Why Asterisk?

Asterisk as an Open Source System


Digium Inc. created and owns Asterisk, the most widely used open source communications software. Since its founding in 1999, it has become the open source alternative to proprietary communication providers, with cost effective VoIP solutions that cost as much as 80 percent less.

The name “Asterisk” was chosen because it was both a key on a standard telephone and also the wildcard symbol in Linux and, like the wild-card, Asterisk can be virtually anything… Asterisk was originally built as a Asterisk PBX and today represents an astonishing 18% of global market for business telephone systems, as it includes many of the most popular and powerful IP PBX functions. Today Asterisk is being used in over 170 countries worldwide.

Asterisk turns an ordinary computer into a communications server that can power IP PBX systems, VoIP systems gateways, conference servers and other communication applications.

Contact Center SoultionsMedium businesses, large enterprises, call centers, carriers and governments are currently using Asterisk to create standards-based, feature-rich communications systems at a fraction of the cost of proprietary systems. Digium estimates that more than one million servers around the world are currently running Asterisk to handle billions of minutes of phone calls.

Within the proprietary arena, the fact that a customer might only need 5 out of 500 features is ignored, and that customer’s desire to have 5 unavailable features that address the needs of his business is dismissed as unreasonable. Asterisk addresses this problem directly and solves it. Furthermore, by virtue of being an open source system, community-driven development effort, it is uniquely suited to the kind of rapid development that standards compliance demands.

Asterisk does not focus on cost-benefit analysis or market research. It evolves in response to whatever the community finds necessary.

“If I have an existing phone system in place, how can Asterisk be deployed? How can this cost-effective solution be introduced in my business?”


IP PBX, VoIP Systems and IVR Systems Application


Asterisk’s flexibility allows it to be applied to IP PBX systems, VoIP gateways, Call Centre systems, IVR systems and tailored cost effective VoIP solutions.

Asterisk can be used as a fantastic bridge between an old PBX (Private Branch Exchange, i.e. a telephone exchange that serves a particular business or office) and the future. It can be placed in front of the PBX as a gateway (users migrated off the PBX as needs dictate), or behind the PBX as a peripheral application server. You can even do both at the same time!

Companies that have spent vast sums of money in the past few years buying proprietary PBX equipment want a way out of the proprietary jail, but they can’t face the thought of throwing away all of their otherwise functioning equipment. Asterisk can solve these dilemmas, from replacing a voicemail system to providing a way to add IP-based users beyond the nominal capacity of the system.

If a legacy telephony connection from an Asterisk PBX to an old PBX can be established, Asterisk can provide access to VoIP Systems, while the old PBX continues to connect to the outside world as it always has.

Asterisk PBXAs a gateway, Asterisk simply needs to emulate the functions of the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) and the old IP PBX won’t know that anything has changed.

Asterisk has been adopted by call centres around the world based on its flexibility. It has also added new life to existing contact center solutions by adding remote IP agent capabilities, advanced skills-based routing, predictive and bulk dialling, and more.

Asterisk is primarily developed on GNU/Linux for x/86 and runs on GNU/Linux for PPC along with OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and Mac OS X. Other platforms and standards-based UNIX-like operating systems are reasonably easy to port for our supplier engineers who offer a varied skillset based on Linux Administration, VoIP Systems and Legacy Telephony, TCP/IP networking and Script Programming knowledge.

It is therefore simple to conclude that Asterisk is the ideal solution for any market segment where there is a need for unified communications reliability, from product manufacturers to system integrators, from corporate requirements to SME solutions.