What is VoIP?
Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP is the transmission of voice and multimedia communications over the internet. IP Telephony is very similar to traditional telephony and is even somewhat backward compatible ad adaptive technology has been created to allow backward compatibility into traditional phone systems.
Packetized transmission and compression technology reduce overhead greatly compared to the cost of traditional phone networks and systems. VoIP has quickly become the industry standard for new phone system installations and upgrades and is currently the method of choice for corporate and unified communication systems worldwide.
What is VoIP?
Introduction to the Asterisk Open Source PBX
What is an Open Source PBX? Is it Really Free?
Asterisk is an open source framework for building communications applications. Asterisk turns an ordinary computer into a communications server. Asterisk powers IP PBX systems, VoIP gateways, conference servers and other custom solutions. It is used by small businesses, large businesses, call centers, carriers and government agencies, worldwide. Asterisk is free and open source. Asterisk is sponsored by Digium.
Today, there are more than one million Asterisk-based communications systems in use, in more than 170 countries. Asterisk is used by almost the entire Fortune 1000 list of customers. Most often deployed by system integrators and developers, Asterisk can become the basis for a complete business phone system, or used to enhance or extend an existing system or to bridge a gap between systems.
Asterisk is available free of charge under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Never let anyone charge you for a copy of the Asterisk PBX system.
More information on Asterisk can be found at https://www.asterisk.org/products/software
The Asterisk Open Source PBX
What is Open Source?
Not All VoIP Systems Are Created Equal
To the left is a diagram of a typical system we would install in a small office or retail environment with two separate locations. In this diagram, both a PSTN, Remote network and portable network are involved (web client). VoIP systems are versatile enough that almost any environment that can access the internet can support VoIP as long as the internet connection quality is high enough.
Please remember, this diagram does not express the limitations of a VoIP System. With the massive amounts of options, do not limit yourself creatively regarding what your phone system can actually provide. From Voice to Video and text messaging, do not hesitate to contact us today to start building your very own custom designed communications system.
Free vs. Paid PBX
The Free PBX systems such as Asterisk and Freeswitch are leading the way. These systems have grown to be extremely reliable, so reliable in fact that many paid or subscription based systems use these platforms. For example, FreePBX is built on Asterisk, and though FreePBX is free certain enhanced modules and add-ons require a subscription. Just because the software is free does not mean it is unreliable or lacks features.
Open source systems, however, do not manage themselves, there are many commercial solutions on the market from companies such as 3CX and Cisco which are managed solutions that provide enhanced security and real-time updates. Of course, these packages come at a very high cost.
It is typical to see an Asterisk server or device of some sort in just about every large-scale installation. Since VoIP systems have become so flexible the integration of open source technology into many commercial platforms has become common practice. Companies such as Digium produce hardware devices pre-loaded with Asterisk and ready for the Small office to Enterprise environment.
So whats the bottom line? Purchasing a commercial device built on an open source platform is a great median between commercial and open source. Companies that produce appliances such as Digium diligently work to secure, update and provide new features which take some of the management hassles out of your VoIP system.
How Can VoIP Technology Help My Business?
VoIP Technology is both flexible and expandable and will fit any size of business large or small. We highly recommend VoIP over standard traditional analog phone systems because:
- It is cheaper and more efficient
- Data services enable transport of many types of media over telephony devices such as video, text messaging, image transmission and more.
- Free solutions such as AsteriskNow, FreePBX, Freeswitch have proven to be very reliable and cost-effective
- VoIP devices can easily integrate with legacy technology
- Existing infrastructure such as Ethernet cabling and WiFi can be used to help reduce initial costs
- CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) is easier and more reliable, enabling easy interaction with customer service and customers
- Portability - Remote and portable extensions are quick and easy