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.
What is Asterisk?
Asterisk is the world's most popular open source telephony project. Under development since 1999, Asterisk is free, open source software that turns 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.
Code for Asterisk, originally written by Mark Spencer of Digium, Inc., has been contributed from open source software engineers around the world. Currently boasting over two million users, Asterisk supports a wide range of telephony protocols. It includes rich support for the handling and transmission of voice over traditional telephony interfaces including analog lines, ISDN-BRI lines and digital T1/E1 trunks. Asterisk also features support for a wide range of VoIP protocols including SIP, IAX and H.323 among others. It supports U.S. and European standard signaling types used in business phone systems, allowing it to bridge between next-generation voice-data integrated networks and existing infrastructure.
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.