Intel and Asterisk

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Intel and Asterisk

As I discussed in my interview with Mark Spencer, I mentioned how Intel was a fan of Asterisk. If you "read between the lines" you would know that I was "hinting" that Intel and Asterisk were going to partner. Shame on you for not noticing my little hint! ;) Part of what I wrote in that previous blog was, "Intel also seems to be a fan of Asterisk." and "It would be cool if Asterisk supported Intel's HMP (Host Media Processing), a specification that leverages the host processor (i.e.Pentium chip) for voice processing as opposed to expensive DSPs."

I also learned about this via a couple of sources, but it was unconfirmed. When I met Asterisk down in Alabama, they too hinted about an Intel deal but they wouldn't give me specifics, though I suspected it had something to do with Intel's HMP (host media processing).

Finally, they agreed to give me the scoop last week after I agreed to an NDA. I spoke with both Intel and Asterisk and learned that they are teaming up to provide an Asterisk solution that uses the open-source Asterisk IP-PBX software solution combined with Intel's Host Media Processing (HMP) hardware and software platform. Utilizing a special HMP driver included only with the paid version (Asterisk Business Edition) of Asterisk, buyers of Asterisk Business Edition now have a choice of using Digium hardware for TDM interconnection or Intel's popular HMP hardware platform. Mark Spencer told me, "Intel/Dialogic has been around forever. Customers are comfortable with Intel/Dialogic hardware, so now with this announcement they have a choice."

Interestingly enough, I asked Mark last week "When was your initial contact with Intel?" and Mark said "Believe it or not, 2001 was our initial contact with Intel." Guess it took Intel awhile to catch onto Asterisk's popularity and find some synergies between the two organizations. In 2001 Intel was probably like "Asterisk who?" Mark also commented on how the channel will be a major driver for Asterisk Business Edition. With hardware & HMP software components on Asterisk Business Edition Asterisk fans will have more choices in terms of hardware. I also asked Mark, " What sort of piracy protection mechanisms are on Asterisk to prevent someone from copying the HMP drivers to the regular "free" open-source Asterisk version?" and Mark replied, " A registration program creates a signed key that allows business edition to be run only on a single system. Distributing a system that used the HMP drivers on the open source Asterisk would violate the terms of the GNU General Public License.

Here's the full release which will go out on later this morning.

Intel and Digium Jointly Develop Channel Driver to Enable Asterisk Business Edition on Intel® Building Blocks

High Density Call Volume and Advanced Connectivity Now Possible on Digium Asterisk Business Edition

HUNTSVILLE, AL - (September 20, 2005) -Digium Inc., the creator of Asterisk and pioneer of open source telephony, today announced that it will incorporate support for Intel NetStructure® and Intel® Dialogic® products in Digium’s Asterisk Business Edition software platform. Intel and Digium will jointly develop a channel driver that will enable Asterisk Business Edition on Intel® modular hardware and software building blocks. As a result, Asterisk Business Edition will support one of the most established telephony card vendors and bring businesses more advanced features and functionality when they use an Asterisk-based telephony system with Intel components.

Asterisk Business Edition is a professional-grade version of Digium’s acclaimed open-source PBX and VoIP platform for the Linux operating system and is the most widely deployed open source telephony platform. It allows users to build more cost effective telephony platforms based on commodity PC hardware and a wide range of telephony applications from small to mid-sized PBXs, voice mail servers, and media gateways, to carrier grade softswitches. The Asterisk Business Edition adds tested reliability of critical functions and features, ideal for small to mid-sized business applications. Intel building blocks will enable scaling for large enterprises.

The on board media processing capabilities of the Intel modular building blocks will enable businesses to handle calls that require less overhead from the CPU (central processing unit) of the PBX server. Global product approvals, extensive digital network protocol support, and mature features such as call progress analysis for outbound dialing applications are some of the Intel board product strengths that can complement the Asterisk feature set, or expand its deployment options. Support for a range of analog and digital network interface boards from Intel is intended.

“The joint development work between Intel and Digium underscores not only Digium’s and Asterisk’s momentum, but the important role open source will play in furthering telecommunications innovations,” said Mark Spencer, president of Digium and creator of Asterisk. “With this addition, Digium can offer the business community even more options and features when building high-end telephony systems based on Asterisk.”

“We believe that open source will play a critical role in the future of modular platforms for communications solutions,” said Tim Moynihan, director of product marketing, Modular Communications Platform Division, Intel. “By adding support for Intel® building blocks, Digium’s Asterisk Business Edition will combine the solid service creation environment that Asterisk provides with the reliability, scalability, and rich feature set that Intel standards-based hardware and software have to offer.”

Support and Availability
Asterisk Business Edition is scheduled to ship with integrated support for Intel building blocks beginning in November, 2005. Asterisk Business Edition includes a full year of free upgrades and software support for installation, bug reporting, and critical issues. For more information, please contact or call 1-877-LINUX-ME. Alliance Systems, a new Dallas-based Digium distributor, carries Digium’s Asterisk Business Edition, Intel Dialogic hardware, and Digium hardware. Asterisk Business Edition is warranted and includes installation and troubleshooting support.

About Digium
Digium is the creator and primary developer of Asterisk, the industry's first Open Source PBX. Used in combination with Digium’s PCI telephony interface cards, Asterisk offers a strategic, highly cost-effective approach to voice and data transport over IP, TDM, switched and Ethernet architectures.

Digium solutions reduce the costs of traditional TDM and VoIP implementations through open source, standards-based software and innovative hardware solutions, including legacy PBX, IVR, auto attendant, and next generation gateways, media servers, and application servers. Digium hardware supports traditional voice and data protocols, and packet protocols such as IAX™ (Inter-Asterisk eXchange), and SIP VoIP.

Digium provides a highly refined selection of quality hardware and software products, developed and implemented using innovative engineering techniques (primarily open source development). A full range of professional services complement these product lines, including consulting, technical support, and customer software development services. The open source communications revolution is here, and Digium is leading the way.

About Asterisk
Code for Asterisk, originally written by Mark Spencer of Digium Inc., has been contributed from open source software engineers around the world. It supports a wide range of TDM protocols for the handling and transmission of voice over traditional telephony interfaces. It also supports US and European standard signaling types used in standard business phone systems, allowing it to bridge between next-generation voice-data integrated networks and existing infrastructure. Using the IAX Voice over IP protocol, Asterisk merges voice and data traffic seamlessly across disparate networks. While using packet voice, it is possible to send data such as URL addresses and images in-line with voice traffic, allowing advanced integration of information.

The Digium logo, Digium, Asterisk, and the Asterisk logo are trademarks of Digium Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respected owners.

Intel, Intel NetStructure, and Intel Dialogic are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.

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