Concept

Asterisk (PBX)

Summary
Asterisk is a software implementation of a private branch exchange (PBX). In conjunction with suitable telephony hardware interfaces and network applications, Asterisk is used to establish and control telephone calls between telecommunication endpoints, such as customary telephone sets, destinations on the public switched telephone network (PSTN), and devices or services on voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) networks. Its name comes from the asterisk (*) symbol for a signal used in dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) dialing. Asterisk was created in 1999 by Mark Spencer of Digium, which since 2018 is a division of Sangoma Technologies Corporation. Originally designed for Linux, Asterisk runs on a variety of operating systems, including NetBSD, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, macOS, and Solaris, and can be installed in embedded systems based on OpenWrt. The Asterisk software includes many features available in commercial and proprietary PBX systems: voice mail, conference calling, interactive voice response (phone menus), and automatic call distribution. Users can create new functionality by writing dial plan scripts in several of Asterisk's own extensions languages, by adding custom loadable modules written in PHP or C, or by implementing Asterisk Gateway Interface (AGI) programs using any programming language capable of communicating via the standard streams system (stdin and stdout) or by network TCP sockets. Asterisk supports several standard VOIP protocols, including the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), the Media Gateway Control Protocol (MGCP), and H.323. Asterisk supports most SIP telephones, acting both as registrar and back-to-back user agent. It can serve as a gateway between IP phones and the PSTN via T- or E-carrier interfaces or analog FXO cards. The Inter-Asterisk eXchange (IAX) protocol, RFC 5456, native to Asterisk, provides efficient trunking of calls between Asterisk PBX systems, in addition to distributing some configuration logic.
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