Storm bets on open source Asterisk

By   |  September 18, 2006

Local voice and data service provider, Storm has turned to open source Asterisk to give clients an opportunity to venture into VoIP at low cost. The company has partnered with Asterisk specialists Connection Telecom and Clarotech.

“Asterisk is an ideal way of venturing into IP Telephony at low cost and risk,” says Dave Gale, business development director at Storm. “The main PBX players can offer you an IP PBX, some for as low as R30 000 to R40 000, but
most cost a lot more. Or you can have Asterisk at a fraction of the price. It will interoperate with almost all standards-based telephony equipment, give interconnectivity with other PBXs, act as a VoIP gateway, and provide your business with advanced functionality previously only available in the high end PBXs, like flexible IVR, voicemail, music on hold or call
recording.”

“Asterisk has the potential to revolutionise your working life,” says Gale. “With my IP softphone I imported my Outlook contacts in just three clicks. Finding someone’s number is as easy as typing in a name. Phoning them is then just a mouse-click. Calendars and contacts databases rule your business life.

“Ideally, you want to be able to integrate your cell phone, e-mail, desk phone and PC. Until recently, VoIP-to-GSM handover was a dream, but with GSM handsets now on the market, it is possible to make and receive VoIP calls.

Asterisk can handle high call loads, as one Connection Telecom customer, a Cape-based contact centre with 14 servers and 1680 ports, has proved. Other Connection Telecom installations include Metropolitan Health and the Cape Disaster Recovery Centre.

The requirements for an Asterisk solution are also not onerous. “You would need a Pentium class server, 2GHz with good IRQ support at less than R10 000, your preferred Linux operating system, low-jitter, low-loss bandwidth to the outside world, IP phones (from approximately R795 to R1 000 per user), and a Digium analogue, BRI or PRI card for Asterisk, ranging from R1 000 to R5 000,” said Rob Lith, CEO of Connection Telecom.

“The Asterisk phenomenon is growing exponentially internationally, and as local companies become aware of its benefits and the fact that there are companies such as Connection Telecom, Clarotech and Storm out there who can support the implementation, we expect to see a marked increase in interest,” Gale says.

“VoIP as a means to Least Cost Route calls is more functional than sexy; but when IP starts enabling funky new ways of doing Telephony, it’s like seeing Alexander Graham Bell in ray bans and a pony tail,” concludes Gale.

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