Anatoly Erofeev

Telephony Asterisk and Bitrix24

Please send your questions about the article to info@intervolga.ru

Building a company can be daunting. Setting up an account system, a task tracker for projects, keeping tabs on document flow and of course, setting up a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM). How can I, a company executive, managing a 200+ plus staff ensure that there’s smooth communication and workflow in my company, and with my clients. How can I organize all incoming calls into a controlled information flow and ensure the integrity of this data?

This is where integrating Bitrix24 with Telephony systems comes in. 

In the corporate Bitrix24 portal, there are two ways to work with telephony:

  1. Free Virtual PBX and Free Cloud PBX

  2. Connecting your own Private Branch eXchange (PBX)


Free Virtual PBX and Free Cloud PBX

Free Virtual PBX and Free Cloud PBX is available for both cloud and on-premise Bitrix24 users. Here, you use Voximplant, an inbuilt Bitrix24 telephony system. 

To get started with Standard Telephony, sign a contract with Bitrix for the rental of a room. You can rent toll-free numbers and local numbers in 40+ countries for $6-$11/month (plus a one-time “installation” fee up to $80 for some locations).

Incoming calls are free, except for 1-800 numbers. You can not select other operators or call rates. 

After setting up the call room, all outgoing calls from Bitrix24 will be from one of your rented numbers (set in the portal settings). Bitrix24 will receive and record all calls to your rented numbers.

You decide the numbers customers see when your company calls them. This can be either one of the rented numbers or the number of your sales department. You can change numbers once every 3 months for free.



As you can imagine, there are certain drawbacks to this system

  1. Building and maintaining PBX by yourself is very expensive.

  2. You are completely dependent on Voximplant servers.

  3. All details of phone conversations are stored on Bitrix24 and Voximplant servers. You do not have total control over your data.

2. Setting up a PBX

You can integrate Bitrix24 with almost any modern IP PBX. The most popular IP telephony system in the world (1 million installations) is Asterisk, which will be our case study.

There are 2 methods of setting up a PBX:


Method one: duplicate traffic through Bitrix24

If you already use a cloud or on-premise PBX in Bitrix24, there’s a simple integration mode you can use following the steps below:
  1. Go to PBX, create a new account for Bitrix24.

  2. Enter the IP address of the PBX, login and password.

  3. Activate “SIP connector” mode in Bitrix24. 

It’ll cost $16/month (less if you pay for 1 year) and your PBX operator covers the cost of all your calls. The call processing logic is in Bitrix24.

The main advantages of this method: simplicity and high installation speed.


Please note!!

This method adds a new node to the classic Bitrix24 provider-PBX-phone chain. The drawbacks are:

  1. A failure in Bitrix24 breaks the telephony.

  2. Voice traffic goes first to Bitrix24, then to PBX. If the Bitrix24 and PBX servers are located in different parts of the country, it can lead to serious delays during conversation with customers.


Method Two: Using Bitrix24 as an “interface” to your PBX

In a situation where a company already has a PBX system with rules set up, that works perfectly, there’ll be a reluctance to migrate this system to Bitrix24 telephony. And you actually don’t need to. You can simply integrate your PBX system with Bitrix24 either by using an application from Bitrix24 marketplace or directly. Here,

  1. Your PBX operator pays for all calls.

  2. The call processing logic is completely in your PBX.

  3. The standard “conversation in the browser” bitrix24 function becomes unavailable. Hence, you’ll need to install a (free) “softphone” on the employee’s PC. 

  4. CRM cards are displayed for incoming and outgoing calls.

Aside these, everything is same with the first method.

Your Asterisk configurations determine how you can integrate telephony with Bitrix24. If you already installed FreePBX panel, then use this  Asterisk-Bitrix24 Integration application.

If you have a “bare” Asterisk, then integrating it with Bitrix24 is already more complicated. We can help you with that - Contact us.


What you need to configure Asterisk + Bitrix24

  1. A separate server running CentOS 7 or higher for Asterisk. (The newer, the better).

  2. A processor. Asterisk capacity requirements are small. Each active conversation takes 100–200 MHz. For a company with 10 phone operators, a 1 GHz processor is sufficient.

