trixbox Pro: Look, No Hands!

New version of VoIP system that started life as 'Asterisk for amateurs' is a sophisticated, easy-to-manage phone powerhouse for SMBs

 By Carla Schroder
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The newest release of trixbox Pro, 2.0, comes with a lot of fixes, updates, and new features.

Its most important new feature is genuine auto-provisioning. Provided, of course, that you use Polycom and/or Aastra phones. As both companies make good IP phones, this should not be a hardship. This literally means plug and play—plug in your new server, plug in your phones, have a cup of tea, and the server will find and provision the phones with no intervention from you. Many iPBX systems claim auto-provisioning, but they still require some level of manual intervention. trixbox Pro 2.0 is 100 percent hands-off.

On a new deployment extension numbering starts at 7000. On an existing network, new extensions are automatically incremented from the highest-numbered extension. Of course, the administrator can manually tweak extension numbering however s/he likes. The system even remotely reboots phones when they need it.

New extensions are also automatically added to HUD (Heads Up Display) HUD is a graphical dashboard that brings all of your communications under a single control interface—telephone, instant messaging, voicemail, and presence, the new buzzword that means users can be found no matter where they are. HUD even includes a bit of artificial intelligence that automatically figures out on its own where you are, and handles your calls according to rules that you have created.

trixbox Pro targets resellers rolling out deployments of up to 200 users, so another major new feature is a single management interface for multiple customer accounts, with hot-switching between accounts. Health monitors send alerts for a large number of both hardware and software problems.

Continuing with the theme of "make the computer do the work" for both administrators and end users, trixbox Pro auto-detects and auto-configures BRI and E1 interfaces, which are the European equivalents to ISDN and T1. Country-specific telecom settings are as easy as entering the country name in a configuration file; trixbox Pro will then take care of any country-specific settings without human intervention.

If you're thinking "This all sounds a lot like PBXtra" (see our review) you are correct. PBXtra and trixbox Pro share a common codebase, and both target resellers. The main difference between the two is that PBXtra is a complete turnkey system that includes both hardware and software. With trixbox Pro, you have a software-only option or a hardware/software bundle. For more information and free downloads visit trixbox.com.

This article was originally published on Apr 16, 2008
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