As the world moves inevitably closer to an all IP network (even though it will take a long time to get there), you will want to create some kind of all IP enterprise communication solution. How should you start?
First of all, you’d start with available software. There is no need to really utilize any specialized hardware, such as was required for PSTN networks. You’d want to create a software solution that could either be loaded onto a standard server or be able to run via a VM on data-center servers so your solution is able to be offered in the cloud. And you’d probably want to start with open source software out there to use. Something that is not so low level that it’s hard to understand, yet something that is pliable enough to do what you want it to do. Asterisk or FreePBX are great places to start depending on what you want to do.
As many of you know, Asterisk is an open source framework for building communications applications, which means it is essentially a communications development toolkit or platform – a very advanced one at that. While platform in this context and CPaaS are overwrought terms, platform does really apply well to what Asterisk is. It’s a base, and you build something using it.
It already comes with many call flows and media functions which you could take in different directions. While the most well known application from Asterisk is a PBX, it doesn’t have to be an PBX. You can also build a voice and/or video conference server, voice and/or video mail server, text messaging over either SIP or PSTN, text to speech, speech recognition, etc. It really depends on what you wanted to do.
FreePBX is built on Asterisk, and is really an open source PBX application. So one step higher up the solution chain from Asterisk. It still has many of the media functions as part of it because Asterisk is there, but it’s a PBX at heart. And also still open to custom tuning depending on what you want the PBX to do.
Sangoma offers both Asterisk and FreePBX, and offers many of the add-ons required to form a solution, such as SIP trunking, phones, and gateways. Come learn more!