What is Asterisk?
Asterisk is an open source software PBX (Private Branch Exchange). It provides all the functionality of high-end business telephone systems, and more over its the most extensible and flexible telephone system. In layman’s terms its the software version of a telephone exchange. Install it on your linux machine and with some configuration you can have a VOIP telephone exchange in your home PC.
Is it Complicated?
It is just like any other linux open source project. You have some configuration files, edit it and you are up and running. Some knowledge of Linux commands can be helpful, even if you don’t know it you can always refer some ebook or the man pages. Setting up a VOIP telephone exchange and making calls via software phones wont take more than an hour. See how simple it is.
Whats in it for my Academic Project?
You can create your own IVRs (Interactive voice response) systems, answering machines, caller identification systems, call routing systems and your own private secure internet telephone exchange. Once you get into it, its your imagination that limits the opportunities.
Will it Help me Find a Job?
Asterisk is your ticket to the telecom domain. There is no other easy DIY means to get into the telecom industry and the technologies that it uses. Asterisk experts are paid 50$ to 100$ per hour in foriegn countries. All the hardware PBX machines will be replaced with Asterisk machines in a few years time.
Oh This Sound Cool. But Where do I Begin
These links will help you get started.