VOIP in a small office environment


I am a newbie when it comes to VOIP. I wanted to use VOIP in our small office environment. Existing setup involves three analog lines coming to my office. They go into a PBX, and from there on, we have our individual phones connected. Of course the three lines are in a hunt group, so an outside caller calls the same number.

I called Vonage having the same type of setup. Vonage told me VOIP does not work like that. I will have to get an IP phone for each individual in the office. They do have some kind of hunt group, but not similar to normal hunt group.

I have the following questions to you experts:

  1. Can someone please draw anaology of VOIP with my existing setup. Okay, I understand that there is something in the phone, which over a braodband connection identifies itself to the phone provider (Let us take Vonage in our example).

  1. If the above construct is true then I am sure someone would have thought of SOHO environment, where a 3 line VOIP PBX would basically have three identities for Vonage to route the calls.

I would greatly appreciate if someone would please comment on my questions.



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Check out Packet8's offering. It might be something like you are looking for. Be aware that you will have more downtime with VOIP. If you want three POTS lines, you will still have to have three interfaces, even if somebody builds them into one box to replace your key system.

Reply to
John McHarry

I've confirmed that I can receive multiple simultaneous incoming calls with BroadVoice. (I did very little testing with it but I'm likely to try it again.)

If you're going to try to do anything interesting, I recommend sticking with a more open service (like BroadVoice or VoicePulse).

I'm no expert but if you run a simple Asterisk box at the office with all of your phones connected to it, you should be able to have it register with a service like BroadVoice so that incoming calls ring to the phones as you like (all at once or in rotation).

Unless your DID (incoming PSTN) provider limits it, there's no need to think in terms of "3 lines".


Reply to
Kyler Laird

Vonage will do hunt groups. All Vonage numbers have to be on the same account.

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You will need to ( via online account manager ) disable call waiting to do this but it should work.


Reply to
Scott Nelson - Wash DC


a few points to consider, You might want to try using 2 or 3 pots lines for incoming calls, keep them in the hunt group the way you have them, then add a couple lines from Vonage or whoever to use for all your outgoing calls. If your pbx can handle 4 or 5 lines, you can configure it to give the voip lines first for all outgoing calls.

I have heard from some that moving to another provider is not a problem, but if you decide to move back you may have trouble keeping the same number. This way you keep your number.

Internet voip services do not have any quality of service guarantees on their lines. If the lines go bad for some reason, you would still have the pots lines to keep your business going.


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VOIP just for the sake of VOIP makes no sense. However, if you're moving or setting up a brand new office from scratch, then yes, consider VOIP. But don't consider VOIP as a way of making cheap phone calls. VOIP over the public Internet is fun to experiment with but definitely not a phone system over which to conduct your business. The overall call quality will send the wrong message to your customers and business associates. On the other hand, VOIP over your own private dedicated wide area network (WAN) is a great way to tie inter-office phone systems together cheaply when you already have a reasonably high bandwidth data network in place.

Since VOIP is among one of "the latest things" that also means it's relatively new. New enough that people deploying it today are still considered "early adopters". VOIP technology is a moving target. VOIP call managers and VOIP hybrid PBX systems are still rapidly evolving. Operating system patches and revisions are coming out almost weekly and certainly monthly. Even some VOIP hardware platforms shipping as recently as 6 months ago have now been manufacture-discontinued and replaced with newer designs.

Today I have both CISCO (Call Manager) and MITEL (3300) VOIP systems in my office, basically undergoing "field trials". The CISCO has some unique features that are more or less 'golly gee-whiz' bells and whistles but otherwise lend nothing in the way of value to the overall usefulness of the phone system. One of the major strikes against the CISCO is it is Windows Server based and requires a specific custom load of Win2K Server and SQL Server software. Strike two against the CISCO is it's (Unity) voicemail platform requires yet another Windows-based server. Thanks, but no thanks.

The MITEL (3300) >> Folks,

Reply to

the 1st question is why do you want to move to VOiP, & what do you expect it to do? if your reason is just "because it is there" then I would advise DON'T BOTHER. only move to VOiP if it gives you soe real & needed advantage

Reply to

NuFone doesnt limit the amount of inbound or outbound calls you can make and we are Asterisk friendly.

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