Tip

Beyond Asterisk -- Other open source PBXs

There seems to be a constant debate about the value of moving to an open source PBX. Asterisk is the first one that comes to mind, but it is not the only one available. There are pros and cons relating to the open source debate; these were covered in the previous tip, "Open Source PBX: Risk or Value?"

Asterisk is the best-known of the open source PBX offerings. Continuous development of the Asterisk code is provided by more than 400 community developers. The latest releases are 1.2.18 and 1.4.4. It is anticipated that the forthcoming release, 1.6, will add new features and capabilities and solve some problems. What many do not know is that there is a business edition of Asterisk, B.1, that is not free but licensed. B.1 may be of interest to more enterprises because it will be certified and supported as a product. Asterisk can also be connected to Microsoft's Exchange 2007 to provide a start to the migration to unified communications.

Some of the limitations that Asterisk release 1.6 will address are:

  • Issues with firewalls
  • Security problems that are not well publicized
  • V-mail must be resident on the same server as the call
  • Call Detail Records (CDR) that have limited tracking for events
  • Poor cluster support
  • Failover support
  • Limited call bridging
  • Limited call capacity and performance
  • Although I have cited Asterisk in relation to these problems, they also exist on other open source PBX

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