Author: Jim Machi – VP of Marketing, Sangoma
The world is moving inevitably closer to an all IP network, though it will still take a long time to get there. If you wanted to create some kind of all IP enterprise communication solution, how would you start?
There’s no real need to utilize any specialized hardware, like that required for PSTN networks, so you’d start with available software. 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 datacenter servers, so your solution would able to be offered in the cloud. And you’d probably want to start with available open source software, something that is not so low level so 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 applies really well to what Asterisk is. It’s a base, and you build something using it.
Asterisk 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 want to do.
FreePBX is built on Asterisk, and is an open source PBX application, placing it 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. It’s also still open to custom tuning depending on what you want the PBX to do.