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Which asterisk installation alternative for your virtual IPBX ?
Before starting your search for an IPBX solution, you need to define your company’s needs. Take your current configuration as a reference and establish requirements:
- in a numerical way (number of lines, number of calls per week … etc…)
- in a functional way (specifications)
- in a budgetary way.
In this article we will compare three “turnkey” solutions when installing an Asterisk server: FreePBX, Xivo and Switchvox. We will contrast the prices and integrated features of each solution. If you wish to install an Asterisk server manually, a detailed guide “Asterisk installation step by step”can be downloaded at the end of the article.
Installing a turnkey Asterisk server
Among the turnkey distribution solutions we can mention FreePBX, Xivo or Switchvox. These programs require little technical knowledge and allow a simplified configuration. These programs automatically install the Asterisk solution to provide their private PBX service. Thanks to these solutions you can manage your entire infrastructure via a graphical web interface.
The prerequisites to install this type of solution are (in most cases):
-A computer equipped with a virtualization environment such as VMware or a blank server: the software will be installed on a virtual machine.
-The ISO image of the software can be downloaded directly from the publisher’s website.
-At least one Trunk SIP access
Asterisk installation : purchase guide
FreePBX : configure your IPBX as you wish
FreePBX is the software solution proposed by Asterisk to allow the implementation of your virtual IPBX. All the configuration and implementation of the infrastructure is taken care of by the internal installer. A graphical interface is also provided to easily manage and administer the phone system. The use of FreePBX requires a technical knowledge base, FreePBX is open source, its code is public.
FreePBX’s Integrated features :
Interactive voice server
Personalized music on hold
Routing of calls to mobiles
The basic version of FreePBX is completely free. It only includes the ability to make calls. To take advantage of the first level of features you will have to pay $149 per year. This package includes:
Audio conference management
The routing of the stations
And advanced system administration tools
Xivo : The French IPBX
Xivo is a French overlay of Asterisk. Like FreePBX, Xivo provides a graphical interface to manage your virtual IPBX. Xivo is open source, its code is public. Xivo customer data is hosted in the USA. The prerequisites are the same as for the installation of FreePBX.
Xivo’s Integrated features:
Xivo does not give details of its rates on its website but invites you to contact its sales team.
3CX: the multifunctional IPBX
3CX is an IP PBX (Private Branch Exchange) tool. Like the previously mentioned software 3CX is open source. This solution offers more integrated features than FreePBX and Xivo. 3CX is appreciated for its mobility and flexibility as well as its simple configuration and management process. Compared to FreePBX, 3CX offers a more complete set of basic features.
For the standard package (12 users, 4 simultaneous calls) it will cost 100€ per year starting from the second year. This first level of features includes:
Integrated fax server
Cloud IP Phone Provisioning
Plug & Play phone provisioning
Apps: Windows and web client, iOS, Android
Choice of SIP trunk
Call parking / Call pickup
Busy lamp field (BLF)
Integrated SBC to deploy off-site phones
Easy backups and restores
Asterisk installation step by step
You can also manually install and configure your Asterisk PBX on your server. This solution requires intermediate technical knowledge but offers greater freedom of configuration. If you are not used to the terminal of your computer we advise you to avoid this method: this type of Asterisk installation can only be managed with configuration files.