Open source VoIP software is free software that lets you turn a computer into a communications platform.
Today, open source VoIP software like Asterisk helps to power virtual PBX systems and acts as a complete VoIP management solution. This software and other popular options are used by companies around the world.
Why would you use open source VoIP software? How does this software work? How can you customize it to meet the unique needs of your business? Today, we’re going to explain everything you need to know about using open source VoIP software.
What is VoIP Software?
VoIP software is any program used to conduct telephone-like calls over the internet.
Today, businesses and consumers around the world have switched away from public switched telephone networks (PSTN) in favor of VoIP based networks.
VoIP software lets businesses save money – especially when it comes to international dialing and data services like online faxing. They also present easier access for mobile devices and bring your own device (BYOD) offices.
Types of VoIP Software
When someone says “VoIP Software”, they may be referring to a few different things.
Typically, VoIP software refers to softphones, which are client devices that let you make and receive voice and video calls over the internet in a similar way to traditional telephones.
The difference between softphones and traditional phone communications is that softphones are pieces of software that run over your computer or another electronic device.
Mobile calling apps like Skype, for example, are a type of softphone VoIP software because they facilitate telephone communications.
Most softphone clients run over the open Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and support various codecs. However, Skype and several others run on a closed proprietary network (although additional PBX software can allow your SIP-based telephone system to connect to the Skype network).
Other types of VoIP software you’ll see today include:
- Conferencing Servers
- Intercom Systems
- Virtual FXOs (foreign exchange services)
- Adapted Telephony Software (concurrently support VoIP and IVR systems, among others)
What is Open Source Software?
Open source software is defined as software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. The source code (the code that runs the software) is freely available to be modified or enhanced by anyone.
Closed source software, on the other hand, refers to software where the core code of the program is locked away: computer programmers can’t change or manipulate the program or customize it in any way. This type of software is also called proprietary software.
Open source is widely praised for being beneficial to the world of computer programmers: other programmers can examine the source code of the software and see how a developer did certain things. Programmers can also customize that program to meet their unique needs.
What Can You Do with Open Source VoIP Software?
Open source VoIP software provides an underlying platform on which you can build out real-time voice and video applications. Here’s how Asterisk describes its open source VoIP software:
“Asterisk is a framework for building multi-protocol, real-time communications applications and solutions. Asterisk is to realtime voice and video applications as what Apache is to web applications: the underlying platform. Asterisk abstracts the complexities of communications protocols and technologies, allowing you to concentrate on creating innovative products and solutions.”
Some of the specific benefits of using Asterisk and other open source VoIP software includes building all of the following:
- Business Phone Systems (like virtual PBX systems)
- Call Distributors
- VoIP Gateways
- Conference Bridges
- Call Centers
- Voicemail Servers
- IVR Servers
When you build out your own systems using open source software, you can customize the software however you like. This is integral for larger companies with more specific needs. Instead of trying to squeeze your company’s unique needs into some pre-packaged VoIP software offered by a VoIP provider, you can build a ground up solution that works better for your business.
Most Popular Open Source PBX/VoIP Software Products Available Today
I’ve mentioned Asterisk several times already for good reason: it’s the largest and best-known open source VoIP software available today. Asterisk commands about 88% of North American market share in the VoIP industry. The company also claims to be used by over one million customers in 170 countries around the world and “is used by almost the entire Fortune 1000 list of customers.” The system is most-often deployed by system integrators and developers.
Unified communications software that supports IP-PBX and IVR capabilities for online calling.
Open source telephony platform used to make voice calls and to chat. Can also be customized for use as a PBX system, a media gateway, or a media server for hosting IVR applications. It also comes built-in with voicemail, conferencing, recording, and other features.
Open source auto-dialer software that includes graphical IVR designer tools while also featuring voice, SMS, online faxing, and others.
Telephony platform that supports SIP and H.323. Yate offers open source PBX/PABX and IVR platforms along with instant messaging, voicemail, VoIP, conferencing, and call center service.
Open source platform designed for VoIP, ISPs, hosted solutions, online businesses, and service providers. Includes more than just your regular open source VoIP software and comes pre-packaged with features like CRM, automation, and trouble-ticketing.
Is Open Source VoIP Software the Right Choice For You?
To use open source VoIP software effectively, you’ll need to hire a programmer who can customize that software to meet your unique needs.
Larger businesses can justify that expense, while smaller businesses may be better off with pre-packaged solutions from VoIP providers – which come ready to fit into your company’s existing platform.
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- How to Make Free Internet Phone Calls
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- Numbers Don’t Lie: Impressive Stats of VoIP
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