3CX vs. FreePBX
We all know the capabilities and endless feature set of Asterisk (i.e. FreePBX). It’s a powerful, software based PBX, that’s possibilities are endless. Asterisk is distributed in a number of ways, the first being the open sourced distribution that is command line driven. 3CX is a software-based, open standards IP PBX that offers complete Unified Communications, out of the box. 3CX makes installation, management and maintenance of your PBX so easy that you can effortlessly manage it yourself, whether on an appliance, on your servers or in your cloud account. Elastix and Vicidial are great options too.
The Flavors of Asterisk-FreePBX
Then we have your open sourced asterisk-based distributions freely available to the public for download. These versions would include trixbox CE, Elastix, FreePBX, PBXinaFlash, and Asterisk Now, which just names a few. The separator between these software applications as compared to the command line asterisk distribution is that while asterisk source code is running in the background, the majority of configuration changes can be made via a Graphical Web GUI interface from both a user and administrators perspective. These software applications also allow for asterisk cmd line access or CLI access in order to make changes if required. Companies such as these have taken the asterisk source code and “rounded” it to their own unique application.
And last but not least, we have our commercial asterisk based PBX’s. Most notability would be Switchvox SMB or SOHO software which is asterisk based, but no access is granted to the asterisk CLI. Rather all configuration changes are done via a web GUI interface. Software from Switchvox is considered a “paid” commercial product, which distinguishes itself from any of the open source based distributions mentioned above.
With all flavors of asterisk, each meets its own unique need and fulfillment in individual VoIP deployments. When it comes to purchasing an IP PBX, you have your choice of asterisk software and also hardware to go along with it. In all regards, whether you choose the free open source cmd line version of asterisk or pay for Switchvox’s award winning SMB software, all solutions present you with a powerhouse feature set and customization to meet your unique business needs. A short list if asterisk’s feature sets can be found here . The list is too long to fit in this blog.
Linux is a Dominant Force
Until most recently, the majority of IP PBXs being deployed were of an asterisk flavor based on a Linux operating system. While companies such as trixbox, Elastix, Switchvox, and many others have made great efforts to take the Linux programming piece out of the picture, the solutions are still Linux based meaning when it came time for your choice of hardware or server to run your asterisk solution, you needed to make sure the motherboard and peripheral components were compatible. See my previous blog posts relating to Open Source Hardware Requirements for more information. If you were not designing your own server platform, of course you could always purchase a Switchvox appliance for your SOHO or SMB solution, or a Rhino or Phoneboch’s appliance preloaded with your desired version of trixbox CE, Elastix, or other open sourced based software. This however adds to the cost of your solution.
3CX Compared to Asterisk
3CX is a Windows based IP PBX platform that is becoming very popular in the VoIP world. A few benefits of 3CX include, “its windows based”, most of us are used to Windows based operating systems and applications; it is completely software based and allows you to use existing Windows servers in your existing environment if available. For a complete list of compatible windows based operating systems, see here. Below are a few more benefits, 3CX has to offer:
- Windows Application Integration support– applications such as Microsoft Exchange, Outlook, Unified Messaging , Microsoft CRM , and SalesForce CRM are all fully supported on 3CX version 9.
- Feature rich- functions and feature sets of 3CX version 9 are very comparable to an Asterisk distribution. See here for a complete set of features. Please look at the “paid commercial” versions.
- Free and Paid commercial versions- are available to experiment with and test. Free versions of 3CX software are easily upgradable to any commercial paid version located here, through a unique activation license key provided to you via email after your purchase. You can then apply it directly from the 3CX admin GUI configuration. Updates are instantaneous after you apply them. They are based upon the maximum number of concurrent calls you will have on your solution, and can be easily upgraded to higher amount of simultaneous calls if needed. Once again, changes are done via the web GUI and are instantaneous.
- User Dashboards– the 3CX assistant provides each 3CX user a PC based presence application where they can easily set their calls rules, answer calls; listen to voicemails, and chat..
- Hotel Billing and PMS integration- On top of their paid software platforms, administrators can add the 3CX Hotel Billing, or the full-blown Hotel PMS integration module to easily integrate Hotel PMS platforms with 3CX. This is a huge hit in the hospitality industry. More information on this support can be found here.
- Non proprietary, SIP Standards based- Since the 3CX solution is based upon SIP protocol, administrators have the ability to use any SIP based endpoints such as IP Phones, Gateways, ATA’s ,and DECT Phones . Furthermore 3CX has fully tested a large number of these endpoints and offers full support including auto-provisioning. If you are looking to add some PCI cards to the solution, you will want to go with a Sangoma PCI FXO or T1 Netborder Express card with echo cancellation.
- Smartphone Apps- 3CX offers and fully supports a soft-phone application specifically designed for Android, and is beta testing a new app for Apple products such as the iphone, ipod, and ipad running IOS 4 or higher.
Which Software is Better? 3CX Phone System or Asterisk?
Which solution is better? 3CX Phone System or Asterisk? As usual, the question is not “Which software is better?” but “Which software is right for your needs and budget?”. Neither of these two VoIP software is necessarily “better” than the other. Both offer industry-leading features and a scalable platform, as well as the ability to custom-build a unique solution with optional modules. If you would like to get quotes or having trouble deciding which VoIP is the right for you, we’d love to help.
Hosted IP PBX phone systems are installed and serviced by Defend Hosting
Hosted IP-PBX phone systems give businesses of all sizes the most productive phone system calling features traditionally available to only the largest enterprises. No in-house systems or software to buy, manage and maintain is require for the phone system to work. Our hosted IP-PBX phone systems are a superior alternative that any others based IP PBX system. It delivers a productive set of business-grade calling features and integrates all your local, long distance and Internet access services over a single network connection. This way, you can take advantage of all the calling features anywhere in the world. We offer Hosted Cloud PBX phone systems for restaurants, grocery stores, offices, car dealerships, & startup businesses.
Hosted IP-PBX phone systems let you share a number of incoming phone lines among a larger number of extensions, so it’s not necessary to pay for a separate line for every office employee or workstation, which saves money. But the implementation and ongoing maintenance of a traditional or VoIP PBX system requires a type of expertise that your IT staff may not have. And if you go with a commercial product, the up-front costs for the hardware and software may be high. One alternative is to use hosted IP PBX phone system service.
A big advantage of using hosted phone system is that you don’t have to make the initial capital investment in expensive equipment. Further, you don’t need anyone on staff to maintain and troubleshoot it. All of the hosted VoIP phone system equipment is managed at a data site in Miami, Florida. Our Hosted VoIP phone system services Miami, New York, San Louis, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Las Vegas. In Europe we serve from France, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom and Poland. We serve too in Canada, Singapore and Australia.