Free Open Source PBX For Small Businesses

18 Button Western Electric Call Director 1958
Source: Wikipedia

Before There Were PBX Systems

Telephone Switching devices have been around us since the late 1950’s with Western Electrics 18 button Call Director. This system used a rotary dial interface sending electrical pulses down a copper wire to a switching machine. Variations continued right up into the early 1980’s.

PBX Systems 32 Years Ago

AT&T made the debut of the Merlin. The Merlin system was originally sold in two-line, six-telephone (206); four-line, 10-telephone (410); and eight-line, 20-telephone (820) configurations. Later, there was a further 10-line, 30-telephone configuration, with an expansion KSU [ Key System Unit] allowing the system to accommodate up to 70 telephones available (1030 and 3070 respectively). Read more Information at Wikipedia

Merlin PBX Key Features

  • 5-party conference calling
  • Ringer options
  • Prevents outgoing calls on individual phones
  • Privacy
  • Automatic outside and intercom dialing
  • Last number redial, automatic line selection, do not disturb
  • On hook dialing, call transfer, hold reminder, group listening

Free Open Source PBX of Today!

Several open source projects are combined into one portal. Hundreds and thousands of coding hours, hundreds of contributing developers around the globe. The features are unlimited thanks to Voice over IP Technology. Much like the free voice services from Google Voice™. I am learning this because it delivers true value to a small business on a struggling budget who cannot afford the thousands of dollars for a commercially designed PBX hardware / software system. The number of simultaneous conversations are only limited by  CPU power and RAM!

Some of the features that I find REALLY neat are:

  1. Google Voice integration
  2. Google Text to Speech
  3. Google Voice Recognition
  4. Shoutcast Audio Streaming for ON-HOLD music
  5. Fully Compliant FAX capabilities
  6. Auto Attendant (IVR)
  7. SIP Phone Software for your PC/MAC
  8. SMS Messaging
  9. Follow-Me ringing to land lines in after hours emergencies
  10. e911 services through various SIP providers
  11. Extension Directory by name or extension number
  12. Call Groups that ring everyone in a department
  13. Voice Mail & Voice Mail email transcription

So What’s Next?

Over the course of the next several months, I will create video tutorials and unboxing videos on how you can launch your PBX system for less than $500 hardware and software configuration services. Subscribe to receive further updates.