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Re: [school-discuss] Voice over IP for schools

On Wed, 2006-09-20 at 12:07 -0400, Daniel Howard wrote:
> 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. 

Not exactly. There is Skype-out which lets skype call normal POTS lines.

> 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. 

That'll teach 'em!

>  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.

NASA had the "Lunch with an astronaut" program. I don't know if it is
still going on.
> 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>).

Virtual fax to email gateways are nice, too. Since federal courts
established a faxed, signed contract is legally binding, then faxed
homework should be OK as well. :)
> 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?

Unless you _must_ have a physical handset, you don't need the 24 port
card. Use a softphone over TCP to connect to the Asterisk server. That
drops the cost of the FXS card out. Now all you need is a series of FXO
sockets (if you are connecting with a POTS line(s)).

This page : http://www.voip-info.org/wiki-Asterisk
is a good starting point. 
> Regards,
> Daniel
James P. Kinney III          
CEO & Director of Engineering 
Local Net Solutions,LLC        

GPG ID: 829C6CA7 James P. Kinney III (M.S. Physics)
Fingerprint = 3C9E 6366 54FC A3FE BA4D 0659 6190 ADC3 829C 6CA7

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