Posted by Randy Kremlacek on Jul 7, 2015 7:00:00 AM
This is the seventh blog post of our 7 post series on the subject of Asterisk vs. Switchvox phone systems. Subscribe to our blog by submitting your email into the box on the right to receive an email notification for each blog post in the series.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve shown you a top to bottom comparison of Asterisk and Switchvox as they might meet your business telecommunication needs. We hope that our commentary has been educational as you info-source your next phone system. As we wrap up this series, we’d like to recap and give you a quick resource that can help you determine which phone system is best for you.
What is Asterisk?
Asterisk is unlike any other phone system, as it is built by-and-for telecom developers. Being an Open Source PBX, Asterisk simplified the process of building communication applications and is a foundation for which developers can assemble a wide variety of telecommunications solutions.
How popular is Asterisk? Well, since the Asterisk project was started more than a decade ago, upwards of 65,000 developers have refined and utilized this IP-based voice powerhouse.
Before you get started, you must know that Asterisk calls for a deep understanding of telecommunications, Linux, TCP & IP Networking, as well as script programming. If your in-house IT team does not have a broad understanding of the above, there are Asterisk consultants who you can engage. However it is best to have someone in-house who can manage and maintain your Asterisk phone system.
What is Switchvox?
The structure of Switchvox is on the opposite end of the spectrum as compared to Asterisk. Where Asterisk is a customizable engine, Switchvox is a turnkey business communications solution. There is no specialized experience needed to manage the Switchvox system. Installation and maintenance is typically provided by a Switchvox reseller so you don’t need to get neck deep in geeky technology.
Since Switchvox is based on Asterisk, your organization will still reap the benefits of what telecom developers have done to refine Asterisk. However, all the design work has been done for you, so there is no need to hire a consultant to custom develop your phone system.
With Switchvox, you’ll enjoy an all-in-one business phone solution, including voicemail, call queues, an interactive dashboard, and more. Out of the box, Switchbox will fully accommodate most businesses communications needs.
An Overview of Asterisk and Switchvox
You’re now familiar with Asterisk and Switchvox, but what’s the ideal solution for your business? It all comes down to personal preference. You can pursue a completely customizable option, seemingly without limitations, like Asterisk, or you can pursue a turnkey and tested all-in-one solution, like Switchvox.
Asterisk: Asterisk is revolutionary as a business phone system solution, and has completely disrupted the business phone system market. Asterisk is a communications powerhouse that essentially transforms commodity computers into powerful communications servers. It’s a free, DIY PBX solution. You have the ability to make your phone system exactly as your organization needs it to be. Think of Asterisk as an engine for a car and you’re the skilled mechanic. You have the know-how to modify and soup up the engine to make it as you wish.
Switchvox: Further relating to cars, Switchvox is like purchasing a car and driving off the lot as is. Everything you need and want is included in your dream car. As a turnkey solution, Switchvox has everything that your organization needs without muss, fuss, or modifications.
Are both Asterisk and Switchbox solid phone system options to pursue? Absolutely. It really boils down to organization’s preference. Would you rather install, troubleshoot, and maintain your phone system in-house with Asterisk, or have a local Switchbox reseller handle it for you?
Feature Comparison of Asterisk and Switchvox
When it comes to selecting the optimal business phone system, features are of the highest consideration. What features will best serve your organization?
Asterisk: To be honest, Asterisk is more than just a business phone system – it truly provides the base of building any telecommunications system you wish. You simply select the features that would best serve your organization, and program them. Limitations to Asterisk? There really are not many barriers. You create the system that is ideal to your needs with the only limitations those of the skills of your developer.
Switchvox: Switchvox was designed to be feature-rich business telephone system, providing robust Unified Communications, equal or superior to its competition, Mitel, Avaya and Shoretel to name a few. Users enjoy standard calling features of hold, transfer, conference calls, and call parking. Users also enjoy integrations with Google Maps and Salesforce. Further, you can implement click to call, drag and drop transfer, call queues, call recording, instant messaging, and more.
From a management standpoint, you’re able to retrieve detailed call logs and call center reports, all which are automatically emailed to you.
Installation of an Asterisk or Switchvox Phone System
Now that you know the features of the Asterisk and Switchvox phone systems, what about the installation of Asterisk and Switchvox? For many organizations, this is the make or break decision point.
Asterisk: Installation of an Asterisk phone system comes at the hands of the customer’s IT staff who is responsible for purchasing, set-up, (including the creation of a voice-ready network), SIP trunking or phone circuit ordering, local number porting, cabling, system design, provisions, cutover to the new phone system, and applicable user and admin training. In essence, all facets of the Asterisk phone system will be handled in-house or by a Digium consultant. The major benefit here is that Asterisk phone systems are customizable to your organizational needs. And if it is all done in-house, there are savings to be had by becoming your own telephone company.
Switchvox: The installation of a Switchvox phone system is starkly different than Asterisk. Each step of the installation process is managed by your local Switchvox reseller, who works in tandem with your organization to define and execute the total scope of work. The biggest advantage of Switchvox is that your organization enlists service with a qualified and professional telecom company to ensure that your new phone system is fully-functioning and operating efficiently.
Ongoing Support and Maintenance of Asterisk and Switchvox
Now that your phone system is installed, functioning properly, and your staff are fully trained, you’ll need to manage the ongoing administration your phone system, including support, configuration updates, upgrades, and maintenance.
Asterisk: Because Asterisk is an open source PBX solution, your support options are primarily through fellow end users and online forums. Any repair or replacement to your phone system rests on your shoulders, including hardware and software releases. There are other support options at your disposal with the most viable option being an Asterisk developer who provides ongoing support services. For some customers, that is an ideal scenario, but for others, it’s not a support mechanism that meets their needs for immediately available service.
Switchvox: There are several support options that are provided by the typical Switchvox reseller. If necessary, they can even eliminate the need for a system administrator. Regarding hardware, because your Switchvox phone system was installed and configured by a local stocking Digium reseller with whom you have a business relationship, emergency repair parts are available.
We would like to reiterate and highly suggest that you pursue a seasoned Switchvox reseller, like TeleDynamic, who has been in business for more than 25 years in the San Francisco Bay Area, for your Switchvox phone system support needs. By using a seasoned provider, your organization will receive exemplary support from a reseller who has a team of well-versed telecom professionals.
So What's Best For Your Business? Asterisk or Switchvox?
It all comes down to personal preference. Neither option should be viewed as “good” or “bad”, but rather, what phone system fits best with the needs of your organization. You may rather have an IT team on-site who can customize your ideal phone system, or you may more value having robust support from your reseller.
Through this blog post series, we hope that we’ve fully answered your questions and helped you explore the differences, benefits, and options of Asterisk and Switchvox.
If you’d like to learn more information or would like to speak with our team regarding the implementation of a business phone system, we welcome you to contact us directly.
Does your company use Asterisk or Switchvox for your business communications? We welcome you to weigh-in on your experiences in the comments below.
About the Author
President | Head Chef
Randy Kremlacek is CEO and Head Chef of TeleDynamic Communications, a Digium Select Partner and four time Digium Pinnacle Award winner. TeleDynamic Communication, Inc. provides premise-based PBX, Virtual PBX, and SIP Trunking services. READ MORE