Asterisk plots the end of the phone network

Asterisk plots the end of the phone network

Summary: Asterisk SCF is aimed at giving Voice Over IP true integration with other Internet services, on an Internet scale

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It's called Asterisk Scalable Communications Framework, or Asterisk SCF.

It's a new project from Digium, the Asterisk people, aimed at giving Voice Over IP true integration with other Internet services, on an Internet scale.

They're quick to note this is not a replacement for the main Asterisk project, now on version 1.8, but is being built on top of it.

The aim is to make SCF a set of distributed components that can be deployed as clusters in a single server and be transparent to the user.

According to the press release, it offers "the full range of real-time IP communications, including video, multi-channel wideband and ultra-wideband audio, chat, desktop sharing and other media types that may arise in the future."

My late friend Russell Shaw, who covered this beat for ZDNet until his death in 2008, would be proud. Were he still with us I might not be able to finish, we would be so busy Tweeting one another and arguing about things.

Today's news comes alongside Astricon, Digium's annual conference and user tribute, going on right now at a resort hotel near Washington, D.C. There users are hearing about stuff like this, Xorcom's complete hotel solution, an Asterisk PBX that can run the hotel where the conference is being held.

Solutions like this represent where Asterisk has been, and what it has become. VOIP has mainly been developed as a way to get around the phone system, its costs, gatekeepers, and taxes. It is seen by many as a way to cut telephone costs.

But it has always been much more, and with SCF it can become much more. Voice is a low-bandwidth service that can and should be integrated into other Internet services, that can be one ingredient in a larger solution. That process is now well underway.

At which point there will be no more phone network, only ISPs, hopefully in a more competitive market.

Topics: Mobility, Networking, Telcos

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8 comments
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  • I'm On Board

    Dana,
    Exciting news. This is something I have been hoping for for some time now! Getting rid of the major monopolies in the voice communications world would be amazing. Now, if we can just implement a satisfactory, world-wide blanket of WiFi - then we can get rid of the ISP's as well!
    davemackey.net
    • RE: Asterisk plots the end of the phone network

      @davemackey.net We are thinking along the same lines. See our next story.
      DanaBlankenhorn
  • RE: Asterisk plots the end of the phone network

    Right! And who is going to pay for the $hundreds of billions in infrastructure? You think that just because it is digital, the transmission infrastructure is free? Good luck on that.
    jorjitop
    • RE: Asterisk plots the end of the phone network

      @jorjitop Digital transmission costs continue to drop thanks to what I call "Moore's Law of Fiber" or Wide Division Multiplexing. You run light in a wide variety of colors and sense each color separately at each end. The equipment is inexpensive too.

      The per-bit cost of moving data over a wire has been falling throughout the decade, due both to this and to competition. The more we can move wireless traffic to wired digital networks, the less those wireless calls actually cost and the more efficiently we can use the spectrum.
      DanaBlankenhorn
      • Until the Internet becomes self powered

        (power over ethernet), and not at the mercy of cable providers, no thanks.

        With all the complaints I hear about this or that service, the one thing that allways worked in my house over the years, come storms, extended power outages, ect. is my old, wall mounted, analog phone.

        Imagine that.
        John Zern
  • Asterisk is a joke

    Just because it's open source doesn't make it good. Asterisk is a tangled mess of code that is only used by a few open source geeks looking for a freebie and willing to accept an unreliable, feature-poor phone system. Good luck using it as the basis of a global telecom network.
    levieuxmagicien
    • RE: Asterisk plots the end of the phone network

      @levieuxmagicien UPenn: 15,000 endpoints on Asterisk. City of Amsterdam: 23,000 endpoints on Asterisk. Fifty Universities in Portugal on 400+ Asterisk servers. 150,000+ hosted users on Integrics' Asterisk-based Enswitch platform. 10,000 concurrent calls proven on a single server.

      The future of voice and unified communications, like email and web servers today, will be decentralized. Take a look around: the "global telecom network" is beginning to look a lot like the Internet itself.
      rmontgomery@...
  • RE: Asterisk plots the end of the phone network

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