What is VoIP Asterisk PBX ?

Smith, Emma

Publish: Friday, Sep 25

Asterisk is a type of open source software that can help you with your company’s external communication. It works like a PBX, so you can get a VoIP communication system from a computer. 

It was developed in 1999 by computer scientist Mark Spencer (Digium) to perform different telephone communication scenarios. It has versions for other operating systems such as Solairs, Mac OS X, or Microsoft Windows. But these have lower quality support than its original platform, GNU/Linux.

This software works as an IP switchboard system, i.e. companies can use the voip asterisk PBX to improve their communication.


Why do companies use VoIP Asterisk PBX? 


Companies can use this type of software to manage their communications. It is a software that works by connecting standard analogue phones with electronic telephone cards FXO or FXS, manufactured by Digium. 

In order to use the voip asterisk PBX in a company, it is necessary to have branded phones or those that are compatible with the brand, that is, proprietary IP phones. A “proprietary” phone means that it works only with closed systems of the same brand. In addition, it is required to have one phone per person in the company, so it can be a good resource to start managing the communication of a small company. However, if the company grows or we are talking about a big company, it can involve very high costs. Mainly if we’re taking into account that there are other virtual switchboards that do not need physical telephones to operate, such as WebRTC virtual PBX.


VoIP Asterisk PBX features: 


If we talk about what features Asterisk offers to help in the communication of a company, this software offers a series of basic functionalities. When managing external communication, it has functions such as :


  • Attended or unattended transfer, which allows the transfer of calls in progress to other extensions.


  • Voicemail: for cases in which calls cannot be answered, the call will be sent to a voicemail and if the client leaves a message, it will arrive in the form of an e-mail to the company.


  • Call queues : to manage incoming calls so that, if the call cannot be picked up, it is not lost and can be transferred to another destination.





Points to consider :


The installation 


To use the VoIP Asterisk PBX system, you need an IP telephony installation, which necessarily requires an expert in the field to carry out the configurations. Therefore, you need the technical knowledge and experience to install and configure it. 

We may think that this gives us some freedom when it comes to installing the Asterisk PBX. But the problem usually comes with the difficulty of programming it and the cost of maintaining the software, which seems almost impossible for someone without technical knowledge or experience. 


The resources


The VoIP Asterisk PBX allows connection to analogue telephone lines and this has the advantage that older devices can still be used, although not just any device. Asterisk is a very reliable brand of telephone systems, although as we have already said, the software only works with branded or compatible phones. And even if it represents an evolution in the communication system, the physical telephone is still necessary, which can be a disadvantage. Especially today, when the need to be able to telework in a company is becoming increasingly important. The fact that they only work with a specific type of telephone can be a problem. In addition to the need to move all these devices in order to be able to attempt teleworking. When the virtual PBX is in the cloud, and not connected to a telephone, it can be used without problem from any device and anywhere, without the need to move of any kind.




The features offered by VoIP Asterisk PBX are intended to help with external communication. So, one flaw in this type of software is that there is no functionality for internal company communication, such as internal chats. These chats are usually very useful in companies and make internal communication possible at a distance, perfect for when we telework. 

Furthermore, the functionalities offered by Asterisk are rather basic, since it does not have, for example, CRM integrations (such as Zendesk, Zoho, Hubspot…). These CRM integrations help you collect and control your customer information. They can help your agents to be faster and more effective.

It also does not have features to improve external communication such as taking phone payments. Here, the customer can carry out transactions through an automatic and secure system, without the intervention of the agents. 


Therefore, Asterisk works to manage the external communication of a company in a basic way and works as a conventional PBX. It is a basic option but can serve small companies, even if they do not have internal communication solutions. 


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