"Telephony is generally regarded as a mission critical business
service, and any downtime can be costly in terms of lost
productivity and lost business: Most companies want their phones to
be a dial-tone service. And since the PBX is the heart of a
corporate telephone system, you'd imagine it would not be something
that the company would want to scrimp and save on. No one ever got
fired, in other words, for buying a Cisco PBX.
"Which is why the Asterisk open source PBX is quite surprising.
Running on Linux on standard PC hardware with suitable PCI
interface cards, it works as a PBX with extra telephony features
like voice mail and conferencing, working with analog phones and
standards-based IP phones for VoIP telephony. And it's certainly no
geek plaything. You could run your own home PBX using Asterisk,
certainly, but a single machine can handle raw call volumes in the
low thousands, or about 120 channels with echo cancellation and
transcoding. And by using built-in peering technology you can link
up multiple Linux boxes to make a PBX serving a hundred thousand
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