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Asterisk with Legacy PBX

Posted on 2012-08-19
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Last Modified: 2012-08-25
Hi all,
I would like someone to shed some light on asterisk for me. Currently, my company has a NEC SL1000 legacy pbx. Because of recent interest in VOIP, my company had asked me to look into using asterisk concurrently with our SL1000 box. I'm wondering what would i need (new server with asterisk installed) in order to connect these two systems together? Currently have about 35 extensions and 6 CO.


Thanks in advanced.
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Question by:smoutkast
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by:José Méndez
ID: 38309603
Im thinking the Asterisk server can have an FXO card installed, and a simple RJ11 cable to one of the PBXs FXS ports will do the job.

However I wonder if you can provide more details on this one, for example, what protocols does the PBX handle, any VOIP protocol like H.323? What is the purpose of conneting the 2 together? Things like that.
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by:smoutkast
ID: 38309638
Hi Willy, thks for the response.

From the NEC SL1000 datasheet, the protocols that it handles is "Devices SIP-enabled, H.323." I guess the purpose of connecting the 2 together is to slowly integrate VOIP phones into our company. However since our company just bought this PBX a year ago, getting rid of it totally would be out of the question. I'm hoping that by installing a Asterisk server i could make sure of its VOIP, and Voicemail features.

I'm not sure if this would be possible but also allowing remote users (branch office users) with VOIP phone to be able to connect into our phone network through ASTERISK
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by:José Méndez
ID: 38309677
Ok Smoutkast, that sounds much better now. You should be able to integrate both through SIP or H.323. You'll find SIP to be easier though. SIP comes built into Asterisk out of the box so the only thing needed would be routing between both sites. Is there any other detail you may have doubts about?
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by:Frosty555
Frosty555 earned 300 total points
ID: 38309888
Asterisk is somewhat complicated to configure and setup correctly.

As far as hardware is concerned, any normal server equipment that can run CentOS is fine - basically any normal x86 based computer.

I suggest you install the dedicated FreePBX Distro on a dedicated server or a VM, it will install the operating system, all necessary libraries, and a working installation of Asterisk, plus the "FreePBX" web based administration system.

http://www.freepbx.org/freepbx-distro
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by:Frosty555
ID: 38309900
Another commercial VoIP server if you're just trying to get your feet wet and get into the world of VoIP is 3CX server - it runs on Windows and they have a basic (albeit crippled) free version you can fiddle with. They have excellent customer support and it is a commercially supported product. It also comes with nice softphone apps for iPhone and Android.

http://www.3cx.com/ip-pbx/index.html

I'm not arguing which one is better, but 3CX tends to be more user-friendly to install and set up especially for someone who is not completely comfortable in Linux yet.
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by:smoutkast
ID: 38310253
@willy...is there anyway to connect both devices without sip or h.323 because that would require me to buy a voip expansion card for the nec pbx in order for me connect through either protocols.
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by:José Méndez
José Méndez earned 300 total points
ID: 38310514
Well I mean, if the keysystem comes with FXS ports which I think it does, you may connect the Asterisk box with an FXO port/card. I did a quick research for a specifications document on that model but couldn't find it. So it'll be like, putting the keysystem alonside with the Asterisk server, both of them connected by an FXO port. Branch phones calling through the VOIP network will reach Asterisk and then to the rest of the phones hooked off the keysystem.

The problem with that desing is that it will allow only 1 call per FXO-FXS connection. I read that the NEC device can handle plenty of trunk lines (not sure if they refer to analog ports), but even though, the Asterisk cards are also expensive and a medium server won't scale that many cards.

If you could contact NEC and ask them what type of physical connections it comes with, maybe I could guide you a lil better. I don't know much about this system =/
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by:smoutkast
ID: 38310519
hopefully someone can chime in on this...if my legacy pbx does not include sip or h.323. Could i connect my legacy pbx to Asterisk through a trunk port extension by using TDM410P-4 card?

Also which would be the best setup (if i would like some add-on features (such as voicemail) of asterisk across the board for everyone using analog or ip phones)?

