Asterisk handling a small business

Dan Egli ddavidegli at
Tue Apr 8 05:14:49 MDT 2014

Here's a question for anyone who knows the answer. I was asked this
question earlier and could not remember some of the details.

Someone I talk to on a regular basis is getting ready to open his own
company. The expected size of the company would be about 10-15 people once
he finishes hiring, with more to follow in a year or two (he hopes). What
he wants is to have all his phone calls and what not handled by Asterisk
using IP based phones (obviously). I've talked with him a lot about this,
but the points I could not remember dealt primarily with how the phone
company would handle things.

Supposing that you wish to have the possibility of half of these people
(we'll say seven) placing calls or receiving calls at the same time. Under
standard phone setups (POTS) that would require seven incoming lines. Is
that going to be the case if all he buys is a DID number and internet
service? I.e. does he have to tell the phone company to sell him multiple
DID numbers in a roll down sequence? Or is simply having the phone call
come to the system sufficient and then Asterisk handles it from there? I
admit I have not looked at Asterisk myself (I'd love to, but I've got a few
other things I really need to accomplish  before I start studying a
VoIP/PBS setup in detail) so I don't know the answers. I tend to think that
it's likely that he'd need multiple DID numbers and the roll down, even
though it's all IP based, because it's likely the phone company that's
going to generate the busy signal, and if they only have one DID number on
file for you, then when a second person tries to call they're just going to
get a busy signal (or voice mail if you have that service). But I honestly
don't know for sure. I'm sure he'd also need to purchase one extra DID
number, not in the roll down sequence, that he can configure to
specifically be for the fax machine whose duties I'm sure Asterisk won't be
able to assume (forward to the fax, sure, but actually answer as a fax and
send/receive transmissions? Some how I doubt it.)

So, what exactly do I tell him to ask the TeleCo for? He's going to be in
southern Utah most likely (i.e. St. George area) so it's likely going to be
Qwest or AT&T, unless you can get phone/DID service from someone like
McCloud USA, which I honestly don't know. He plans this to be a heavy IP
business, so I don't think Comcast would be such a good idea, with the
monthly bandwidth caps they like to place on downloads and uploads (has
anyone heard of Comcast offering more than 1 mbit upload speeds?), not to
mention their 250 GB/Mo download limit.

I welcome all comments, especially from anyone who's done this type of
thing before.

Thanks folks!
--- Dan

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