Sunday, November 19, 2006

Why install Asterisk at home?

I've had a number of people ask me why I would be interested in installing Asterisk PBX at home. Well, there are a number of reasons. First, I pay for voice mail and a few other features on my home phones, and it costs me a bit of cash every month. The PBX will pay for itself inside of a year. The main reason, though, is functionality. Here are some of the features that are of interest to me:

  • Sophisticated Voice Mail system - This can provide a mail box per person, that can be deliver notification by e-mail. Web based access to your voice mail is also available.
  • Interactive Voice Response IVR system - You can present callers with a menu, which can be particularly useful if you have more people in the house than you have incoming phone lines. "Press 1 for Him, Press 2 for Her, Press 3 for Kid No. 1, Press 4 for Kid No. 2"...
  • Control over which phones ring, and at what times.
  • Functions as an Intercom - Place in house calls.
  • Call routing - Route incoming calls by Caller ID.
  • Multi-line functionality - if you need more than 2 incoming lines, you will quickly discover that phones that handle more than two lines are much more expensive than 1 or 2 line phones, and there isn't very much selection available.
  • Call Detail Reports - for attempting to gain some control over costs, and/or teenagers, etc.
  • Check your voice mail over the web.
  • Email notification of voice mail.
There are many more features, but even this brief overview shows the kind of control you can have.

Plus, it's cool. And although I do hate to admit it, there is a fairly wide "geek" streak in me. It rears its ugly head sometimes.