Open Source VoIP Solutions: What You Should Know?
The ability to communicate through packet-switched networks rather than traditional circuit-switched networks has not only paved the way for a more flexible and affordable voice communication system but also the creation of open source software for such purposes.
Open source software refers to programs developed by a community to solve a common need. These programs are more often than not created under a “public domain” license where anyone is welcome to use and modify the software at no cost, but restricted to resell it.
Before we delve into envisioned benefits of exploiting open source VoIP software, it’s important to review their primary workings.
What is Open Source VoIP?
Typical open source VoIP software transforms your computer into a voice over communications server which functions as an internet-based telephone system for processing call-related data and incoming requests from clients.
The availability of VoIP software in open source form allows you to use it as a platform for building real-time voice and video applications as anyone is allowed to study and modify the code.
Mainstream open source VoIP solutions represent frameworks on which users create multi-protocol, real-time communications and applications. This is integral if you are running a large business with a specific set of needs.
Key things you can build include:
- VoIP gateways
- Voicemail servers
- Conference bridges
- Call centers
- IVR servers
- Call distributors
- Business phone Systems
- Benefits of Using Open Source VoIP Software
An open source solution is generally cheaper than a proprietary solution. Hence, it’s typically more inexpensive especially when adopted in an enterprise environment. If your business has a tight budget, it makes much more sense to utilize an open source solution rather than a paid solution with equivalent capabilities.
Maintenance costs are also relatively low because of the high involvement of communities. Rather than writing and maintaining the application by yourself, you can share the cost with multiple parties.
Ability to Start Small
Business startups could start by exploiting community versions of VoIP software before upgrading to commercially-supported solutions as their business requirements become complex over time.
Agility and Flexibility
Perhaps the greatest advantage of open source VoIP solutions is their supreme agility and flexibility. Agility is the ability to respond to changes seamlessly while flexibility is the ability to be easily modified.
A business that does not compete on agility will only lag behind its competitors. This is because modern VoIP environment requires businesses and residential subscribers alike to look out and quickly respond to changes, which are commonplace in the technology environment.
Thanks to open source VoIP solutions, you can enjoy the ability to apply multiple ways of solving problems without worrying about the chance of getting blocked out because a certain feature is not present in a subscription plan.
Solid Information Security
Open source solutions have shown a solid reputation when it comes to information security. While it may not be practicable to claim security superiority in the world of software development, the responsiveness of open source communities with regard to information security issues has been quite good.
This is partly fueled by the fact that the public can analyze code that is, even in some cases, decades old for possible loopholes and rectify problems that become apparent.
Another significant advantage of employing open source VoIP software is the speed of integration. With open source solutions, you only have to understand whether your problem can be solved and proceed to deliver right away. Professional support and services are usually accessible as long as you can communicate with the community.
Readiness for the Future
With constant changes shaping the technology landscape, it is always wise to pick a solution that prepares you and your business for the future. Cloud, web, and mobile solutions are largely built on open source infrastructure. This is a pointer that open source is the future. Why not try open source VoIP?
Possible Downsides to Using Open Source VoIP
Level of Support
Although communities may provide support for open source VoIP software, most initiatives do not come with structured support. Instead, users rely on direct contact with developers.
Intellectual property concerns
Many people have expressed concerns about intellectual property rights with some open source licensing terms being difficult to comply with.
While making use of a hosted premium service from one of the top VoIP software providers will certainly get the job done, it may not fulfill the needs of all users. Open source VoIP software fills gaps that exist in current software by offering the capability to modify or build custom VoIP applications.
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