This is probably a very stupid question, but if someone can answer, I would appreciate it.
Is Asterisk a solution similar to that of Vonage or Packet8 or something? For example, if you setup an Asterisk box, will it avoid the need for a tradition phone line? Or, is asterisk more like a bridge to connect the outside world to your internal phone system/network?
Is Asterisk a solution similar to that of Vonage or Packet8 or something
Ans- it may be but also depends on your requirement.
For example, if you setup an Asterisk box, will it avoid the need for a tradition phone line
Ans- yes it will avoid tradiation tele. line if ur going to us VOIP & its easy only need to subscribe any sip VOIP provider services.
Or, is asterisk more like a bridge to connect the outside world to your internal phone system/network
Ans. Yes, Asterisk will conect out side telecomworld with ru internet network.
If you install Asterisk as standard on a server (AsteriskNOW or Trixbox if you want a more complete solution out of the box) then you can connect IP telephones to it and make calls between those phones (in the same network/building or if the IP phones are at remote locations across an Internet connection).
The next step would be to establish an account with a SIP service provider (there are lots out there) and you can make calls to standard telephones anywhere via the SIP connection (known as a SIP trunk) to the service provider. You could even have more than one - I use a couple to get the cheapest rates on different types of call.
Next you can buy hardware to connect your Asterisk server to traditional telephone lines (either analogue PSTN or digital ISDN lines). You can then recieve and make calls via these lines as well.
That’s what I thought it was. I guess I was kind of hoping that it could be configured to replace phone line completely. That’s why I said that it was probably a stupid question.
If I was to read through the O’Riley book on Asterisk/Telephony, would that give me a solid understanding of how Asterisk works (including configuration) or a general knowledge?
The books is good background and will tell you how to hand craft dial-plans, etc. However, I would just give it a go. Try out Trixbox (www.trixbox.org) as this is easy to configure but if you have a look at the dial-plans that they setup through the GUI it will teach you a lot.