Asterisk is free open source software for building communications applications. It allows attached telephones to make calls to one another and even connect to other telephone services. Founded in 1999 by Mark Spencer of Digium, Asterisk was originally designed for Linux operating systems. Now, it runs on a variety of operating systems, including NetBSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, MacOS, and Solaris. It can also be installed on flash drives and embedded systems based on OpenWrt.
Though initially developed for companies in the United States, Asterisk eventually gained worldwide recognition because it is freely available under open-source licensing; and its modular and extensible design further added to Asterisk’s appeal.
At present, Asterisk has been deployed in 170 countries and installed on over a million servers worldwide. It has over 86,000 community members and gets around two million downloads every year.
The Asterisk software – one of the company’s most popular products – is a world leader in open source telephony systems. It can convert an ordinary computer into a feature-rich voice communications server. It can create and deploy a broad range of telephony applications and services, such as IP PBXs, VoIP gateways, call center ACDs, and IVR systems.
Another popular Asterisk product is the Switchvox IP PBX solution. While its system is based on the Asterisk open source software, it differs from the latter in that it is administered through a user-friendly graphical user interface rather than raw configuration files and custom scripts.
Aside from the standard features of a phone system, the Switchvox PBX also has unified communications capabilities like advanced voice messaging, instant messaging, desktop fax, drag and drop control, multi-party conferencing, and advanced IVR.
Asterisk also has specially designed IP business phones called Digium Phones. All models feature HD Voice, plug-and-play deployment, contextual soft keys, multiple line appearances, and advanced applications. These are the only phones that allow users to take full advantage of the Asterisk software.
Other Asterisk products include SIP trunking, telephony cards, and VoIP gateway.
Asterisk’s products have received plenty of recognition over the years. In 2015, Switchvox became the recipient of TMC’s Internet Telephony Product of the Year Award and Unified Communications TMC Labs Innovation Award. Switchvox also won the Unified Communications Excellence Award in 2015 and 2016.
Meanwhile, Asterisk’s IP phones was also awarded the 2016 Internet Telephony Product of the Year Award and 2014 Internet Telephony Excellence Award.
Switchvox Cloud had also been hailed as Product of the Year by Unified Communications and TMC on several instances.