This information is provided without warranty – although I have been using this configuration successfully for over 12 months.
In FreePBX there is a module which has changed it’s name but remains an extremely useful one. Day/Night control, now called Call Flow Control, allows you to set a toggle-switch to change how a call is routed within the system. Typically this could be a Day or Night mode service, but you might also want a ‘We are closed for Christmas’ message for example. Using an announcement as the ‘night’ destination, using a recording linked to a feature code before going to a voicemail box, gives you a very quick way to temporarily close the office, with whatever message your users want to record themselves.
However, the module has a limitation; it only allows you to setup Callflows 0-9, for a total of 10 call-flow options. Should you need more than this, you would either need to program them manually, or else you can edit the module thus:
(This information was taken from here: http://www.freepbx.org/forum/freepbx/users/number-of-day-night-mode-controls-available-in-freepbx although this guide is a more basic version of the proposed patch)
The PBX in a Flash (PIAF) template provided when ordering a SysAdminMan VPS has been updated to version 22.214.171.124 Purple.
This includes Asterisk 126.96.36.199 and FreePBX 2.8.
Please see here for more information on a hosted PBX in a Flash virtual server – http://sysadminman.net/pbx-in-a-flash-hosting.html
When you start looking at control panels for Asterisk it can be difficult to decide what you should be using – FreePBX or A2Billing.
While they are both web GUIs for setting up Asterisk, they are used for different things and which one to choose depends on your needs.
Here is a brief description of both to help you decide –
- Used for setting up extensions and trunks for inbound and outbound calls
- Includes lots of features of a traditional PBX – voicemail, IVRs, ring groups, queues etc.
- Includes Call Detail Records (CDR) that logs all calls, their destination and duration
- Used for billing for calls
- Can be used to charge for calling card, sip user or regular outbound calls
- The heart of A2Billing are the rate cards that include the per minute cost for all destinations allowed to be called
- Least cost routing with multiple rate cards with the cheapest route being chosen
- Admin and customer interfaces
So FreePBX is used to setup Asterisk with the features of a ‘traditional’ PBX and A2Billing focuses on billing for different types of calls.
It is also possible to combine the two and use A2Billing to account for outbound calls for extensions setup within FreePBX.
A2Billing is more complicated to setup than FreePBX. While it’s possible to setup an extension and trunk in FreePBX and start making calls very quickly there is quite a learning curve with A2Billing. Managing rate cards which hold all destinations and their cost can be quite complex.
All VPS templates offered by SysAdminMan include FreePBX – SysAdminMan, Trixbox, Elastix and PBX-in-a-flash
The following two templates include A2Billing – SysAdminMan and Elastix
If you’re using FreePBX or one of the distributions that use it such as Trixbox, Elastix, PBX-in-a-Flash and are having a problem with IVRs being slow to respond it it is worth checking that you do not have “Enable Direct Dial” enabled for the IVR.
This option allows a customer to dial an extension number rather than an IVR menu option but this means that FreePBX has to wait to see if an extension number is being dialled, which can introduce a delay.
If you don’t need callers to be able to dial extensions from an IVR then you can turn this option off.