Asterisk communications project

Posted by Jerzy Seweryn on

what is Asterisk?

What is Asterisk?

Asterisk, the world's most popular open source communications project, is free, open source software that converts an ordinary computer into a feature-rich voice communications server. Asterisk makes it simple to create and deploy a wide range of telephony applications and services, including IP PBXs, VoIP gateways, call center ACDs and IVR systems.

Asterisk is released as open source under the GNU General Public License (GPL), and it is available for download free of charge. Asterisk® is the leading open source telephony project and the Asterisk community has been ranked as a key factor in the growth of VoIP.

What Does Asterisk Do?

Asterisk is like an erector set or a box of Legos for people who want to create communications applications. That's why we refer to it as a "tool-kit" or "development platform". Asterisk includes all the building blocks needed to create a PBX system, an IVR system or virtually any other kind of communications solution. The "blocks" in the kit include:

  • Drivers for various VoIP protocols.

  • Drivers for PSTN interface cards and devices.

  • Routing and call handling for incoming calls.

  • Outbound call generation and routing.

  • Media management functions (record, play, generate tone, etc.).

  • Call detail recording for accounting and billing.

  • Transcoding (conversion from one media format to another).

  • Protocol conversion (conversion from one protocol to another).

  • Database integration for accessing information on relational databases.

  • Web services integration for accessing data using standard internet protocols.

  • LDAP integration for accessing corporate directory systems.

  • Single and mult-party call bridging.

  • Call recording and monitoring functions.

  • Integrated "Dialplan" scripting language for call processing.

  • External call management in any programming or scripting language through Asterisk Gateway Interface (AGI)

  • Event notification and CTI integration via the Asterisk Manager Interface (AMI).

  • Speech synthesis (aka "text-to-speech") in various languages and dialects using third party engines.

  • Speech recognition in various languages using third party recognition engines.

This combination of components allows an integrator or developer to quickly create voice-enabled applications. The open nature of Asterisk means that there is no fixed limit on what it can be made to do. Asterisk integrators have built everything from very small IP PBX systems to massive carrier media servers.