  3. Hard disk: the more space, the more records of conversations you can store.

  4. Bitrix24 (cloud or on-premise). Integration with external telephony is available at all rates. 

Important!  Bitrix24 tariff limits do not affect Asterisk. You can talk as much as you want and  Asterisk records all calls.

  1. Asterisk. We used the latest available version, 15.5.

  2. Asterisk web interface - FreePBX 14 (optional).

  3. IP telephony account with a provider to get an external number. We used zadarma.com.

  4. Softphone or an IP phone for testing. Choose any, you can’t go wrong. We used two: X-Lite and Zoiper , and were pleased with both.

  5. Application to Bitrix24 for integration with Asterisk. $32/month( free for 2 users). Required if there is an integration task with the FreePBX interface. For the “bare” Asterisk, you don’t need to install the application, but you need a programmer-administrator to configure it.

We do not recommend installing Asterisk on the same server as on-premise Bitrix24, as an accidental interruption of the site’s work will adversely affect the telephony of the entire office - a work catastrophe. 

Having a separate server for telephony is ideal, but it’s possible to run Asterisk on a separate virtual server.

Integration scheme:


All phone calls from your customers to the number purchased from the provider will be sent to your Asterisk server. Depending on your settings (dialplan), the server can:

  1. Transfer a call to an employee’s softphone or VoIP-phone.

  2. Transfer a call to an employee’s mobile when they’re out of the office.

  3. Enable voice menu.

  4. Suggest to record a voice message.

  5. Queue clients when all phone operators are busy and count down the minutes to when an operator will be available.

  6. Make you some coffee. Haha. The possibilities for expanding telephony are simply limitless.

When an employee receives a call, Bitrix24 opens a window with information about the client, while the softphone opens a call window.



Asterisk saves all available information about calls (date, duration, recording, quality assessment and audio file) to its database and sends Bitrix24. This information is available in Bitrix24 in the FreePBX web interfaces.

Statistics in Bitrix24

Статистика в FreePBX

Statistics in FreePBX


Why own telephony?

  1. The more employees involved in over-the-phone negotiations, the more strain on your server. You need a telephony server dedicated to calls as Cloud Bitrix24 can’t handle this.

  2. Full data control: PBX has its own network compartment.

  3. Ability to set up your own voice menu or call processing logic. All Bitrix24 plans and editions have inbuilt telephony configurator.

  4. You can use utilize cheap call rates to different cities by different VoIP providers using the logic rules you create.

  5. To get conference calls and other functionalities lacking in cloud PBX.

  6. You can connect a standard telephone cable to the server with Asterisk(IP telephony + traditional telephone lines).


What we offer

Installing and configuring Asterisk PBX can be a long, complicated and frustrating process if you try to do it yourself. We will take the whole stress off your hands. 

We

  1. Install Asterisk.(If you already have an old version of Asterisk running, we install a new one and transfer your old settings to it).

  2. Install a database, web server and php interpreter.

  1. Install FreePBX interface (optional / on request)

  2. Connect purchased number from provider to your Asterisk.

  3. Configure Network and security.

  4. Create short extension numbers for employees, connect softphones and VoIP devices. We will help you to set up the first 5 devices, provide instructions for setting up subsequent ones.

  5. Configure dialplan settings: call groups, queues, voice menu, etc. according to your requirements.

  6. Integration with Bitrix24.

Important! You will need to configure both routes within the network and configure interaction with the outside world, if employees will use telephony outside the office. This however, increases the vulnerability of telephony. 

Подключение внутреннего номера на софтфон

Under optimum conditions, integrating Asterisk and Bitrix24 takes us 2-3 work days. It could be longer depending on your specifications, and if we have full access to your server, system administrator and Bitrix24 portal. 

Also,

  1. We help you reach a favourable agreement with an SIP-provider and set up calls for five employees. 

  2. After completing the work, we give you instructions for managing telephony (to add new employees). The cost of the service $800.

  3. For any additional services (setting up voice menu, complex forwarding), we estimate in hours, and then execute at our hourly rates($40).


For enquiries about this article and Bitrix24 integration with other platforms, write us at  info@intervolga.ru
  • 27.05.2019