The PBX Is Dead; Long Live VoIP
Subject:   PBX vs PC based Asterisk
Date:   2005-06-28 05:18:21
Very interesting and well written article. Briefly 2 comments from my point of view:
1) Plain old proprietary PBXs are superior to Asterisk on the, so called, 'services' side. Even a cheap 1000$ PBX can be configured for 'esoteric' services specific customers often ask (hotel room service management is an example). Asterisk gives only very basic call control capabilities: IMHO it will be a serious alternative when development will be fostered in that direction.
2) The actual cost of the Asterisk platform (PC + some cards) is higher, for smaller systems, than traditional PBX. PC HW Reliability, is another issue.

Anyway, being a PBX HW/SW developer, I take Asterisk approach very seriously and consider it as one of the most interesting solutions for near future PBX systems.


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  • Jim Van Meggelen photo PBX vs PC based Asterisk
    2005-07-16 20:11:12  Jim Van Meggelen | O'Reilly AuthorO'Reilly Blogger [View]

    I must be blunt: Your thinking with respect to comment 1) is completely backwards. With respect to "esoteric services", Asterisk is superior to any closed PBX. Far from the "very basic call control" you mention, Asterisk allows a level of control that only the most expensive IVR scripting engines can dare to contemplate. While a proprietary PBX may claim to have dozens or even hundreds of so-called features, Asterisk is essentially limitless. I have yet to find a PBX that does not present a brick wall at some point; typically when the needs and/or creativity exceed the box that the PBXs designers have placed it in. With Asterisk, any limits that exist are merely milestones. If there's a need, it's a safe bet that someone is already pushing it to the next level.

    With Asterisk, the more esoteric the need, the more its capabilities will shine.

    On the cost side, the primary advantage of open-source software is that costs can be directed to areas where they deliver real value. Perhaps you will be able to find a closed PBX for under $1000, but it's capabilities cannot even begin to approach those of Asterisk, and it will typically require the customer to pay for features they neither want nor need.

    As for PC reliability, there are many platforms that Asterisk (or more importantly, Linux) will run on. The hardware is a commodity, so platform decisions can be based on need. If I need a cheap PC platform, I can have it. If I need a NEBS-compliant or better platform (and have the budget that a similarly classed PBX would require), a five-nines reliable envirionment can be delivered.
    • PBX vs PC based Asterisk
      2006-03-30 10:58:36  Cador [View]

      I think the traditional PBX will have significant market share for the next 10 years because many companies will hold on to the old equipment. In fact, during the Y2K scare, many old-time computer programmers were enticed to come out of retirement because many government departments and businesses were still using PDP-11.

      It doesn't really make a lot of sense for a company to get rid of its reliable traditional PBX and take a chance with Asterisk. On the other hand, a brand new company can save a lot of money by going straight to the Asterisk route. That's where Asterisk will be making significant gains in the market.

      But if I started a new company, I would go straigh