Users and customers frequently asked why Digium offers both the free-and-open Asterisk engine and the commercial Switchvox solution. Asterisk ® Digium is the creator and primary sponsor of the Asterisk project. Asterisk is an open source communications engine that transforms commodity computers into powerful versus ® communications servers. Asterisk is free. Digium also makes and sells Switchvox, a turnkey unifiedSwitchvox ® communications system (IP PBX) based on Asterisk. Switchvox is far less expensive than competitive IP PBX and UC systems based on proprietary technologies, but it is not free. Users and customers frequently asked why Digium offers both the free-and-open Asterisk engine and the commercial Switchvox solution. The answer is simple: while both products fit into the larger universe of telecommunications technologies, they have very different purposes and are geared towards very different audiences.
Asterisk handles low-level details of Where Asterisk is an engine, Switchvox With raw Asterisk, the process of config-initiating, maintaining and manipulating web applications, a telephony server does nothing without telephony applications. Web is a complete vehicle. The Switchvox uring phones is entirely manual. Each phonecalls between phones. applications can be as simple as single static development team has spent the past must be independently set up by the system HTML page or as complex as Facebook or six years creating a powerful unified administrator. Switchvox automatically det- Switchvox is a powerful Google. Likewise telephony applications can communications system that anyone with ects and configures phones, making it easy Asterisk is built by and for communication be very simple scripts or hugely complex unified communications system a minimum of computer experience can to deploy and manage users. Switchvox systems developers. The open source project began in 1999 when Mark Spencer suites of application software. that anyone with a minimum of manage. Where Asterisk is built for telecom also detects and configures Digium interface released the original Asterisk source code Low-level engines like Asterisk and computer experience developers, Switchvox is built for small and cards, making it easy to connect to the and began accepting submissions from a Apache are extremely powerful precisely can manage. mid-sized businesses that need a powerful, PSTN. Setting up SIP trunks and tie-lines to growing community of users. The resulting because they have no fixed function or cost effective phone system. other VoIP systems is even easier. product is an engine that handles all of the Asterisk is an engine. Switchvox is a complete vehicle. low-level details of initiating, maintaining and manipulating real-time media streams (calls) between endpoints (phones). Since the initial release it’s been tested and refined by a community of more than specific purpose set by their creators. build on top of them. These developers The Case For Switchvox So who should really pick Switchvox 65,000 developers and integrators in 170 The functions to which they are ultimately craft purpose-built solutions that implement Digium’s line of Switchvox IP PBX instead of Asterisk? People who aren’t countries around the world. applied are determined not by the creators a specific set of functions. Asterisk systems make unified communications telecom gurus who need a powerful, easy to (the developers of the Asterisk and Apache application developers write programs that capabilities available to small and medium install, easy to maintain, reasonably priced Asterisk is to telephony what the Apache development teams) but by application make Asterisk behave as a PBX or as VoIP businesses. Switchvox is administered phone system for up to 400 users. server is to web applications: essentially developers. gateway or as a dialer or virtually any other through an easy to use graphical user the exquisitely complex plumbing on Don’t get us wrong: it’s entirely possible type of telecom apparatus. interface (GUI) rather than raw configuration which other applications are built. Just Application developers take engine-level to create a powerful PBX system using raw as a web server does very little without components like Asterisk and Apache and Some Asterisk applications are simple and files and custom scripts. Switchvox Asterisk. The major drawbacks to running use little more than the core Asterisk engine, includes all of the standard features of Asterisk as a PBX are the deployment a few configuration files and some scripts phone system plus unified communication time and maintainability. Building an IP written in Asterisk’s Dialplan language. More capabilities like advanced voice messaging, Looking for an all-in-one solution instant messaging, desktop fax, drag/drop advanced Asterisk applications connect for your next business phone system? call control, multi-party conferencing and Asterisk with databases, web services Digium’s Switchvox system is more than a SMBs that want to do more than just talk can advanced IVR. Features that would cost and other external resources. Finally, there phone system — it’s the Unified Communications count on Switchvox to help them easily transition Where Asterisk is built are application suites that interconnect thousands to bolt onto a traditional system that integrates all office communications, from simple telephony to a feature-rich Unified for telecom developers, Asterisk with many other applications in a phone system. including phone, fax, chat and web mashups. Communications solution to improve productivity complex web of interactions. These complex Switchvox is built for small in their business. You can even use the IP phone or VoIP service provider of your choice — talk aggregate solutions do far more than and mid-sized businesses about flexibility! could be done by Asterisk alone. Digium’s that need a powerful, cost Switchvox phone system is a perfect effective phone system. example of this class of application.