Technology News

DIY VoIP? Free Is Good for Home Use but not Business: Here's Why

2015-04-02 19:50:27 Anthony Ortega

Looking to move to a voice over IP (VoIP) phone system for your business? Depending on the size of your business, you may want to build your own from a vendor’s do-it-yourself kit. This can be a simple task if you have a small business and don’t require hundreds of lines. You can save on installation costs if you do it yourself, but if you don’t know what you’re doing and can’t dedicate the time it will take to install it yourself, you may want to hire a professional.


Hardware and Software Required for Your Own PBX

 So, if you have decided to do it yourself or at least in house, you can buy the hardware required for the VoIP server for around $1,000. Linux is a recommended operating system depending on the private branch exchange (PBX) software. In addition, you may need to configure the kernel sources and headers, Bison, MySQL, and a couple other components. A Linux-savvy IT administrator can handle this task.


You must consider that if you currently have a legacy public switched telephone network, you will have to install a compatible digital gateway to keep the analog lines. You could also use Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking, which doesn’t have a hardware requirement, to save some money.


Free VoIP

 If you have a small office/home office, then you can get away with using free VoIP services such as Google Talk and Skype for business. These solutions are reliable for a few connections, although they aren’t designed for small to medium-sized businesses or for multiple-line use. Some businesses may have a Skype account for occasional video calls, but Skype may not be reliable for daily use or multiple calls.


DIY VoIP with Asterisk

 Asterisk is the solution that comes to mind when discussing do-it-yourself (DIY) VoIP. It’s one of the largest telecom vendors to offer free, open source software for VoIP. Asterisk is PBX software that allows you to connect multiple phones within a single business. This solution offers call transfers between lines, recorded greetings, and Interactive voice response to give incoming callers an automated menu from which to select.


DIY VoIP with Linksys

 If you are tech savvy or have an administrator who is, another solution is to get an unlocked VoIP box from Cisco. The Linksys PAP2T-NA is an analog SIP-based telephone adapter that you can set up for use with any VoIP provider. You simply plug the device into your current router, and then plug your analog phone and fax lines to the device. You could also configure it to work with two separate VoIP lines from two different VoIP providers, if you wish.


To configure this device, you will have to work with a VoIP provider to get the instructions necessary for configuring it to work with their service. This is where the tech-savvy requirement comes in. You can use a configuration wizard through Voxilla, which is also free and allows you to configure analog terminal adapters and IP phones from its list of more than 20 VoIP providers and multiple device manufacturers. Whatever you decide, a DIY VoIP system can save you a lot of money if you’re willing to put the time and effort to research it, and it will pay off with smaller communication costs in the long run.


About the Author

Anthony Anthony Ortega has extensive IT support and systems engineering experience in government environments. A solutions-focused professional, he has led staff; worked in network operations support, information assurance, and change management; managed project software and licenses; and provided quality assurance. He has also developed coursework for VoIP, unified communications, and cloud computing for online colleges. Anthony is working on his Ph.D. dissertation in Organizations and Management, with a specialty in IT Management. He is an analyst with Studio B.

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