Easy overhead Generic SIP Paging with an Allworx 6x PBX system

If you’re an existing Allworx customer and are enjoying the many benefits of your PBX system, you may be interested in a little upgrade. The phone system includes a paging ability, meaning that by pressing a programmed PAGE button, you can make an announcement over the loudspeaker of every Allworx phone on your network. Of course, specific phones can be excluded from this group, such as those in conference rooms. The Allworx 6x server is meant to be very customizable and does so quite well. There is an external audio output making the addition of a standard 70 Volt paging amplifier a breeze. The paging amplifier can be added to a Paging group of your choosing.

A particular client of ours, with a pre-existing Allworx phone system, was in need of an overhead loudspeaker system for their shop floor. Their shop included numerous manufacturing zones with differing ambient noise levels. They had some other unique uses of a loudspeaker system. Let’s sum up their requirements:

  • PA loudspeaker horns integrated with their existing phone system
  • Variable volume for each loudspeaker
  • Ability to use the loudspeaker as a Ringer for particular extensions, so users know they have a call when they’re away from their desk
  • Ability to address a single loudspeaker on occasion
  • Leverage their existing LAN infrastructure to minimize cost

Let’s take a look at the equipment used in this scenario:

  • 3 SNOM PA1 units, one at each zone
  • 3 POE Injectors to power each PA1 unit
  • Bogen Loudspeaker horns positioned strategically in each zone

Utilizing single POE injectors and the PA1 endpoints, we are able to integrate into the buildings existing LAN cabling and greatly minimize installation costs. In addition to reduced cost, we will also have an incredibly variable system versus a traditional single amplifier 70 volt system.

Alright, let’s dig in!

First, login to your Allworx 6x server and add a new Generic SIP device.

 

Since we would like to address each of these PA1 units individually at some point, we’ll set them each up as a Generic SIP device, each with a unique extension number. Also, with this extension number we can add the unit to a dial plan with an existing extension. For this client, each area of the production floor has a floor manager. Their PA1 will be set to ring with a unique ringer when their office phone is ringing. We’ll disable the Auto Answer feature so that the PA1 never picks up the call.

Now, unfortunately, the Allworx 6x will not allow us to add a Generic SIP device to a paging group. This seems to be a limitation of the unit, and may be resolved in future software updates. Luckily, there is a work around. Allworx does not make much mention of the multicast feature of the 6x, however it is functional. Browsing to the VOIP server section of the Allworx administration page reveals the IP and port of the multicast server:

 

Simply enter the multicast IP:port into the Multicast area of each of the PA1 units, and they will broadcast whenever a page is made.

 

New SNOM PA1 units and loudspeakers can be added at any time on this system. While not necessarily recommended, a wireless endpoint could be implemented as well. Due to the very tall ceilings of this manufacturing building, and fortunate existing network cable installation, we were able to install each speaker with minimal wiring.

The SNOM PA1 is a very useful device, however it is limited to 4W of output power. When coupled to a high efficiency 8ohm Horn, this is plenty for most low noise locations. Some areas of this noisy manufacturing plant did require additional amplifiers, which are very low cost. The SNOM PA1 also includes a line-level output to connect to the amplifier.

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