What Is Asterisk ?

Would you like to find out what those-in-the-know have to say about ? The information in the article below comes straight from well-informed experts with special knowledge about .
Asterisk is an open creation PBX ( private branch exchange ) that provides unimpaired the functionality of high-reaching - end business telephone systems, and much more. It is the world's much flexible and extensible telephone system, providing multiplied features that are not after all available in even the most advanced proprietary systems. It is besides the world's cheapest telephone appearance. The software is free and runs on inexpensive Linux servers.

Asterisk was created by Impress Spencer of Digium ( formerly Linux Rib Services ), and is now sponsored by Digium. Digium manufactures analog and digital telephone earful interface cards that materialize to work particularly well with Asterisk. This gives the company a long - term profit motive to support Asterisk, which is trite one of the main reasons the Asterisk make headway has succeeded where other open source telephony initiatives have failed to generate enough momentum to reach completion. Asterisk is currently in its 1. 0 release, and sports a very practical range of features for an primeval - stage product. Among the features baked into the system are:

Full support for analog, digital ( T1, E1, PRI ) and VoIP telephone interfaces ( SIP, IAX besides H. 323 via external library )

Brace for VoIP and analog telephone handsets

Ability to lope in actual softswitch mode on generic Linux servers, Mac OS X and Windows ( via CoLinux )

Bent to handle hundreds of concurrent calls on a discrepant server

Extensive exposure of built - influence call management features ( e. g. call transfer, three - way occupation, all of the usual bells and whistles found on business phone systems )

Voice mail with forwarding to internet email accounts

Meet Me dial - in conferencing

Fully configurable extension numbering ( dial plan )

Automated call distribution ( for customer contact centers )

Melody on hold from a local recording or live MP3 or G. 711 audio stream

Widespread extensibility through AGI ( Asterisk Gateway Interface ), which allows developers to physique custom CGI programs that control the telephone style ( that is, interactive voice response systems )

Fat LGPL source code

What Amenability You Use Asterisk Whereas?
Although it is billed considering a telephone system, Asterisk is really much more than that. Because it provides a CGI interface ( as well through source code for the core application ), Asterisk is extensible in ways that no other telephone system is. Asterisk is first-rate characterized since a telephony operating system that happens to keep a full - featured trade telephone system as one of its built - in applications. Telephones are ubiquitous. Asterisk is a great platform for building interactive intonation response applications, such as:

Enhanced messaging services

Prepaid biz card systems

Knowledge services

Customer support services and besides call routing

Entertainment services

Age computer telephony applications are not new ( they've been around for well over a decade ), Asterisk dramatically lowers the investment principal to build them. Before, you would have had to stand together expensive telecom hardware from vendors such as Intel, NMS, Aculab, and others. These cards are typically priced per port ( concurrent caller ), generally about $200 per port. A homely fashion would cost $5, 000 to $10, 000, much new for substantial - scale systems. Over VoIP - matchless installations, there is zero hardware cost except for inexpensive off - the - projection servers. For installations that require interconnection to the public telephone network, Digium makes cheap T1 / E1 / ISDN interface cards.

I trust that what you've read so far has been informative. The following section should go a long way toward clearing up any uncertainty that may remain.

A quad span ( 96 - 120 ports depending on configuration ) costs only $1, 500, about one - tenth what equivalent hardware from Intel, NMS, et al., costs.

Asterisk runs on most Unix and Linux platforms, including popular Linux releases, as well as Mac OS Buss. You boundness also rush Asterisk on Windows using the CoLinux tool, although de facto requires a lot of RAM and disk leisure ( note to Digium: a regular Win32 port should be part of the release angle considering Version 2. 0 ). I don't know of any other phone system that runs on Mac OS X ( excitement to Apple: why not bake Asterisk interestedness X Servers? ).

Simply put, Asterisk is the most flexible and extensible telephone formation in existence. Full source code is available, so if you need a feature you can add it yourself. Although I must say, they've done a very comprehensive job with the first quietus. Try asking your current PBX vendor for full source code for their PBXs. Hell, just shot asking them for documentation.

Locale Can You Stir up Essential?
Asterisk is available at www. asterisk. org. You can download the package directly, or if you wish a cringe - wrapped CD - ROM install, you can order Asterisk Business Edition from Digium for $795. Many investigation - party software developers are building automated installation tools and other utilities that shape Asterisk easier to install besides more extensible.

Unfortunately, Asterisk is not a plug - and - play stab, and being effect release 1. 0, I would not benefit it to inexperienced users. Getting it installed and configured requires a substantial effort ( especially if you plan to use a VoIP telephone service provider such as Global Trek ). Third - party tools are easing the learning curve for common configurations such as a small office intercom system. Digium is also selling a pre - packaged Business Edition Disc release for $795 that automates many opener and configuration tasks. That spoken, Asterisk is an excellent choice for companies that are rolling managing their own computers and networks. The learning curve for Asterisk is long, but no more so than for other networked devices, double as firewalls. A proficient model administrator onus master Asterisk in a few weeks. Survey for better usability in the approach months over Digium upgrades the system, besides as third - party developers build equipment around Asterisk's shortcomings.

While factual would be smooth to critique Asterisk for being a bit rough around the edges, it's conspicuous to remember that most business telephone systems deliver a far worse user experience. Multiplied intercom systems are " programmed " by typing arcane sequences of numeric keys via telephone handsets. Editing a text config file on a PC is a piece of cake by comparison. If you have a decent compassionate of humdrum telecommunications services and can manage a resource such as an Apache server, you should have no trouble learning Asterisk. And in the long canter, the flexibility of the system will enable you to do things disguise your telephone arrangement that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive if not outright impossible.

Brian McConnell is an inventor, perform, and memoir telecom entrepreneur. He has founded three telecom startups since moving to California. The most recent, Unfastened Communication Systems, designs cutting - edge telecom applications based on open standards telephony technology.

by Brian McConnell

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21.7.11 delete

Agreed that Asterisk is no walk in a park... however, Di9ium decision to monetize on users learning curve (by selling products which are easier to use) may impede the growth of Asterisk as a whole.

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