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Asterisk 1.8 Supports Google Voice, IPv6, ISDN-BRI

In advance of next weeks user meeting AstriCon Conference & Expo, Digium Inc. announced Thursday the release of Asterisk 1.8, a significant update to its open-source telephony platform that includes more than 200 enhancements, including new security features, integration with IPv6 and additions to ISDN-BRI functionality.

Digiums Asterisk Marketing Director Steve Sokol told PHONE+ there are five key upgrades in Asterisk 1.8.

One of the more significant upgrades, particularly for European users, he said, is support for more than 10 new ISDN features. Among these are call-completion services, connected party identification, ETSI advice of charge (AOC), message waiting indicator (MWI), call rerouting and call deflection.

In a press statement, German systems integrator Stefan Wintermeyer, founder of AMOOMA GmbH, said, the new ISDN features are a big step forward for the European Asterisk community.”

A second highlight of Asterisk 1.8, Sokol said, is support for secure real-time transport protocol (RTP). What this means in practice is that Asterisk users now can encrypt SIP phone calls, he said.

Third, he said, the new release now supports IPv6, which IPv6 uses a 128-bit address to its predecessor IPv4s 32 bit, and thus vastly expands the number of IP addresses to head off exhaustion. Sokol said this is particularly important in parts of the world that did not get a large allotment of IPv4 addresses.

A fourth key addition is calendar integration with support for Microsoft Exchange, CalDav and iCalendar. Sokol said this enables developers to, for example, write code that will reroute calls based on a calendar lookup.

Finally, he said, Asterisk 1.8 supports Google Talk and Google Voice. Sokol explained that traveling employees can be reached through their Asterisk PBX on their Google accounts and they can use Google accounts to make outbound calls through the Asterisk PBX.

Asterisk 1.8 is released under the GNU General Public License (GPLv2). It is free of charge and available for download here. Users can download the upgrade to update existing systems or use it to build new applications, Sokol said. Asterisk can be used to create phone system or voice application, with some of the most common uses being IP PBXs, voice gateways, voice mail, IVR, conference bridges and ACDs for call centers.

Asterisk 1.8 is designated as a Long Term Support release, the first since Asterisk 1.4 in December 2006, said Sokol. He said Digium expects to release more frequent updates going forward. About a year ago, he said, the company adopted a more formal agile development methodology called Scrum. According to the creators, Scrum uses the real-world progress of a project  not a best guess or uninformed forecast  to plan and schedule releases. In Scrum, projects are divided into succinct work cadences, known as sprints, which are typically one week, two weeks, or three weeks in duration.”

Russell Bryant, Digiums lead Asterisk developer, said Digium is already working on its next release. Now that its available, were rolling our development resources to work on the planned set of Asterisk 1.10 features.”

AstriCon Conference & Expo runs from Oct. 26-28, near Washington, D.C.


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