Asterisk Installation, help I'm a newbie!

Hi all,

(3 Part question)

I'm currently installing and testing an Asterisk system for my company.  We're switching from Verizon Centrenet system and hosting everything on our own.    

I'm still in the beginning phases and stil learning Asterisk, VoIP, and the technology.  

I've been reveiwing some of the Asterisk questions posted here and got a bit confused.

1)  Just to be sure, this is how my asterisk system will be setup:

Fractional T-1 Service from MCI -->>  Wildcard TE110P PCI-card -->> Dell 1800 Server with CentOS 3.0 and asterisk installed -->>  Dlink 24 Port Switch with VLan configured for Phones -->> Linksys SPA-941 IP phones

Is that a correct configuration?

2)  Also, in terms of Voice-Mail recording, does the server need large Hard drives?  will RAID configuration improve performance? ie. RAID 0 or RAID 5?

3)  Lastly, is there a third-party software that i can use on the desktops to be able to listen to the Vmail directly from the PCs?  More specifically, is there a way to forward vmails to the recipient's email address (we host our own Exchange server)?

Thanks in advance!

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1) Yes this looks ok.
I would advice that you contact Digium to ask about any known incompatabilities with the Dell 1800 server. The voice cards are very IRQ intensive and some motherboard chipsets work better than others and sometimes running on a server platform does not give you any benefit.
Have you tested the SPA-941 phones. I tried the SPA-841 model and was less than impressed with the poot quaility screen, keyboard and general usability.
The 841 and I believe the 941 are not POE compatible so if you get a power cut then all the phones will go off.
I would suggest that you also have a look at the Grandstream GXP-2000 phones and a Powerdsine PD-6548 which will add power ofer the ethernet interfaces. The phones will then take power from the ethernet interface so you can have the server and Powerdsine connected to a UPS to keep the phones running for a while in the event of a power failure.

2)  No not much disk space is required. 1GB of space is sufficient to record about 13 hours of voicemail messages. For reliability I would go with RAID 1 or 5. Given space is not a concern RAID 1 would be cheaper.

3) Voicemails by default are sent via email to the end user anyway. A 1 minute voicemail is about 100k in size in the format which it is sent and is playable in media player (its a compressed .wav). You can also run a software voip client such as DIAX and use that to access the voicemail system the same as you would using a desk phone.

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Consider having a backup server. You can configure the backup to syncronise over the configuration and voicemails etc... regularly. If the main server fails you can just change the IP address of the server, switch the T1 cable, and then start asterisk.
jetli87Author Commented:
Thanks grblades!

I haven't tested the SPA-941 phones yet.  I just ordered a FXO 1 port card and the SPA-941 card to test configure the asterisk server on a POTS line since the T-1 Service wont be installed for another 3 weeks.

As for the Dell 1800, Digium said it would be compatible with Dell 1850, and the main difference between the two is that the 1850 is a rackmount server whereas 1800 is a tower server.

Thanks for the reponse, hope you can help out later for I'm sure I'll have more questions...take care!
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