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[school-discuss] Voice over IP for schools

Folks, we may get to experiment with VOIP at Brandon sooner than I thought! Here's what I was thinking: we want to be able to do local calls to all student homes, some of which don't have PCs and/or broadband, so that rules out Skype or the open source stuff I think. For example, one telephone application I've seen effectively used in other elementary schools is to have students call their parents from the classroom when they didn't do their homework, etc. Another application is to have conference calls with Nasa experts during their lunch (I think it was Nasa that had that program), or conceivably parents could give talks from work during their lunch time. And conference calls with French schools would be fun for our kids.

Since we have phone lines run to each room, I'm thinking a Vonage box with 3 lines (about $100/month) or three VOIP lines from our cable provider (we already have a cable modem in the school) and a low cost PBX. And assuming the phone lines have all four wires connected, teachers could also use the fax capability built into some of their printers (hmmm, would homework still be late if it was faxed to the room <grin>).

We'll need a PBX into which we can plug 40 or so lines, the Asterix open source PBX would run over $4000 for two of their 24 port cards, not counting the price of the Linux PC used as the PBX, has anyone tried this with Asterix? Any other ideas?


Daniel Howard
President and CEO
Georgia Open Source Education Foundation