What is an Open Source PBX?

April 27, 2017 by Ying-Hui Chen

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If you are a VoIP user (or thinking about being one), you must have heard the buzz word: Open Source PBX. But what is it? What does it do? Let’s find out.

First, let’s talk about PBX.

What is PBX?

PBX or “Private Branch Exchanges”, is a private telephone switchboard within an enterprise that allows multiple enterprise users to switch calls among them and share a certain number of external lines.

Unlike a traditional PBX that has a limited number of outside telephone lines and to a certain number of internal extensions, PBX phone system shares the lines for making calls. This kind of phone system avoids the cost of having a line for each user to the central telephone office.

Back to the topic– So what is an Open Source PBX?

guide-to-open-source-pbxWhat is an Open Source PBX?

An open source PBX system is a PBX with an underlying operating system and PBX software that is made generally available to the public for free. Because the operating system and software are free, an open source PBX system is very low in cost comparing to proprietary PBX systems. It also offers unlimited flexibility to any type of business.

Types of Open Source PBX Systems

There are basically two types of Open Source PBX systems:Digium Switchvox

  1. “Pure” open source PBX: A PBX system that has an underlying operating system and PBX software that’s made available to the public for free under GNU General Public License. Asterisk is a popular choice of open source PBX system.
  2.  Open source based: A PBX system with an underlying operating system and PBX software that’s open source at the core, but proprietary codes were built on top of it. Switchvox is an example of this type of PBX system.

Download our Open Source PBX guide or read our blog to learn more: Anatomy of an Open Source PBX


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