Asterisk installation : guide and purchase tips

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:

  1. in a numerical way (number of lines, number of calls per week … etc…)
  2. in a functional way (specifications)
  3. 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

Call calendar

Personalized music on hold

CRM integration

Real-time supervision

Routing of calls to mobiles

FreePBX’s pricing:

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

Fax functions 

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: 

Document sharing

Group messaging

Video conferencing

File sharing

Screen sharing

Internal chat

History 

Xivo’s pricing: 

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. 

3CX’s pricing: 

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: 

Live chat

Facebook messaging

Call recording

Polls

PDF sharing

Screen Sharing

Remote Assistance

Whiteboarding

Digital receptionist

Integrated fax server

Cloud IP Phone Provisioning

Plug & Play phone provisioning

Apps: Windows and web client, iOS, Android

Phone book

Choice of SIP trunk

Call parking / Call pickup

Busy lamp field (BLF)

Real-time system status

Integrated SBC to deploy off-site phones

Voice Mail

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.

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Asterisk installation guide

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