Frequently Asked Questions

What is a VPS?
It is a Virtual Private Server. This means that it is a server private to you but runs on shared hardware which also runs a number of other peoples VPS systems.

What is FreePBX?
FreePBX is a web front end system integrated into the open source Asterisk IP telephony engine. It makes using the system very much easier as it provides a web front end and builds dial plans for you to control system activity as well as providing additional features such as call data records and a user portal to listen to voicemails and call recordings.

What is Asterisk?
Asterisk is an open source telephony engine developed originally my Mark Spencer of Digium. It is the core of the PBX system and it handles the flow of calls through the system.

How log does it take to setup a FreePBX VPS?
The setup of the VPS takes less than a minute once you have entered all of your details and created an account.

Do I need to buy new VoIP phones for everyone?
No, not necessarily. Whilst having a proper VoIP phone is a good idea and provides the best possible quality you don't need one. You can use a soft phone such as Zoiper or X-lite which are both free. Soft phones can run on PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Or you can use an analogue telephone adapter (ATA): this allows you to plug in a normal analogue phone.

Which models of handset can I used with FreePBX?
You can use pretty much any SIP based handset. We don't dictate who you should use to supply this equipment. Ideally you should use a handset supported by the FreePBX end point manager (EPM) as this makes them easier to control and provision. Have a look here for devices tested with EPM: http://wiki.freepbx.org/display/FCM/EPM-Supported+Devices

What is end point provisioning?
A VoIP phone needs to be configured to allow it to use a system or service. Remote provisioning allows the phone to be provisioned by the telephone system centrally. The phone will download it's configuration from the central system. In this way changes to the system will be reflected on the telephone handset (e.g. change of name or extension number).

What if my broadband goes down?
If your Internet connection goes down then your VoIP number(s) can be diverted to an alternative landline or mobile. Because your PBX is still running you can still receive calls that will go to voicemail or you could login to your telephone extensions from a different location (e.g. home).

What if my PBX config gets messed up?
If this happens then we are hear to assist. You can take regular backups of your PBX system and if the configuration gets messed up either deliberately or my mistake then it's pretty easy to restore from the last backup. If the worse happens and your PBX is totally corrupted for any reason we keep image backups of all PBXes and can restore them within a couple of hours (or less in most cases).

What about porting my existing numbers?
You can port numbers from most providers. Whether that be BT or another landline or VoIP provider. This process is handled by the ITSP (Internet Telephony Service Provider).

How do I get calls into my PBX?
You need what is called an ITSP (Internet Telephony Service Provider). They will provide SIP or IAX2 trunking which connects to your PBX and allows for inbound and outbound calling. They will also provide you with telephone number to use on your system. You can then setup inbound routes to allow different numbers to be handled in different ways. You can even have different ITSPs providing separate trunks.

How do I make calls from my PBX?
Again you need an ITSP. They will provide a trunk that allows you to make outbound calls. You can setup outbound routes to allow different types of call (national, international, premium rate, etc) to be handled in different ways. You can even have different ITSP handling different types of calls (maybe you get cheaper calls from mobiles from one, and cheaper overseas calls from another).

I have different offices around the country. Can they share one PBX?
Yes they will all simply be extensions off the same phone system. You can register different numbers for each office if you like so they can get their own geographic number. In this way inbound calls can then be transferred between offices without having the caller redial.

Will calls between my different offices be free?
Yes, if all of your offices are on one PBX system then calls between offices are free.

What sort of inbound numbers can I have?
This is down to your choice of ITSP. You can have pretty much any number that you want. You can choose any UK geographic number, or a non-geographic number (e.g. 0870, 0845, 0330) or even a freephone number. Many ITSPs will provide you with overseas numbers as well. So if you do a lot of work in Spain or France you could have a Spanish or French number that links back directly to your UK PBX.

I operate a call centre. Can I do that on a hosted system?
Yes of course. FreePBX has many built in features for handling ACD queues and agents. It also supports call recording “out of the box”. If you want more advanced call handling and reporting you could always look at adding Queuemetrics which can be used as an addon to FreePBX and provides a host of features and reports designed to provide full control of almost any contact centre environment.

What if we outgrow the hosted system?
The hosted system can be expanded as required to support a large number of users. Standard system can support 25-35 concurrent calls. However if you grow past this point then we can expand your system past this point. If you decide that an onsite PBX is better for you then that is no problem. Because the system is a standard FreePBX system you can take a backup of the system and simply restore this (with a few minor changes) to an onsite system running exactly the same software. They sky is then the limit in terms of supporting users and call volumes.

What if we already have an onsite FreePBX/Asterisk system?
If you already have an onsite system but you see the need for a hosted system as well then the two systems can be trunked together. If you had a large head office with 100 users and want to keep an onsite PBX but you have 10 branch offices with 2-5 users each then a hosted PBX can support the branch offices and this system can then be trunked to the head office. In this way all users are just extensions that can call each other for free and the branch offices don't rely in the head office connection being available for their extensions to function.

What do you mean by the concurrent call range supported by each configuration?
We give a concurrent call range for each system. This is just an estimate and depends upon how you use the system. For example a lot of conferencing activity puts extra load on the system and can reduce the number of concurrent calls it can handle.

My broadband connection isn't great. Can I still use VoIP?
The answer is: it depends. Upload speed is critical. It depends how many concurrent calls you need to make. The best thing to do is a speed test. As a rule of thumb you can make one concurrent call for every 120Kb of upload speed (leave about 250Kb for overhead). So if you have a business broadband with an upload speed of 768Kb then you can probably make about 4 concurrent calls. You need to be careful if you are sharing the bandwidth with lots of web browsing and downloading as this can affect call quality.

I have a specific custom requirement. Can you help?
We can undertake custom dial plan development if required. This can include database enabled systems or even telephone payment systems.