I last looked at low-end VOIP PBX systems about two years ago when I reviewed the Linksys SPA9000 for Computerworld here.
This is a small box that connects to your broadband Internet and allows you to hook up four IP telephones and use them as your main telephony system. A new company called Jazinga has recently begun their own version, the MGA120. It also sells for about $1000 but is much easier to setup and operate. The box comes with a customized version of the popular VOIP Asterisk operating system, and all the setup and configuration is Web-based. You plug in your phones, fire up your Web browser, and in about 15 minutes you have a complete working PBX and phone system.
I liked the fact that you can have some of the more advanced features such as voicemail that is converted to email attachments, music on hold and auto attendants without having to get dirty with command-line syntax and Linux-like text editors. The box also includes a Wifi router too, just in case you don’t already have one. The menu screens are fairly straightforward and easy to navigate, and there are setup wizards that walk you through 95% of the configuration too. I didn’t like that the company doesn’t yet have much information on where to buy the box on their Web site, such as VOIP supply.
You still need to purchase your VOIP service from another vendor. Hopefully they will work out their channel strategy soon and make it more of a one-stop shopping experience.