The latest version of Digium's Asterisk open-source platform includes a wide-band media engine and conferencing capabilities, among other enhancements.

October 27, 2011

2 Min Read
Asterisk 10 Adds Wide-band Media Engine, Conferencing

By Khali Henderson

Digium Inc. announced Thursday the release of Asterisk 10, the latest version of the Asterisk open-source communications platform, which includes a wide-band media engine and conferencing capabilities among other enhancements.

Debuiting at AstriCon, the Asterisk User Conference & Expo, in Denver, Asterisk 10 is the most significant release since Asterisk 1.8 last fall. The release numbering change (dropping the 1. in 1.10) was made to more properly align Asterisk with its long history, said Steve Sokol, marketing director for Asterisk, in an advance interview with Channel Partners. Asterisk was introduced 12 years ago and is widely regarded as the most popular open source communications platform with millions of downloads.

In Asterisk 10, Digium replaced Asterisks telephony-grade media engine with one that supports studio-quality audio and a nearly unlimited number of codecs now in use in what Sokol calls the post-telephony world.” Specifically, in addition to 8 and 16 kHz sampling rates, Asterisk 10 now supports 8, 12, 16, 24, 32, 44.1, 48, 96 and 192 kHz rates for super- and ultra-wideband audio. It also supports new codecs, including Skypes SILK codec, 32kHz Speex support and pass-through support for CELT. 

Digium also replaced Asterisks MeetMe conferencing bridge with an HD-capable intelligent bridge called ConfBridge, which supports all codecs and conference rates and works on any Asterisk 10 system, regardless of operating system or architecture. Intelligent mixing algorithms provide each participant with the optimal audio quality for their connection, not the lowest common quality level. ConfBridge also includes a lightweight video conferencing application, which relays video of a designated speaker or the current speaker to other participants in a conference. Video-capable SIP devices that use the same codec are required, however. Sokol said the capability was tested up to eight users, but a more robust CPU might support greater numbers.

Sokol said that Digium has bolstered Asterisks fax capabilities beyond T.38 support for end-points. He said Asterisk now includes T.38 gateway capabilities that allow outgoing fax calls from analog fax machines to be connected to T.38 fax endpoints over SIP and incoming T.38 fax calls to be delivered directly to analog fax machines.

Finally, Sokol said that  Asterisk is becoming a text-message router. While Asterisk has long been able to send and receive text messages, he said it now can serve as a bridge between messaging protocols, such as SIP MESSAGE and XMPP.

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