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Open Source VoIP Ready For Its Close Up - InternetNews.
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Open Source VoIP Ready For Its Close Up

Open source Voice over IP is ready for its close up. Asterisk, a popular Voice over IP PBX , has released version 1.0.0.

Asterisk is a software Private Branch exchange (PBX) that also acts as an IVR platform, as well as handling a myriad of other telephony related functionality. It is an open source project and licensed under the General Public License .

Features include support for caller ID services, three-way calling, Voicemail services with Directory, call queuing and call conferencing. It handles VoIP interoperability across a variety of protocols, including H.323 , Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) , Media Gateway Control Protocol (MGCP) and its own Inter-Asterisk eXchange (IAX) protocol that allows Asterisk to transfer calls from one system to another.

The 1.0.0 release doesn't introduce any new functionality to the application, according to at least one Asterisk developer, though it marks a significant milestone. "Most of Asterisk 1.0.0 changes have been bugs fixes to make Asterisk as stable as possible," Asterisk community member and developer Greg Varga told internetnews.com. "The 1.0 branch is the first true branch where there will only be bug fixes in it, and that means that we should see a really stable branch that everyone, especially Enterprises will be able to use."

According to Varga, Asterisk is used in a wide variety of setups, and is attractive because of its price. "Yes Asterisk itself is free, being open source, but it uses hardware that is less expensive then buying a whole package from, say, Cisco," Varga added. "Of course there are all the features Asterisk provides as well and if the feature isn't there, you can implement it yourself or hire someone to implement it for you."

Varga called the open source development model a competitive advantage for Asterisk. "This gives Asterisk a huge advantage over closed systems -- especially when it comes to hardware compatibility. If you need a fix to make some other hardware work with Asterisk, you can jump right on it," he said.

The extensibility of Asterisk is derived in part from it ability to be extended via its API's , AGI scripting interface and its dynamic module loader. The further development and future direction of Asterisk may further that extensibility. "I personally see Asterisk mirroring more of what Apache has done. In that Asterisk will allow modules to more easily hook into itself, making Asterisk even more expandable then ever before," the Asterisk community member said.

The VoIP bandwagon continues to gain momentum this year. Most recently, Ford Motor company revealed that it would be migrating 50,000 employees at 110 facilities to the technology. VoIP vendor Vonage has also seen its business grow along with awareness of VoIP. It recently raised another $40 million in venture capital to help expand its VoIP operations.