initial investment, but
    I have seen offices of 50 people running on
    a 700Mhz 256Meg PC.
  • VoIP phones can become costly, they range
    from $80 to $300, the alternative is a Soft phone
    which runs on your PC which you can get for
    free, but if your PC crashes while you are on
    a call, then so does your call.
  • Linux, its a free OS and very reliable, but
    if you have never installed it for the first
    time it can be tedious, there is a Windows
    port of Asterisk though, I really cant comment
    on it since I have never installed or used it.
  • No Internet, no calls, If your Internet connection
    decides to go down, then so does your phone
    system.

I have tried to be as unbiased as I can:) From my personal
experience I use Asterisk at home an din a business environment
and I couldn’t be happier. Yes I run the risk of pretty much
a useless phone system if my Cable goes down, but thats
fine, since I am saving a great deal of money in phone charges.

I hope this gave you an insight on the whys and wherefores,
if you wish me to elaborate more let me know.

I am currently working on an article on how to install
Asterisk in a Knoppix environment, I`ll post when complete:)


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