Asterisk or Switchvox – Which is Right For You?

What’s the Difference Between Asterisk and Switchvox?

As the Bay Area’s leading Digium Switchvox Reseller, we get asked this question a lot. 

I like how Digium portrays the difference: Asterisk is an Engine, Switchvox is a Vehicle.

While both products fit into the larger universe of telecommunications technologies, they have very different purposes and are geared towards very different audiences.

Asterisk is a Powerful Toolbox for Developers

Asterisk is built by and for telecom systems developers. The open source project started over a decade ago and the current iteration of the platform is now a very robust business VoIP engine that handles all of the low-level details of initiating, maintaining and manipulating real-time media streams (calls) between endpoints (phones).

It’s tested and refined by a community of more than 65,000 developers and integrators in 170 countries around the world and continues to lead the open source community in cutting edge real-time IP-based operating systems.  

If you’re familiar with Apache, the most popular open source web server in the world, you’ll understand Asterisk. Asterisk is the Apache of the IP PBX world.

And it’s free. Download it here and go nuts. But don’t forget to bring your UNIX and programming skills along, too. 

What Can I Build With Asterisk as a Foundation?

The better question is what can’t you build with Asterisk. 

Asterisk application developers can write a huge variety of IP telephony applications from the Asterisk components. What to make Asterisk behave as a PBX? Need a VoIP Gateway? No problem! Need to build IVR? Asterisk has got you covered. 

Switchvox is an Application Built On Top of Asterisk

Switchvox is the result of almost seven years of development work by Digium to create the ultimate IP PBX on top of the already robust engine that is Asterisk.

After all that hard work, I do believe they’ve got it. Switchvox is Digium’s premier flagship commercial product

Switchvox is an ideal VoIP PBX system for your small or medium sized business. 

Switchvox is administered through an easy to use web-based UI rather than raw configuration files and custom scripts of Asterisk. It includes all of the standard features of phone system, plus Unified Communication capabilities like advanced voice messaging, instant messaging, desktop fax, drag/drop call control, multi-party conferencing and advanced IVR

Switchvox is a Unified Communications system that integrates all office communications, including phone, fax, chat and web mashups. Businesses that want to do more than just talk can use Switchvox to help them from simple telephony to actual Unified Communications. You can even use the IP phone or VoIP service provider of your choice. It’s very flexible…right out of the box. 

Is Switchvox Free like Asterisk?

Switchvox is a commercial product, but it’s incredibly reasonable when you compare it to other IP PBX systems out there. The flagship Switchvox phone system starts at around $3,600 with the more basic SOHO package going for only $1,600. 

Need Help Making a Decision?

I hope this little post helped clear up any confusion. If you’re still undecided, contact TeleDynamic, and we can take you through the decision-making process to help you make the right decision for your business. 


We offer business-class communication solutions with responsive local support

To learn more, call us today at (510) 785-2480