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VOIP



What is VOIP?

If you've never heard of VoIP, get ready to change the way you think about long-distance phone calls. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol , is a method for taking analog audio signals , like the kind you hear when you talk on the phone, and turning them into digital data that can be transmitted over the Internet.

How is this useful? VoIP can turn a standard Internet connection into a way to place free phone calls . The practical upshot of this is that by using some of the free VoIP software that is available to make Internet phone calls, you are bypassing the phone company (and its charges) entirely.

Flexibility 

With VoIP, you can make a call from anywhere you have broadband connectivity. Since the IP phones or ATAs broadcast their info over the Internet, they can be administered by the provider anywhere there is a connection. So business travelers can take their phones or ATAs with them on trips and always have access to their home phone. Another alternative is the softphone . A softphone is client software that loads the VoIP service onto your desktop or laptop. The Vonage softphone has an interface on your screen that looks like a traditional telephone. As long as you have a headset/microphone, you can place calls from your laptop anywhere in the broadband-connected world. Asterisk - the Open Source PBX!  

Easily build your own multiprotocol PBX on Linux! Asterisk is a complete PBX in software. It runs on Linux, BSD and MacOSX and provides all of the features you would expect from a PBX and more. Asterisk does voice over IP in many protocols, and can interoperate with almost all standards-based telephony equipment using relatively inexpensive hardware. Asterisk provides Voicemail services with Directory, Call Conferencing, Interactive Voice Response and Call Queuing. It has support for three-way calling, caller ID services, ADSI, SIP and H.323 (as both client and gateway). Check the Features section for a more complete list. Asterisk needs no additional hardware for Voice over IP.  For interconnection with digital and analog telephony equipment, Asterisk supports a number of hardware devices, most notably all of the hardware manufactured by Asterisk's sponsors, Digium . Digium has single and quad span T1 and E1 interfaces for interconnection to PRI lines and channel banks as well as a single port FXO card and a one to four-port modular FXS and FXO card. Also supported are the Internet Line Jack and Internet Phone Jack products from Quicknet. 

Asterisk supports a wide range of TDM protocols for the handling and transmission of voice over traditional telephony interfaces. Asterisk supports US and European standard signalling types used in standard business phone systems, allowing it to bridge between next generation voice-data integrated networks and existing infrastructure. Asterisk not only supports traditional phone equipment, it enhances them with additional capabilities. Using the Inter-Asterisk eXchange Voice over IP protocol, Asterisk merges voice and data traffic seamlessly across disparate networks. While using Packet Voice, it is possible to send data such as URL information and images in-line with voice traffic, allowing advanced integration of information. 

Asterisk provides a central switching core, with four APIs for modular loading of telephony applications, hardware interfaces, file format handling, and codecs. It allows for transparent switching between all supported interfaces, allowing it to tie together a diverse mixture of telephony systems into a single switching network. Asterisk is primarily developed on GNU/Linux for x/86. It is known to compile and run on GNU/Linux for PPC along with OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and Mac OS X Jaguar. Other platforms and standards-based UNIX-like operating systems should be reasonably easy to port for anyone with the time and requisite skill to do so. Asterisk is available in the testing and unstable Debian archives, maintained thanks to Mark Purcell