Skip to content

Phones, open source, and VoIP

I’ve been wanting to set up a test Asterisk box for quite a while now, but haven’t found any compatible cards cheap enough to justify giving it a try. I bought some MultiTech MultiVOIP gateways, hoping they would integrate with it easily, but there is not a lot of information out there on integrating them with Asterisk, so I haven’t done much with them.

I was excited when I heard that Pingtel has sponsored a new open-source PBX, called sipX. Unlike Asterisk, sipX is built fully on SIP, without any proprietary protocols. Asterisk’s protocol is open source, but pure SIP is a bit of a tech ‘Holy Grail’. sipX, however doesn’t seem quite ready for prime time yet. There is very little documentation on the SipForge site (digression: why are people such copycats – why does every open source development site need to be *forge? Where is the originality folks?) and after 5 minutes of searching for what cards are compatible with it, I came up blank. Maybe I’m a lousy googler, but in my opinion there doesn’t seem to be the community support for sipX like there is for Asterisk. The other drawback is that it appears to only run on Fedora. I might be a bit fuzzy here, but the instructions talk quite a bit about Fedora. Now feel free to flame away, but I’ve got a lot going on now, and want to focus on SUSE and Novell’s Open Enterprise Server.

I’m also considering picking up a Cisco 2801 Voice Bundle, to get started messing around with Cisco’s VoIP. I could probably get the hardware for about $2,500 – including a couple of phones to mess with. While I love open source software and it’s inherit openness, Cisco really does command the VoIP market right now, and they do have top-notch service and support. I do have huge second thoughts about running our phone system on a self-supported Linux box. Not that our current Executone system doesn’t decide to re-program itself every once in a while, much to my chagrin – and nobody got fired for buying Cisco. I know a couple of local schools who have done the Cisco conversion and love it.

Finally, I met with a company last week (Inflexion) who claimed that they could bring in private circuit(s) to us, and use them to support all of our local & long distance needs, adding unlimited long distance, and replacing our current PBX with a VoIP system (complete with phones) without raising our monthly phone costs! It initially sounded too good to be true to me, but considering what Vontage and the like are doing in the residential market, I’m hoping that it just might be true. I’ll post a follow up when I get their proposal, and see if it’s the truth, or if it’s a bait and switch ploy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *