Asterisk is an open source telephony engine and tool kit that offers great flexibility and enables the creation of advanced communication solutions. The basic Asterisk software includes many features available in proprietary PBX systems: voice mail, conference calling, interactive voice response (phone menus), and automatic call distribution.
lies in its customizable nature, complemented by unmatched standards compliance.
No other PBX can be deployed in so many creative ways.
Unlike most PBX systems, Asterisk is an all-software approach to PBX. Instead of switching analog lines in hardware, it routes and manipulates Voice over IP (VoIP) packets in software. The backbone of the phone system usually becomes Ethernet, and phones can hook into that Ethernet backbone. Older analog (POTS) phones can still be supported by using gateway devices.
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Asterisk was built to handle VoIP calls. Significant savings can be had by using Asterisk to send all inter-office calls across the internet as well as reducing external call costs by using Mobile Telephone Gateways and accessing flat rate national call costs. It is not uncommon for the savings in call costs to pay for the acquisition of an Asterisk Phone System.
from Asterisk IT