Thursday, January 13, 2005

A nice overview about Asterisk

Asterisk VoIP PBX Communications Platform

George Ou has written an nice overview in his column on Asterisk. An excerpt:

As the commoditization and open sourcing of operating systems and applications continue to disrupt the software companies, telephony vendors have so far enjoyed a relative calm in the closed and proprietary phone systems market with substantial profit margins. That could now all be turned on its head with the proliferation of open source VoIP and PBX software. There are now a handful of these open source telephony platforms such as OpenPBX and Pingtel, but one of the most interesting is Asterisk, which even has its own communication protocol IAX in place of SIP for unified signaling and data transport.
Although it’s easy to think of Asterisk as just another VoIP server, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Asterisk is an extremely flexible communications platform that can serve as a VoIP Signaling Server, a Media Gateway (allows IP telephony to interface with analog phones, fax machines, or PSTN lines), a traditional analog or TDM-based PBX phone system, voice mail, IVR, Unified Messaging, and too many other things to list! For example, you can build a phone system that can support 72 analog telephones or fax machines, 100 IP hard or soft phones on site or remote, a T1 line to the public telco for 23 simultaneous external PSTN connections, multiple IP-based IAX trunks to multiple remote offices for seamless toll-bypass 4-digit dialing, IVR, and almost unlimited voice mail for everyone – for under $6,000 in a 1U chassis. Such a price point is easily 10 or more times cheaper than a commercial alternative. Here is a graphic illustration of such a system

Asterisk is a very cool piece of software. No doubt a lot of asterisk based voip providers will pop up this year. I can't wait to get some free time to play with it.


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