Asterisk Appliance Survey

In a few weeks I will be attending the GK3 conference in Malaysia on ICT for the developing world (ICT4D) with Louise and Alberto from IT 46. Part of our preparation was writing a document describing how the IP04 can be used in developing world scenarios.

Anyway, Alberto and I put together this table comparing Asterisk “Appliance” class products.

The IP04 is a leading edge embedded IP-PBX, equivalent to anything developed by traditional (closed development) commercial companies. The open hardware pedigree means that the hardware has been reviewed by “many eyes”. This means (just like open software) that the IP04 is likely to be more stable and have higher quality comparable “closed” products.

Note that the IP04 is one of first embedded Asterisk “Appliance” type devices to be offered for commercial sale (production status in the survey) – community based development (open hardware and software) gave the development team a time-to-market edge!

Links

The IP04: Open Hardware for Developing Regions
IP04 and the Asterisk Appliance
IP04 Open Hardware IP-PBX
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12 thoughts on “Asterisk Appliance Survey”

  1. Sir,

    Your table would not be complete without adding Astlinux on the Soekris Net4801 (or newer) platform.

  2. Thanks Michael – if you could please provide me with the details of Astlinux/Soekris I would be happy to add them to the table.

    Thanks,

    David

  3. David,
    Very valuable comparison, excellent job as usual.
    I am not sure if NEt4801 fits here, as this is not a specific product; more like a “generci” PC running Asterisk.

    Cheers,
    mark

  4. Astlinux is an embedded OS/Asterisk distribution that can run on a generic PC, but also has releases for the Soekris Net4801 and PC Engines WRAP series of small form factor hardware. This is not a plug-and-play combination, but then very little about Asterisk is plug-and-play.

    See: http://www.voip-info.org/wiki/view/AstLinux

    You may question is this combination a “product?” Astlinux is open source. The various hardware platforms are commercially available. Some vendors sell them in combination.

    You should also consider the Askozia project which combines FreeBSD, the m0n0wall GUI framework and Asterisk. http://www.askozia.com

  5. Thanks Michael.

    My main interest is custom non-x86 embedded hardware.

    I think I’ll leave it to others to survey what is possible with x86 Asterisk distros and off the shelf x86 hardware, although I agree it’s a grey area, given x86 hardware like Via-based boards are dropping in price and power consumption.

    Cheers,

    David

  6. Hi Michael

    I believe that both the Soekris Net4801 and PC Engines WRAP are based on AMD low power processors. i.e. x86.

    When we did the survey we focused on Appliances. Another survey that I have written a review of Asterisk distros with GUIs in the following posting.
    http://www.it46.se/entry/305
    http://www.it46.se/docs/papers/voip4d_making_telephony_accessible_prestudy_nov2007.pdf

    Askozia is included in the review. Let me know if another major effort is missing. Want to get the document as completed as possible

    Alberto

  7. David

    The link to “developing world scenarios” does not seem to work. I am interested in this document as that is precisely the area that I am focused on. We are developing VOIP(international calls) and IP-PBX (SoHo) and Wireless VOIP (Poor man’s cellphone) solutions for our customers in Africa.

    I have orderd the IP-04 for testing, I am also testing the Linksys SPA9000 with SPA3102 and/or SPA400 as an alternate SoHo IP-PBX.

  8. Hi Tushar – I just tested the link and it worked OK. If you have any more problems let me know and I can email the document to you,

    Cheers,

    David

  9. Nerd Vittles ran an article this week demonstrating how to set up a turnkey Asterisk system using the PBX in a Flash ISO/CD and a $199 WalMart PC in 33 minutes.

    Nerd Vittles article: http://nerdvittles.com/index.php?p=201

    WalMart PC from Everex: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=7754614

    Free PBX in a Flash ISO download: http://pbxinaflash.net/

    While not exactly an appliance, the cost is 20% of the cheapest appliance. And the off-the-shelf hardware is available at thousands of stores or via mail order. Investing less than an hour to save $800 or more seems like a pretty good trade off.

  10. Yes that’s a wonderful price. x86 hardware is dropping in price and starting to overlap the embedded space in terms of price and even power consumption. Easier to develop on, too.

    BTW the IP04 in similar configuration (no analog ports) is $320, and you get a “true” appliance form factor, fanless, and low power consumption, plus simple upgrade to analog ports (just plug in modules).

  11. The Vdex-40 is now available and shipping with a MSRP single unit price of $995. Also, it is a multi-processor appliance with separate processors for call control and voice packet handling, in addition to hardware codecs for G.711, G.723.1, G.726, G.729a/b, and G.168 echo cancellation.

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