Last night I was chatting with a few VoIP industry executives and the topic of open source telephony platforms came up.

For the most part we discussed the importance these platforms hold for the industry. But the real take away for me was, where are the open source VoIP gateways?

In a time where VoIP gateways offer an attractive way to get into VoIP without having to rip out one’s existing infrastructure, you’d figure someone out there would offering an open source VoIP gateway. After all, there’s dozens of open source PBX systems on the market today that are essentially the same thing.

Now I know that there are likely thousands of gateways in use today that are built a top Asterisk. But these units are typically custom jobs done by someone who knows Asterisk and telephony – not an average business or enterprise.

With low cost connectivity cards, a variety of open source telephony platforms to start from, dozens of appliance choices and no shortage of demand, it seems like a great market opportunity. I would imagine one would need a slick GUI interface for configuration, administration and a few OEM agreements for the hardware components (in addition to all of the other “business” operations).

I know all of this is theoretical and I’m not the smartest guy in the room here, but what do you think? Why aren’t their more open source VoIP gateway brands? I’m interested in your take.

P.S. If you’re interested in discussing this topic offline, get a hold of me via Twitter or Email.

Discussion

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  1. Interesting idea – you can buy a Grandstream 8 port FXS for under 400$ now, I am not sure if there is a business model for an OS gateway when the proprietary solutions are this inexpensive already.

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  2. Garrett Smith

    @ Andrew

    I believe you’d need to take more then price into consideration here…but I’m looking at this through a totally different lens.

    Having sold many a gateway, I think that customers, while always price conscious, would benefit from a developer community that can provide free/paid support.

    One of the biggest hurdles with gateways is in the config/installation phase. Many a company do not have the support resources to adequately the volume of gateways being sold.

    I think the open nature, developer community (something where they’d be paid), solid end user support and comparable build/functional quality would do okay.

    Now to go find that interface designer… :)

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  3. What exactly wold you say would constitutes an “open source gateway?”

    Both Asterisk and FreeSwitch can be deployed in ways that might target what you desire. Add a couple of cards and a server PC and off you go. FreeSwitch can even transcode between various wideband codecs.

    Of course, it’s all DIY. The configuration of the system is the builders responsibility.

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  4. Garrett Smith

    @ Michael

    How about a slick GUI on top of one of the OS telephony platform that only enables the gateway functionality?

    Simple, easy to use and not proprietary. Seems like someone out there would have thought to do a open VoIP gateway like all of the “open source” phone systems on the market.

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  5. Hi– The price of cards and the variety of cards would be a killer, so why bother?. Just get a SIP trunk and be done with it. This is one area where just give me something that works, is relable and supported, and the price is worth it. The last thing I need is another science project in a crucial piece of equipment such as a gateway. What is really needed however, is a good (notice I said good) open source SBC….now that would be interesting enough to take on another science project.

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