Some of the phone systems I’ve looked at such as Shoretel’s implementation require a license per extension. Asterisk on the other hand, does not require any cost for the software, only the price of the server, any switches need, and the phones themselves. This is another big point for the Asterisk system: You can use quite a variety of phones with the system pretty easily. From what I’ve seen the Cisco 79xx line and the Polycom SoundPoint 30x and 50x are the best phones around. The Polycom seem to be quite a bit cheaper for the same feature set as the Cisco’s though. Currently, I’ve got a test implementation running that took about an hour to set up, and tested with soft-phones and a pay as you go account from Iaxtel.
Iaxtel’s service is .02 cents per minute local and .04 cents per minute long distance for the pay as you go account. Typical savings for the company that I work for would be reducing the long distance bill by about 30%. I’m sure there will be more posts along this line from me, as I get two Polycom 501’s If you’re looking for more information on Asterisk, check out Digium official website


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