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Asterisk PBX: Open Source VoIP Branches Out
Throw away your PBX
Open source vs. commercial software
Asterisk PBX Phone System

Classic Private Business Exchanges (PBX) for internal office phone systems have been around since businesses installed private switchboards run manually by an operator.  PBX phone systems saved money being that internal calls did not need to be carried on public phone lines. In the 1960s, Centrex telephone systems came into use when phone companies offered PBX phone system service at their location.  For small companies who could not afford the hardware for their own business phone systems, this was a good solution.

In the 1990s, the need for data transfer as well as voice communication led to the creation of IP phone systems and VoIP (Internet Protocol and Voice over Internet Protocol).  Instead of key systems where users had to push a button to reach an outside line, automated phone connections were possible.

As technology has advanced, so have the capabilities of business telephone systems.  Hardware is not the only consideration; software development has also expanded business options.  One of the most popular PBX software packages is the Asterisk phone system.  It was originally developed for Linux but now works across multiple platforms.  It is licensed either as freeware or with proprietary features.

An Asterisk phone system can be run as a basic PBX or can incorporate many advanced features.  Asterisk PBX provides great flexibility for customizing a phone system to meet particular needs.  A basic PBX telephone system can be controlled using this free software, allowing a company to integrate a variety of advanced features.  The many custom features of Asterisk support the needs of any business, allowing them to remain competitive while controlling costs.

Below is a partial list of features available by implementing Asterisk.



AGI (Asterisk Gateway Interface)

Allows direct connection of Asterisk PBX

Automated Attendant


Blind Transfer

Building custom programs to interface with the phone system

Call Detail Records

Call Forward on Busy

Call Forward on No Answer

Call Forward

Call Monitoring

Call Parking

Call Queuing

Call Recording

Call Retrieval

Call Routing (DID & ANI)

Call Snooping

Call Transfer

Call Waiting

Caller ID

Caller ID Blocking

Caller ID on Call Waiting

Calling Cards

Commodity Ethernet hardware

Commonly deployed data connections used

Computer-Telephony Integration

Conference Bridging

Database Store/Retrieve

Database Integration

Dial by Name

Distinctive Ring

Do Not Disturb


Flexible Extension Logic

Flexible Mp3-based System

Graphical Call Manager

Integrate physically separate installations

 Interactive Directory Listing

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Local and Remote Call Agents 




Message Waiting with Stutter Dialtone

 Message Waiting with Visual Indicator

Music on Hold

Music on Transfer

Predictive Dialer


Outbound Call Spooling

Overhead Paging

Random or Linear Play

Remote Call Pickup

Remote Office Support

Roaming Extensions

Route by Caller ID


SMS Messaging


Streaming Media Access

Supervised Transfer

Talk Detection


Three-way Calling


Unified dial plan across multiple offices

Voice-over IP

VoIP Gateways


Voicemail to email

Voicemail Groups

Volume Control

Web Voicemail Interface

Zero latency 



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