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283 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 102735 21-May-2012 17:53 Send private message

I was talking with a few of the teachers today at the school that I work at complaining how difficult it to call parents, as we need to use the HOD's landline, staffroom one or personal cellphones and then get reimbursed, when i got to wondering why don't we just use a voip solution.  

We all have laptops and wired connections in our classrooms.

So the question is how difficult would it be for the school to introduce a voip solution for about 50 teachers and set it up so each teacher gets allocated credit from a central admin?

I would ask the IT guy but he is pretty hopeless and it would be easier to go to him with a solution.  We wouldn't even need phone in capabilities.  

Cheers


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478 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 628493 21-May-2012 18:29 Send private message

You could get a hosted PBX from guys here, and install a soft SIP phone on each laptop.  The extension could block everything except local calls.  Logs can be produced for each extension if you want to enable cell phone calling.  Guessing under $100/month.

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  Reply # 628497 21-May-2012 18:39 Send private message

Unless you have fiber I would think that 50+ phones running from a hosted PBX could cause a few issues.
Just a bog standard Asterisk system with FreePBX lets you do all those kind of things. You could just get call logs off it once a month to check calls. However, if you end up going VoIP you will probably get a plan with a whole bunch of free minutes and struggle to use the free minutes so you won't actually care how many calls are made.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 628504 21-May-2012 19:11 Send private message

I would have thought that there wouldn't be 50 teachers calling out all at the same time. Hosting their own Asterisk box presupposes that there is someone there to check the logs and make sure it remains secure.

In the long term all schools are supposed to get fibre.

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  Reply # 628519 21-May-2012 19:31 Send private message

Not everyone will be calling at once and TBH standard DSL can handle 3-4 concurrent calls just fine with the right quality of service settings. VDSL2 could tide them over till they get fibre and should improve the rest of the school's internet speeds too.

Not so sure on a credit system but its probably not necessary, FreePBX has a nifty reporting tool so you can just make sure each teacher is kosher with their calling. 50 teachers with a phone each is probably around $5k for phones and maybe $3k-$5k for setup. Ongoing maintenance and support is probably $100 and then a few trunks and toll calls may be another $100-$200.







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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 628523 21-May-2012 19:37 Send private message

We are in the process of getting fibre now (just started digging the ditch).  And the chances of having 50 teachers calling at once would be slim to none.

I guess I have to do some googling as I don't really understand what these systems are

I was thinking a purely software based system aka skype manager or something.  If they have to spend much money on hardware it simply won't happen.

 

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 628529 21-May-2012 19:44 Send private message

Just load a software based internet phone (SIP) on the Mac/PC that then connects to the PBX.  Costs nothing except time to install.  Then you can do all sorts of neat things.  Parents could leave messages for a specific extension, and teachers can page each other.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 628535 21-May-2012 19:50 Send private message

And for those teachers who want, they can spring for a physical SIP phone.  Probably can get one second hand for under $100.

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  Reply # 628546 21-May-2012 20:09 Send private message

blackjack17:

I was thinking a purely software based system aka skype manager or something.  If they have to spend much money on hardware it simply won't happen.

 


What kind of phone system do you have at the moment? Check out Callista. It is a purpose built PABX accounting software. We use it with Samsung systems but I believe it works with any system as it grabs information from the SMDR output - just about every system built has an smdr output. License isn't super cheap but it is very very good. In fact we have even put it on a school's system down our way. They have a hostel and had kids calling home all the time. Now the hostel kids have their own authorisation code each and calls are charged to their accounts.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 628585 21-May-2012 21:11

I dont know what the running costs of skype business manager would be - but it looks like there would be no setup cost apart from buying some credit.
I should think you should get some good performance especially once you are on fibre.

Pretty much all a teacher might need would be a $20 headset.

Are you reluctant to try it or want to hear of someone else who is using it in NZ?




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283 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 628595 21-May-2012 21:23 Send private message

robjg63: I dont know what the running costs of skype business manager would be - but it looks like there would be no setup cost apart from buying some credit.
I should think you should get some good performance especially once you are on fibre.

Pretty much all a teacher might need would be a $20 headset.

Are you reluctant to try it or want to hear of someone else who is using it in NZ?


I'm just a science teacher that is annoyed that I have organise with my HOD when ever I want to make a phone call home.  I don't get to make school wide IT choices

I was just wondering if there was a better system than skype out there (only reason I mentioned skype is that I have used it as a personal user for years).   

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  Reply # 628617 21-May-2012 22:04 Send private message

blackjack17:
robjg63: I dont know what the running costs of skype business manager would be - but it looks like there would be no setup cost apart from buying some credit.
I should think you should get some good performance especially once you are on fibre.

Pretty much all a teacher might need would be a $20 headset.

Are you reluctant to try it or want to hear of someone else who is using it in NZ?


I'm just a science teacher that is annoyed that I have organise with my HOD when ever I want to make a phone call home.  I don't get to make school wide IT choices

I was just wondering if there was a better system than skype out there (only reason I mentioned skype is that I have used it as a personal user for years).   

Do you have Wi-Fi access and a smart phone?




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283 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 628634 21-May-2012 22:37 Send private message

Bad wifi access (but workable) and yes a smart phone, but I don't want to use my personal skype as would be calling mainly cellphones (low decile school and many parents don't have land lines) and calling home 10 -15 times a week adds up even if its only a couple of minutes each time (some times it needs to be 10-20 minutes).  \

we can get the budget to make the calls, but it would be difficult for the hardware (stupid I know save a dollar to spend $50 but that is the way schools and government (and many big businesses are funded)

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 628830 22-May-2012 11:05 Send private message

Zeon: Ongoing maintenance and support is probably $100 and then a few trunks and toll calls may be another $100-$200.


$100 a month to support 50 teachers?  pity the IT person having to support that. Tongue Out

Also the connection would need to be dedicated, no way you could share a schools existing connection it will be getting slammed as it is.

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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 628833 22-May-2012 11:07 Send private message

There are two things here - LAN side VOIP and WAN side VOIP and as I understand your case, a LAN side VOIP solution coupled with the existing POTS line would suffice. And to do that, I'd recommend 3CX or arterix. Moreso 3CX because it is much easier to setup and use. It is basically a peice of softwware that can be installed on the existing windows servers with a negligible memory footprint. Also comes with free softphone client for Windows, Macs and smartphones. The server software is free (2 simultaneous external calls) but more features can be added by getting the business edition for approx. $900 which allows 8 simultaneous external calls. There is no limit on extensions.

It can be linked with POTS lines, ISDN BRI, VOIP or even Skype using the appropriate gateway. Link - http://www.3cx.com/

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  Reply # 629008 22-May-2012 15:14 Send private message

Just a thought, not everyone has a home phone so if you want teachers to call parents you'll have to give them cell access.




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