Here are my notes I put together when I did the pros and cons of switching to an asterisk based PBX system for my company. At the time of writing we are using both concurrently. In a nutshell, if you have someone tech savvy it’s definitely worth it. You get a lot more features, freedom, and it’s cheaper. My notes below are unedited from a google doc I kept so please excuse the grammar issues.
The notes on this article were prepared in September of 2010.
Feature Comparison RingCentral Vs Asterisk PBX
Ring Central Pros:
- The user interface is somewhat easier to use for setting up business hour calling rule type stuff.
- Couldn’t find an option to have an email come through when someone doesn’t answer a call (but caller doesn’t leave a voice mail).
- Ability to send a fax by sending an email (like the Ringcentral FaxOut option) is not built in to Asterisk by default. There are addons which apparently provide this capability one is called AsterFax but since this functionality if built in to ringcentral it’s a pro for it.
- Other then that… all other features are matched / exceeded by Asterisk.
- Can have unlimited number of extentions and it doesn’t cost us any more a month. Simplified per minute billing. This means everyone can have a softphone + deskphone and it doesn’t cost anymore.
- HD Voice capable (for higher quality phone calls)
- Attended Transfer Option (allows you to stay on the line with caller in case the person you’re transfering to doesn’t pick up)
- Caller ID can display contacts from our SugarCRM Database.
- Caller ID can be prefixed with things like “Support:<number>|<contact name>”, “Sales:<number>|<contact name>”
- Ability to define nested IVR hierarchy’s
- Panel view for when we have a receptionist allows them to transfer with drag and drop + see status of people’s phones.
- Softphone’s dont add any additional cost (since extensions are free…)
- Conference Calls can be done using a special extention… and all people attending call from inside your company don’t eat up your minutes.
- Interoffice calls are free (they’re handled by the PBX internally).
- We can add direct dial numbers for 1.29 a month.
- Call Recording capabilities… we can have all sales calls recorded automatically for quality assurance.
- Call Queues - (people get put on hold until someone is available)
- Call Parking Lots — (from the phone you can press a key sequence to put someone into a “parking lot slot” then you call over to your buddy and say you have a call on 78. The user then picks up his phone presses *78 and they’re connected to them.
- Smart features like… If i’m already on a phone call and then I get a new call do not have it ring my cell phone also. (in other words it skips the Find Me Settings if you’re using your desk phone).
Cost Comparison of RingCentral vs. Asterisk+FlowRoute
Month of August:
Inbound Minutes: 1700
Outbound Minutes: 2800
Asterisk + FlowRoute Sample Cost for August:
Monthly Fee: $35 (hosting fee to have asterisk box hosted by lylix)
DID Fee: $1.39 (This is for each direct number… so we could have a support number, a local number and 866 number)
Outbound Minute Cost: $27.44 = 0.0098 * 2793
Inbound Minute Cost: $32.30 = 0.0190 * 1700
RingCentral Sample Cost for August
Digital Line Fees: 74.93 = 9.99 (ext1) + 9.99 (ext2) + 9.99 (ext3) + 4.99 (engineer ext) + 24.99 (sales ext) + 9.99 (ext4) + 4.99 (ext5)
RingCentral Power: 49.99 (includes 1000 minutes)
Not Included Incoming Minutes: 29.4 = 700 * 0.042
Total: $154.32 + any minute pool overages
* - Outbound minutes are assumed to be covered by each persons digital line. This isn’t really the case since Basic lines don’t come with any minutes and people might go over minutes in standard plan.
* Since the per minute rates are much lower using flowroute the cost savings will go up significantly as you add more lines and use more minutes.