Keeping Your Workforce Safe and Connected During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Introducing our guest contributor:

Ben has been doing Linux based IT support and networking for over 25 years, and has been doing VoIP sense asterisk 1.2.

His company VOICE1, provides Managed Switchvox Support and custom product integrations for small and large customers across the US and Canada as well as SIP trunking services.

When he’s not tinkering with technology and automations, he can be found enjoying the Pacific Northwest and being surrounded by animals.


As US business and the world is taking preventative measures for the coronavirus pandemic it is important for many businesses to remain accessible to their customer base.

If you have a Switchvox and are considering sending/allowing staff to work from home the following information will be helpful to you.

Allow Staff to Bring Deskphones Home

If you already have desk phones and your system is configured to allow external access you may want to allow your staff to take their desk phones home with them. This has the advantage of:

  • Assuring no one else uses their equipment and reducing the chance of spreading infection.

  • Allows your staff to work with existing setup and not have to ‘learn’ something new at a time where everyone is on high alert and already stressed.

  • IT staff can focus on a centralized solution vs individual users, allowing rapid setup.

How to Enable Remote Users

Assure that you have adjusted your firewall to allow remote SIP access and HTTP/s access.

Make sure that you authorize only allowed SIP services by IP.

Adjust the ACLs on your Switchvox to match your requirements

Adjust the ACLs on your Switchvox to match your requirements.

Best practice is to create a new network rule for each of your remote users.

However many of you may need a faster simpler approach. You can enable SIP and optionally Web and API access for “All Networks”.

This should only be done if you have your Switchvox behind a firewall and have the proper ACL permissions on your firewall. If you have not properly secured your firewall you will be exposing your phone system to public access.

We do not recommend turning on “Never Block IP’s” at all. We also recommend setting per work IP restrictions, as soon as possible.

Phone Networks

Update the “Phone Networks” to be sure that you have a DNS name pointing to your PBX that can be reached from the public internet and properly forward to your Switchvox.  You can use just an IP, however you will have a warning about not having a proper SSL certificate. If you have properly set up your Switchvox you should have a valid SSL certificate already in place.

Switchvox Desktop Softphone

Switchvox Desktop Softphone

Setting up your Switchvox for use with the free Desktop Softphone is a little easier.

You first need to assure that port 443 is forwarded to your Switchvox.

Make sure to limit your firewall to only allow access from authorized sources to avoid exposing your system to the public internet.

Edit Image

Next to each extension you will have 4 icons to the left. The third one allows you to manage phone assignments.

Clicking the Manage Phone icon will let you edit or assign new phones.

You have 2 options.

  1. Add an additional phone extension with phone-type “Switchvox Desktop Softphone”

  2. Edit a phone extension to set phone-type to “Switchvox Desktop Softphone”

If you choose to add an additional phone you will need to adjust the users individual call rules so that the new additional phone will ring with incoming calls.  For many the simple process is to just re-assign the to only a softphone.

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