CO -> asterisk -> pbx
or
CO-> pbx -> asterisk

thanks in advanced.
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by:grblades
grblades earned 600 total points
ID: 38310847
If you use FXO-FXS connections then note that a FXO interface is what your telephone has inside while a FXS is the telco end and provides the ringing voltage and detects when the handset goes off hook.
This means if you want your PBX to be able to dial Asterisk then Asterisk will have to have the FXS interface connecting to a FXO on the pbx. If Asterisk needs to dial the pbx for any reason then you will also need a FXO interface on Asterisk connecting to a FXS on the pbx.
You would also have additional dialing delays due to the time to transmit the DTMF telephone numbers. Using analogue phone lines as the interconnect is really the last resort. You would loose out a lot on the extra functionality of Asterisk and proper SIP phones such as multiple lines, busy lamps, voicemail indication etc...
My advice would be to either go straight for voip by having a second handset on some peoples desks and then gradually roll that out before removing the old system. If thats not acceptable because you dont want to get rid of the old system then just stick with the old system.
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by:José Méndez
ID: 38311366
The TDM410P-4 card will work, but it comes with 4 ports, how man concurrent calls do you plan to have between both systems? I foresee a bottleneck at that point. How expensive is the NEC VOIP extension?
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by:smoutkast
ID: 38312064
I have done some more research by talking to my local vendor and telco provider.

Apparently there's a cat5 cable from our telco that connect to a gateway device that dials to our telco through IAD (Integrated Access Device).
Gaoke Gateway Devicesearched online about the gateway device; i was only able to get the specification in chinese.
specification of gateway deviceA local vendor had suggested for me to connect my asterisk & nec pbx through this route..however i'm kind of skeptical of it and need some confirmation.

He suggests:  
Cat5 cable  (telco) -> Asterisk (IAD setting)-> Gaoke Gateway Device -> NEC

The original cat5 cable from the telco would connect directly to the asterisk server which we will then input IAD settings into asterisk provided by the telco (this would enable us to have our 4 external lines?). then using a 2nd nic we would connect it to the Gaoke Gateway Device through the LAN port on the device then a RJ11 cable from the Gaoke Gateway Device into NEC Trunk port.

I'm not really sure if it makes any sense hopefully someone can confirm this.

@willy..i have also uploaded the datasheet for my nec pbx. According to the datasheet, my pbx only has the following expansion cards:

3 x IP4WW-408E-A1      -     4 Analog Trunks + 8 Hybrid Extensions Card
1 x IP4WW-008E-A1      -     8 Hybrid Extensions Card

other options or expansion cards are not installed in our current pbx. Thanks for your feedbacks.
SL-1000-Data-Sheet-.pdf
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by:grblades
grblades earned 600 total points
ID: 38312098
That sounds perfectly reasonable. Normally every telephone number which is not known to be internal would be sent to the telco provider. The suggestion is to put the Asterisk server so it sits in between your PBX and the telco. Any regular calls Asterisk will pass through to the telco but any that it knows to handle such as voicemail retrieval it will handle internally.

That sounds like a good way to do it to me. No special reconfiguration required on your pbx so if anything does go wrong while you are experimenting with Asterisk you should only need to change a cable and probably reconfigure an IP address and you are back to your original system.
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Phonebuff earned 300 total points
ID: 38312905
@ smoutkast

I would slow down a little bit here.  As you mentioned searches for this gateway device do not result in many hits, although this one from Digium would be  very troublesome to me if I were looking at this unit.  

http://lists.digium.com/pipermail/asterisk-bugs/2011-April/098734.html

I would start by talking to your provider to see if they support Asterisk as an end point, then what protocol they use, and finally if you can reprovision the existing gateway.  

In your first post you said six CO lines, but in the picture you note four FXS ports ?

If it's four ports I would recommend a AudioCodes MP-118 with four FXO and four FXS ports in it.   The Current Gateway would connect to the four FXO ports and the then the four FXS ports would connect to the NEC.  SL.  

Asterisk would see the AudioCodes as a SIP device and you can map the FXS and FXO ports to trunk groups for call routing as necessary.   You could also look at VegaStream from Sangoma, Linksys SPAs from Cisco and a number of other product lines or even channel banks like the ADT 6000 and T1 (DAHDI) termination on the Asterisk connection.

The problem can be solved many ways, but you really need to find out what the provider is driving your Chinese Gateway with for Protocol and what you do to any support agreements if you don't use it exactly as it's currently deployed.

=====================
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by:smoutkast
ID: 38332693
thanks for everyone's help...company decided to just move on and switch to ASTERISK as a whole..
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