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Which Asterisk Or Other VoIP System To Deploy? 91

ubercombatwombat is looking for a bit of advice: "On the 9th of November, I have a meeting to discuss an Asterisk based phone system for a new elementary school. I am the network admin for the district. Currently, we are migrating from a T-1 based Nortel (option 61, 2 x option 11 and 7 x Norstar 8x32's, for those who care) to 1GB data fiber and a 2nd pair per site — to allow simple copper-to-fiber for the split T-1/Norstar's. We also just got a 10MB (scalable to 100MB) connect to the Internet. I can keep the VoIP basically on a separate network if need be as well. What do I install? Are there Asterisk vendors that are available and have enough experience?"
"The hardware support we can handle just fine, it's the software that's the big issue. One thing to keep in mind is that E911 is priority one for any brand or type. No exceptions. Other than that one thing, the field is fairly open.

I see two possibilities:

- A Cisco system or Shortel system — education budgets vary wildly from year to year and recurring cost have to be kept down.

- Hybrid of Cisco, Snom, or Polycom handsets with a custom Asterisk box with good third-party support. I see a few options such as Fonality or Digium. If anyone is aware of online options with good service, please suggest them.

Trixbox may or may not be what I use. I have had systems going 24/7 for over a year and am very happy, but the product's future is unclear just now.

So, what and who? I won't go there without third-party support. What suggestions can Slashdot offer me?"
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Which Asterisk Or Other VoIP System To Deploy?

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  • Re:Two tips for you. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Friday November 03, 2006 @01:06PM (#16704637) Homepage Journal
    this is great for normal day to day. but when the whole schjool is in the dark, only the plain old POTS line will work.

    Actually, you're wrong. 100% wrong. Completely, utterly, and totally wrong.

    Your phone system box and your phone system switch go on UPS and then hopefully generator power beyond that - getting more common in higher education anyway. You use Power over Ethernet (PoE) to run the phones. The phones have a switch in them, and you plug your PC into it; if your PC is on UPS, it'll still work as well. The phone works as long as the switch has power; you can also use a normal switch and use (or build, but I wouldn't for something like this) a PoE injector that adds power to a normal half-duplex ethernet connection.

    This is precisely what we do where I work, and although we do have a full-facility generator (we're a casino, so it's a HUGE generator) I have successfully remained on the phone while the power has gone out. There's a short delay before the generator cuts in.

    Having per-room E911 would be very useful in the case where there's some looney with a gun in your classroom. Take the phone off the cradle, turn the volume all the way down (as opposed to mute which is the opposite of what you want) and dial 911, then put it on speaker (again, the volume is down all the way.) If you're sneaky and quick you can do it before they notice. Then the cops know what room the problem is in, and can hear what's going on. Of course it's a long shot that you will get to do it, but if it's not set up properly, then you definitely won't be able to.

Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.