Non Volatile Technologies Pty Ltd

SYDNEY  AUSTRALIA   2227    (ABN 96 078 508 264)    Ph:+61 2 9016 4695 

"Helping others to have a future assures our own."

Asterisk PABX

PABX - Typical PC - Thumbnail

PABX PC without cover.


Digium Analog/Digital Hybrid Card - Thumbnail

Digium Card.


PABX Schematic for Jamesons - Thumbnail

Schematic plan of Jameson's Telephony Network

Over-Arching Objective

There was a superior objective in pursuing this project in that it would provide a means by which the small to medium sized businesses in Australia would become aware of the wonders of Open Source Software.  (For more details read the "About" page.)

Background

Mr Daniel Xu, owner of Digital Star Computers, convinced me of the value of doing this when, in 1999, I approached him with an idea for creating a low-cost, easy to use, "Plug and Play" Linux Server for use in small to medium-sized businesses.  He took me out to his warehouse and showed me stacks of PCs on pallets.  These were Dell computers for sale at around $800.00 each that came fully equipped with the Linux Operating System and web-based interface that would enable people with minimal knowledge to set up an office file server and email server.  He said he couldn't sell them.  What was needed he felt was to create something that small business people would relate to that used Linux and that, he suggested would be something like a telephone exchange.

Jamesons Unit Services, Mossman

Jamesons is owned by Mr George Vumbaca.  He employs around 50 people and his company is one of the largest Strata Management agencies in Australia.  I have supported George for 10 years now.  He is one of the best people I have ever worked for.  A person with outstanding people skills, business acumen, intelligence and integrity.

Telephony Setup at Jamesons

General.  All Strata Management agencies have a heavy use of phones.  George has an Ericssons PABX installed with a Telstra On-Ramp digital telephone line coming into this establishment.  By interposing the Asterisk PABX between the Telstra line and the Ericsson, it was possible to allow all calls to come in through the Telstra lines and for all out-going calls to use a number of companies providing Internet Telephony services at very much reduced rates.  It was also possible to provide a number of other superior features through the use of the Asterisk PABX that were not available from the Ericsson.  As a consequence of this arrangement, Jamesons now save around $800.00 per month on telephone calls. 

Teething Problems.  Initially, there were quite a number of bugs to iron out.  For example, it was found that the line we were using for the ADSL Internet connection was connected to the building's alarm system.  Every time the security company checked the alarm, the Asterisk Server would lose the Internet and the system would fail.  We now have changed the line and installed a number of fail-over systems such that the arrangement has worked for nearly 6 months at the time of writing without a single failure.  There were also other matters of a more human nature that had to be overcome. For example, the managers were used to a certain dial tone and other characteristics that changed.  Even though these did not upset the function of the system, the managers found such changes disconcerting. Then there were other problems, not associated with our system but for which our system then bore the blame.  This necessitated the implementation of diagnostic procedures that could rapidly establish if our system was indeed the reason for the failure. Invariably this was not the case but it was important the customer (the managers in this case) were rapidly informed of the real cause and the action being taken to correct it.

Faxing from the Desktop Using Asterisk.  Later in the development process we installed the means by which faxes could be sent from the desktop through this system. This once again meant we had to combat a number of bugs, chief of which was old recipient fax machines that could not handle modern protocols. There were also a number of instances of the fax numbers in the database being incorrect but the inaccuracy had never been discovered because the numbers had never been used by a machine but instead manually dialled where the error was discovered and the correct number used.

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