The Best Hardware for Vicidial

Just remember, it starts with your router.
Updated

Owning your dialer is a smart move—it’ll offer a higher return on investment than renting a Vicidial system from somebody else. However, before you even think about purchasing hardware, you’re going to need to get a few things in order:

Agents. You’ll need to determine how many sales agents will be using the system at the same time.
Static IP. Contact your internet service provider and get one ASAP.
Bandwidth. Your broadband connection will need to provide you with an upload speed of at least three to five megabits a second.

Why? If you don’t have a static IP address, you’re not going to be able to make and take calls, if your connection’s upload speed is too low your calls will have terrible audio quality, and if you don’t have an idea of the agents your system will serve, you could end up buying the wrong stuff. And don’t forget about the router.


The Amazing Product

Jonathan F. Doe

The Vicidial Group recommends splitting the database and web server when the number of agents in the call center is over 100 or when the number of active calls is over 500.

Vicidial Hardware Requirements PDF

Vital, But Overlooked: The Router

Far too many of my clients gave little consideration to their router, using whatever they had on hand when they got rolling. A slow or cheap router will melt down when you begin to dial hard, crashing or rebooting itself at the worst moment—killing calls and silencing your room. You’ll get one-way or no-way audio from a bad router, and sometimes everything will just stop working for no reason whatsoever.

I get many calls from clients who are at their wit’s end trying to figure out why, just when their room gets busy, nobody can hear anybody anymore. The first question I always ask is “what’s your router?” Their answers range from “huh” to whatever they bought on sale last Black Friday.

Don’t make the same mistake. You’ll build your router on the open-source pfSense platform. It’s powerful, rock-solid, stable, secure, and the software is free. There is no need to spend thousands of dollars on a Cisco router when the open source solution works great. A low-power PC is the perfect solution for a router that needs to be left on twenty-four hours a day. pfSense is very VoIP friendly, and its plugins and modules allow you to extend it to perform other services, such as content filtering to keep your agents off of Facebook or YouTube.

My Picks

  • MITXPC.
    Intel Atom D2500. Four-and-a-half stars from verified buyers on Amazon.
  • Dual LAN.
    Full gigabit networking means you won’t have to install a second card.
  • Fanless.
    Doesn’t make noise and is designed for low-power consumption. Combine it with a SanDisk low-power SSD to install pfSense onto and you’ll have a killer router fit for the gods.

On Amazon


1 to 30 Agents: The All-In-One

If your call room supports around a couple of dozen agents or less, then the all-in-one Vicidial server works nicely. This single server does everything, including hosting the web views for your agents, the audio, and the database. If you grow beyond the capacity of this server, then you add agent servers to this initial unit, creating your first dialing cluster.

Many of my clients want to buy the biggest, fastest, and latest hardware they can get their hands on when they first start out. I strongly recommend you do not. Vicidial runs on linux, and if the hardware is too new, drivers might not work. Also, Vicidial is designed to cluster across many small servers, not have everything housed in a honking speed demon of a machine for 100 agents. It simply won’t work. A nice, relatively-recent white box makes for a fantastic dialer. This configuration is cheap, easy to build and service, and similar configurations have worked for my clients for years.

My Picks

  • Less Than $750.
    Vicidial hardware can be dirt cheap if you’re willing to put the parts together yourself. The SHUTTLE SH67H3 makes for a great start.
  • 16 GB of RAM.
    8 GB of RAM will work for a single-server setup too, but 16 GB will allow this server to grow into a cluster database server nicely if needed.
  • SSD.
    Do not get a platter-based HDD, they’re just too slow. You’re going to be housing your recordings and system backups off-site anyway.

On Amazon

30+ Agents: Cluster DB Server

For more than 30 agents, you’re going to need to build a Vicidial cluster. The layout is simple: You’ll have a single database server (made up of the most powerful computer in the cluster), and all the servers your agents use will connect to that. Again, you’re only going to have one database server. Think of it as the hub in a wagon wheel (and the agent servers as the spokes).

Using this setup, Vicidial will scale to hundreds of agents easily (a simple rule of thumb is an additional agent server for every 25 to 30 agents). Assuming your router isn’t a piece of junk, you can simply keep plugging in inexpensive agent servers as your needs grow.

My Picks

  • Core i7.
    This system is almost exactly like the all-in-one, but for the more powerful Intel Core i7 CPU. Your database will use that extra power to fill requests for your many agents.

On Amazon


30+ Agents: The Agent Server

For every 25 to 30 agents, you’re going to use one of these connected to your cluster database server. The agent servers do not need to be as powerful as the database server, and because they don’t house the database, they need a lot less disk drive space, too. I have clients who have plugged over a dozen of these into their Vicidial cluster, and they work great.

My Picks

  • Core i5.
    There is no need to burn your money on extra CPU that the server won’t be able to use.
  • 8 GB of RAM.
    Because this server won’t be hosting the database, there is no need to waste money on unused RAM.
  • 120 GB of SSD.
    Again, as this server won’t be hosting the database, there is no need to waste money on a larger SSD.

On Amazon

Extra Credit: Get A Timer

Get a precision hardware timer to ensure call quality.

This timer is made by Amfeltec, plugs into the PCI Express slot, and works great.

You need only one of these for each agent server (or just plug one into your all-in-one setup).

William Ghelfi

Who Wrote This?

Hello. I’m Burk Morrison.

I’m a Vicidial consult that has been at this for a very long time. I’m also the creator of ViciRecordings, a popular Vicidial archiving site.

If you’d like to learn more about my Vicidial consultancy, you can get the low-down here.

Questions? Please drop me a line and I’ll do my best to answer them.