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Asterisk - the best PBX

The benefits of an Asterisk PBX business phone system.

Asterisk is an open source telephony platform that combines a suite of telecommunication applications.  Built right into the software are many feature sets, such as call queues, voicemail, call treatments, music on hold and because of its very nature Asterisk, can be integrated with many other business applications to make for a customizable robust communications system.  Unlike traditional PBX software, Asterisk is highly flexible and can be made to achieve many end uses.  It is typically installed on to a Linux operating system, but even that can now be changed and it can be installed onto Windows or a Macintosh operating system.

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Consider open source & standards based hardware:

Asterisk is a PBX business phone system that does not require proprietary hardware to work, rather it can be installed on a regular PC or business server and use telephony equipment from numerous manufacturers which build to an open based standard.  Combining this fact along with the knowledge that Asterisk is a free open source software dramatically lowers the cost to get a complete business phone system, which will have all of the features of an expensive traditional PBX, and probably more, at a fraction of the cost.  Just about any feature that you can think of will also be included with Asterisk is open source and first developed by Mark Spencer of Digium.Asterisk.  And then there are many other software applications specifically written to integrate with Asterisk giving it more potential than any other telephony system around.

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Traditional PBX companies have had a lock on their customers who have been trapped by a cycle of expensive original purchases and then spend more money for costly upgrades, just to receive new features or get any improved versions of the software that they already have.  And because hardware is proprietary, have no where else to turn to and even then certain versions will not even work within the same manufacturer, requiring customers to face expensive decisions when contemplating expansions.  Add to this the licensing fees that get charged for certain feature sets or how many users can use those features, and the costs can become quite large.  But, finally telephony is going to become affected by open source technology, something that has been progressing slowly for the last nine years.  And with this last piece of the integrated data convergence, Asterisk has taken the lead and should be the open source PBX software of choice for the time coming.

VoIP is revolutionizing the data network, and with this revolution is bringing the last piece of the converged network, voice as just another data application.  Asterisk has many benefits, some of which are:

  • Being open source there are no license fees.
  • Choice of hardware, you're no longer locked into only one vendor.
  • You get numerous features, more than you might expect, and Asterisk has capabilities far beyond traditional PBXs.
  • Add features, turn off features, you're in control.
  • Scalable, Asterisk is not limited by the number of users, just put in place the proper hardware and your system can handle up to thousands of phones.
  • Administration, most Asterisk versions have a web based control panel.  (The more intuitive one is, the better.)
  • An Asterisk PBX integrates with your current network because telephony is IP.  Data and voice on the same network.

The benefits of Asterisk are great and your next business phone system should be an Asterisk system, but there are caveats to consider.  It is not an easy system to correctly configure or install for the first time.  It requires some previous knowledge and in most cases a decent knowledge of Linux for a company who wants to customize it.  And unless you have a person who can accomplish these items, you should consider a vendor who can deliver a system installed, preconfigured and ready to connect to your telephone provider.  And by choosing this alternative will probably save more money than going solo and doing it from scratch themselves.  That's not to say someone who has the time and abilities cannot do a good job on their own, it's just that it could be a "project".  If you choose the right vendor or company you'll still get all the benefits of Asterisk as your phone system and you'll  get to include some training on administering the system yourselves.  This in itself will save hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the course of a year for.  By doing your own adds, or extension changes, or call treatment changes in house, you save time and money.

more about an Asterisk based PBX