Asterisk vs FreeSwitch?

Tod Hansmann at
Fri Feb 22 23:03:45 MST 2013

I will weigh in here a bit.  Asterisk has a lot of community support for 
the simple stuff, and a lot of docs for many of the more advanced 
stuff.  You will run into a paywall if you want to do anything fancy 
with some things.  Scalability isn't there as much. You have good distro 
support of asterisk too, and you get some lib flexibility, somewhat.

FreeSWITCH has much better performance and scalability, and as far as I 
can tell they support a lot more platforms if that's your thing.  I 
haven't checked if Asterisk has caught up at all on that front.  Where 
FreeSWITCH gets into trouble is their community is much more "rtfm" and 
less hand-holdy than Asterisk, though several of the community are more 
than friendly, and they REALLY know their stuff for the most part.  
Documentation is largely a wiki (though they have a book that's slightly 
outdated but very applicable, and I recommend it).  They use their own 
libs for the most part and you will be best to compile your own from 
scratch (takes a bit), but I never found that to be a problem.  You can 
even stick on the latest git master branch and they keep it quite 
stable.  Some bugs that have crept in tend to affect edge cases, and get 
fixed very quickly.

The biggest difference to me is that Asterisk is a PBX, and FreeSWITCH 
is a softswitch.  You can flexibility to do things more than just a PBX 
if you want with FreeSWITCH.  You can run either on your OpenWRT box, 
last I checked.  They both suck for anything more than your home on that 
platform, but it's there.  FreeSWITCH can easily be extended via modular 
addons to do all sorts of things with audio streams, and they have a 
great deal of commercial entities using them for bigger projects, so 
interop is nice for a lot of SIP Trunk providers.

Oh, and you will run into trouble with protocols a bit.  Asterisk has 
really always pushed their IAX protocols, where people in the rest of 
the industry are standardizing on SIP (as much as they can).  Both 
protocols have their strengths and weaknesses, but it doesn't matter 
really because SIP is king hands down in usage.  If you want to talk to 
other boxes (you do) you should probably stick with SIP purely.  
Asterisk can still do that, but it's less encouraged in many places.  
That may be making it sound like a worse problem than it is, and I'm not 
trying to, but the problem exists in some small form just the same.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents.

-Tod Hansmann

On 2/22/2013 10:16 AM, S. Dale Morrey wrote:
> So no major uptime or security differences?
> On Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 12:16 PM, Steve Alligood <steve at> wrote:
>> Your biggest difference is that asterisk has been around a long time, has a lot of community support, and a ton of add-on type apps.
>> Freeswitch is a lessons learned from asterisk type of thing, redesigned from the ground up, makes more sense under the hood if you do a lot of custom work with it, etc, but a lot less add ons, community knowledge, etc.
>> -Steve
>> On Feb 22, 2013, at 10:11 AM, S. Dale Morrey wrote:
>>> Is there a relatively recent comparison somewhere of these two products?
>>> I'd be interested in learning the strengths and weaknesses of each.
>>> Thanks!

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