A few months ago, I wrote about my findings on software solutions that can be used to integrate the popular proprietary VoIP softphone ‘Skype’ with the free, Open Source, SIP compliant PBX ‘Asterisk’, that’s been gaining momentum in the enterprise for the past few years. If you’re not familiar with both, but are interested, take a few minutes to re-read the introductory section of the previous article.
Let us first revisit the solutions I found back in early June 2006:
This is a commercial (used to be free) Windows Skype bridge that presents a SIP interface that Asterisk can make use of. You can get it from here. You might try running this using VMWare under linux, or, if you’re daring, Wine.
It seems to be a bridge between Skype and IAX, the Inter-Asterisk eXchange protocol. I haven’t seen any code yet. It also seems to be exposing a Java interface from the little I’ve read over at the Skype forum. It’s web page is empty.
Probably the least attractive of all options, this is just a software link between Skype and a USB FXS unit (called E-ZI Phonebox). You would need an FXO interface for your Asterisk machine to interface with it, so it’s not exactly what we need — or very elegant. You can find it here.
While my report at the time was certainly not extensively researched, it was more or less what an hour spent Googling for Skype, SIP and Asterisk would provide. As such, it was a surprise to find that many more solutions for bridging Skype and Asterisk, either in the form of a channel driver or otherwise were available this time around. Here are the additional products/solutions I found, most of which have appeared since June:
A commercial SIP-Skype bridge, that appears to have support for Windows and Linux (varying functionality). All three versions (Pro, Standard and Linux/SIP) claim Asterisk compatibility. Costs from US$19.95 to around US$40. Get it from here.
Yet another commercial offering, this time from Brazil, costing either $19.00 (personal) or $99.00 (corporate) per port for the linux operating system (32bit Fedoras and Ubuntu are supported). Their page is here.
Another solution, announced earlier this year and slated for release this month, it also provides a channel driver for Asterisk, enabling connectivity to Skype. This is most certainly a commercial product and seems to be integrating with a host of other products by that company. They site is here.
There seem to be many more products out there for integrating Skype and Asterisk. Due to the relatively high pricing for corporate use, some may choose to completely abandon Skype and use the SIP-based Gizmo softphone instead that offers similar functionality and supports Asterisk by default. Whatever you do, consider Asterisk before deciding on a PBX. Chances are you will be impressed by its featureset and low cost.