Skype For Asterisk Update

By Pete Engler

Well, it has been nearly six months since the announcement of Skype For Asterisk at AstriCon, so it is high time for an update.  So far we’ve been through several rounds of code with a very small pilot group.  The results are encouraging – since that initial demo call on stage at AstriCon, we’ve logged tens of thousands of hours of Skype-To-Asterisk communication.  We’ve also learned a lot about the art of connecting Asterisk with the Skype global network.  We continue to see a great deal of interest in this product (over 3,000 applications and counting) and we appreciate the patience of those waiting to test and ultimately consider purchasing it.  Hang in there, please!

For those of you who aren’t already in the know, Skype For Asterisk (SFA) is an add-on channel driver that integrates Skype calling with Asterisk-based telephony systems.  With SFA, businesses can build a presence on the Skype network, allowing customers to call in for free using Skype.  SFA also gives users business users access to low rates for inbound and outbound calling using SkypeIn and SkypeOut.

We receive many questions about what have Skype and Digium been doing since the announcement. The first step was to deploy the initial round of beta code for testing with a small group. That is now complete, and just this week we have opened up the testing to a second, larger group of testers. Once round two is complete the goal is to release a public beta and then the finished product. Beta feedback has been extremely positive so far and we have no doubt SFA will live up to its AstriCon hype!

The SFA product will be the only solution that integrates Asterisk directly with Skype. This is not a “proxy” solution and the call quality will be superior to anything else on the market. Customers will have the ability to make, receive and transfer Skype calls from within Asterisk phone systems, using existing hardware and existing Asterisk configurations: Skype calls become just another Asterisk call.

Some of the features that will be supported in the market release are:

1.       SkypeIn:  Receive calls from the public telephone network using standard phone numbers

2.       SkypeOut:  Make calls to landline and mobile numbers at incredibly low rates

3.       Standard phone features: Incoming/outgoing digits (DTMF), Caller ID

4.       Smart call routing based on called Skype Name, Caller ID, country of the caller, language they have chosen in their Skype client and etc.

5.       Retrieve Skype credit balance information

6.       Store and call PSTN and Skype contacts

7.       Retrieve and set Skype user presence information

8.       Support for G.711 and G.729 voice codecs

9.       Each Skype channel license includes a Digium G.729 codec license

Skype and Digium are working hard to deliver a first class solution that will allow businesses to save money, which is particularly important during the current economic times. We are striving to create a feature rich, stable solution with the best voice quality on the market today.

We are confident that this goal will be reached in the very near future.  Please stay tuned to this blog for more updates and keep an eye out for the announcement of the public beta.

Want to learn more about Skype for Asterisk?  Continue reading the next blog post.

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There Are 21 Comments

  • Angel says:

    Great to hear that! I am waiting for the release to check it out 🙂

  • Chris says:

    I understand this Skype thing is very secure. Some friends of mine use it all the time. I got lots of friends and we don’t like people listening in. You got an Italian version of this stuff?


    Silvio B.

  • Skype For Asterisk (SFA) Enters Second Beta Testing Group….

    Skype For Asterisk (SFA) was announced a while back when a demo call was conducted on stage at Astricon. Since then there have been a quite a bit of development at Digium behind the curtains. Digium announced today that the testing of Skype For Asteris…

  • ifly3years says:

    good news,
    waitting for realease…

  • Cant wait to add this to my teleconferencing solution.

    Looks like you guys are really really making sure its going to get a good wrap when it is released.
    Im two ways about it, im like … Give me, Give me. – but then its also good that you are being very methodical with making sure each and every bug is ironed out.

    Clint Davis

  • We are really excited to get a chance to try this out on our system. Asterisk and Skype are our two favorite VoIP applications and it is amazing to see them joining up to make a truly killer application.

  • slochewie says:

    Looks like Skype just opened up their codec and it does mention the digium/skype collaboration. Not sure if the link to the article I just read will show up, but just saw that on pcworld.

  • Michael says:

    any way to get skype’s codec to work from the client to the server. And then from the server to the Tel com whatever codec we want?

    Because using g729 from the server -> client will never be as good as skype’s proprietary codec. If there is any way communication from the server -> client or client -> server can maintain the skype codec it would be impressive.

  • TickTock says:

    Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock. Can you at least give us a decade when it will be released? It really can’t be *that* hard to create a channeldriver for use with a skype-proprietary libarary, can it :-(?

  • TickTock,

    Appreciate your interest in Skype For Asterisk (SFA). We have been done with the core channel driver for months, and work with Skype very closely as they develop the Business Control Panel (BCP). As the BCP continues towards release (date not announced yet), we have made continued tweaks to the driver and just released another version of the beta code. We shortly will go to global beta. We never expected this project to take so long, but the evolution of the BCP including its handling of Skype for SIP along with SFA has been a larger project as Skype moves to a business market and it will be worth the wait.

  • Bob says:

    It’s really a shame that this takes so long. I would guess that many people are waiting for this integration and it ‘s a surpise why i’t takes this long.

    One can only asume that if it works it will be a great boost for skype.

    The other problem is that there is hardly any communication about this project and people just have to guess.

  • Susan Potter says:

    Any news on this yet? Our coworking space would like to integrate Skype into our Asterisk system.

  • David says:

    So Gents, where are we on this?

  • I’m quite interested on integrating Skype into a new installation of Asterisk for our small office. Any updates?

  • Justin says:

    Where are we on this? I would really like to try this out… Plz throw us bone!

  • Osman Ahmad says:

    Is there an update on this?

  • John Todd says:

    Yes, there is an update! Here’s the message that went out today:

    Hello from Digium®
    We are pleased to announce the open beta of Skype For Asterisk is ready to begin and we look forward to you participation. To obtain your copy of the software, please visit Digium’s web store and purchase (for zero dollars) the Skype For Asterisk product. The web store does require a account, which can be set up during the purchase process if you don’t already have one.

    Once the web store process is complete, you will be e-mailed your license key and directions on where to download Skype For Asterisk beta software.

    The beta version of software and license keys will only be available for download through August 7th. License keys will expire on August 31st.

    Happy testing!

    Pete Engler,
    Product Manager

  • Toi Toi says:

    Hi, Neat post. There is a problem with your site in internet explorer, would check this… IE still is the market leader and a huge portion of people will miss your magnificent writing due to this problem.

  • Real says:

    Skype for Asterisk – end of sale – July 26, 2011 🙁

  • Miki800 says:

    ohh thats a real pitty! I am just setting up asterisk in my own home on an old linux laptop and I’m trying to connect it to the PSTN with a single RJ11 modem socket which I was able to use when I had XP on that machine to create PSTN calls with a windows software.

    although my hardware is not digium I would very much like to add the skype part to my asterisk, if only that would be possible I would be a very happy. a shame the entire project was abandoned 🙁

    anyone still has it installed? anyone knows of any good alternatives for PSTN to free IP like this skype over digium project?

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