Will Asterisk be a threat to VoIP carriers? It already is!

Fellow blogger Alec Saunders wrote a post last week that has brought a notion from the back of my brain to the front. (Given how crowded my brain is, that's no small feat).

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Fellow blogger Alec Saunders wrote a post last week that has brought a notion from the back of my brain to the front.

(Given how crowded my brain is, that's no small feat).

What Alex is saying, in essence, is that the growth of open-source, do-it-yourself Asterisk open source software technology to build your own custom phone services could have the potential to make VoIP service providers extraneous.

" Just like the first PCs, hackers using Asterisk are building their own custom phone services," Alex writes. "For example, I myself have a $300 PC in my basement, running Asterisk, and terminating calls on five networks.  In theory, I should be able to handle a few hundred simultaneous callers on that box.  It has got the memory, the CPU power, and the connectivity.  Am I a service provider?  I’ve seriously contemplated setting up accounts for my extended family on this box.

Alex then poses a real "makes you go hmmm" question.

"If a single tweaked Asterisk server can handle three hundred to five hundred calls, then a dual core machine might handle 1000, and the coming generation of quad core machines might handle 2000.  Using ordinary residential 10:1 subscriber to calling ratio models, that 2000 simultaneous callers, should handle 20,000 subscribers.   That, my friends, is an RLEC."

There are some known issues with Asterisk-call quality and missing features. That's where Asterisk-centered service providers such as Fonality come in. And face it- your average small to medium size business isn't going to have an Asterisk code jock on staff. Heck, they probably don't even have any code jocks on staff, and $100 bucks an hour might be a bit too much for a budget.

So where I am going with this is that we are going to see Asterisk push aside carrier VoIP as well as systems-integrator VoIP in those enterprises that are somewhat given to technological adventure,, and want to own their system. For others, there are managed service providers that will help you get there and also help you manage your Asterisk once you have it running.