Let’s face it. It’s hard not to like the application development flexibility that Asterisk® offers, especially if you’re part of an organization that has very specific telephony needs. But the price you pay for "free" and putting all of your eggs in the Asterisk basket is painful. Here are a few of the hurdles that come to mind: security, NAT, one-way audio, remote users, CRM support, conferencing, painful upgrades to address frequent bug fixes, and, more generally, telephone management and support. We love Asterisk, but…

Most folks don’t buy all of their cars or groceries or computer software from a single company. So why do it with your phone system when you can take advantage of the best of all worlds, open source and commercial? To us, that’s the compelling case for integrating a 3CX commercial PBX into your Asterisk infrastructure. It’s a new iteration of what we used to call a hybrid PBX. And you can do it without cost for a full year to kick the 3CX tires and provide your mobile users with transparent phone service regardless of where they are roaming. Using the special Nerd Vittles signup link, you get a custom version of 3CX that supports 4 simultaneous calls, 10-user web meetings, unlimited trunks, and 10 or more extensions. After the first year, you can either spring for less than $100 a year to maintain the 3CX free PBX platform and mobile clients with pain-free updates, or you can upgrade to a more robust 3CX Pro commercial offering with a much expanded feature set including call center technology and seamless CRM integration with MS Exchange, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft Outlook, Office 365, Google Contacts, Exact Online, Freshdesk, Datev, Zendesk, Nutshell, vtiger, EBP, Insightly, amoCRM, Bitrix24 and Act. What’s not to like?

If you’re a frequent Nerd Vittles visitor, you already know that the 3CX clients for iOS, Android, Windows, and Macs are one of our favorite telephony apps of all time. The ease with which the 3CX client can be configured with a single click on an email attachment is revolutionary. And, once configured, the fact that you never again experience a NAT problem with a SIP call is nothing short of miraculous. As we’ve previously mentioned, the 3CX Client provides a nearly perfect mobile client for those that rely upon Asterisk. Now 3CX is poised to release an even easier configuration procedure for their mobile clients in update 2 for version 15.5. Simply log into your 3CX web client on a PC or Mac and choose the Settings:QR Code option from the menu bar. 3CX will present a QR code to activate the 3CX Client for your smartphone. Scan it using the 3CX Client app on your smartphone and, presto, your phone is instantly provisioned. It doesn’t get any easier than this…

Let’s spend a little time reviewing our favorite Hybrid PBX setup. In this scenario which is perfect for small businesses with a mobile workforce, the setup looks like this. An Asterisk server is deployed to manage company trunks including Google Voice, voicemail, IVRs, custom apps, and extensions for every employee. Then we add a 3CX free PBX, interconnect it with the Asterisk PBX, and assign a 3CX extension for every employee. The 3CX extensions will all tie back to the employee extensions on the Asterisk PBX. It obviously simplifies things if you keep your number schemes consistent. For example, extension 7000 on the Asterisk PBX could be matched to extension 000 on the 3CX PBX. Then we set up outbound trunks on both the Asterisk PBX and 3CX to dial a 9 prefix to reach extensions on the other PBX. So dialing 9000 on the Asterisk PBX would connect the caller to extension 000 on the 3CX PBX. On the 3CX side, dialing 9000 would connect the caller to extension 7000 on the Asterisk PBX in our example. And, of course, 3CX Clients can reach any number worldwide using Asterisk outbound trunks by dialing a 9 prefix and then the long distance number. Our previous tutorials will walk you through setting this up with Incredible PBX® 13, Issabel™, any FreePBX®-based PBX, or even Wazo. Once you complete the 5-minute setup, mobile users can take advantage of all the powerful features on any 3CX Client platform while still receiving their incoming calls from the Asterisk-based office PBX by simply forwarding their extension to their matching 9XXX destination on the 3CX platform. This will ring their 3CX Client anywhere in the world with nothing but a Wi-Fi connection! And it’s a free call.

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017  

Need help with Asterisk? Visit the PBX in a Flash Forum.


Special Thanks to Our Generous Sponsors

FULL DISCLOSURE: 3CX, RentPBX, Amazon, Vitelity, DigitalOcean, Vultr and others provide financial support to Nerd Vittles and our open source projects through advertising or referral revenue. We’ve chosen these providers not the other way around. Our decisions were based upon their corporate reputation and the quality of their offerings and their pricing. Our technology recommendations are reached independently of financial considerations except in situations in which comparable products at comparable pricing are available from multiple sources. In this limited case, we support our sponsors because our sponsors support us.

Awesome Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a terrific discount for Nerd Vittles readers. You now can get an almost half-price DID from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you’re seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. When you use our special link to sign up, Nerd Vittles gets a few shekels down the road to support our open source development efforts while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity’s DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For our users, here’s a deal you can’t (and shouldn’t) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls and four simultaneous channels for just $3.99 a month. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. NOTE: You can only use the Nerd Vittles sign-up link to order your DIDs, or you won’t get the special pricing! Vitelity’s rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage. Any balance is refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.

​​3CX is a software PBX that’s easy to install & manage. It includes integrated softphones, WebRTC conferencing and essential add-ons out of the box, at no additional cost. Try the free edition at www.3cx.com. Better yet, download the PIAF5 ISO powered by 3CX. Free version includes support for 8 simultaneous calls with a SIP trunk.

  • Run on Premise or in the Cloud, on Windows and now on Linux
  • Softphones for iOS, Android, Win & Mac
  • Easy install, backup & restore, version upgrades
  • Automatically configures IP Phones, SIP Trunks & Gateways

  • RentPBX, a long-time partner and supporter of PIAF project, is offering generous discounts for Nerd Vittles readers. For all of your Incredible PBX hosting needs, sign up at www.RentPBX.com and use code NOGOTCHAS to get the special pricing. The code will lower the price to $14.99/month, originally $24.99/month. It’s less than 50¢/day.

    Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest…

    Be Sociable, Share!


    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *