FreePBX vs FreeSWITCH – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons)

FreePBX vs FreeSWITCH – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons). Today, a lot of people rely on open source IP PBX and unified communication solutions for customization, scalability and cost-effectiveness. Because everything is going digital, a platform that relies mostly on software instead of hardware is required.

This way access to multiple extensions is available and it requires only a single network to transmit a voice, data, video and more. We have prepared an article to help you choose an appropriate open source PBX system and below we have compared FreePBX vs FreeSWITCH as the top two options.

We have created a comparison of these two software tools to help you decide the best and the most suitable platform based on your needs. So, let’s get into the blog.

What is FreePBX

Developed by Sangoma Technologies, FreePBX is an open source IP PBX management tool that enables users to customize their business phone systems using built in features and added modules. It comprises two million installations worldwide. Moreover, although it has some basic built in features, it is a highly customizable PBX platform that allows you to pick and choose particular capabilities suitable for your business needs.

The word “Free” in a FreePBX means this software is absolutely free and allows users to build a phone system tailored to their needs. It is a simple and customizable platform that includes all features needed to build a scalable business phone system on any budget.

Features of FreePBX

PBX Solutions

FreePBX solutions can be installed manually. However, some users prefer using the FreePBX Distro like Linux OS, Asterisk communication platform and the FreePBX GUI. it also offers several built in features and includes a standard set of features that users can later build of it. This way users do not have to pay for features and can still get the option of adding them in the future.

Moreover, it is highly compatible with top SIP trunking providers and hardware providers like Yealink, Digium, Cisco, and Polycom, while also purchasing certified Sangoma Hardware. This hardware includes a phone system, supporting 350 simultaneous calls and several phone lines. It also constitutes developers’ community or applications that users can utilize to modify FreePBX in several ways.

Contact Center and Call Management

FreePBX provides a completely free contact center and calls management features along with the add on modules for call centers or companies with additional call control needs. You can acquire toll free numbers and local DID from SIPStation. You also get the option to port in current phone numbers or obtain new virtual numbers. Its built in features include basic calling queues and ring groups, conference bridges, unlimited extensions, voicemail blasting, voicemail to email, call history and much more.

Video Conferencing

You can integrate video conferencing via Video Codec in FreePBX. Further, Sangoma has launched Sangoma Meet recently, which is designed to integrate with PBX. This free desktop and mobile conferencing tool can include a maximum of fifty participants. The features include screen sharing, automatic password protection, host controls like mute or unmute or remove participants, private or group chat messaging, audio only participants, and emoji reactions.

CRM Integrations

FreePBX system supports CRMs like SugarCRM, Zoho, Salesforce, SuiteCRM and Connectwise.

Pros of FreePBX

  • It provides a high level of customization.
  • There are unlimited extensions and trunks.
  • It offers long term licensing.
  • It constitutes an outstanding open source community.
  • It has certified PBX free optimized appliances along with several user capabilities.
  • Support both x86 and ARM CPU.
  • Good support for telephony hardware.
  • Wide Community Support.

Cons of FreePBX

  • Its installation process is outdated and time consuming.
  • It doe not have built in CRM and video conferencing features.
  • It is a complex and less intuitive user interface.
  • Its advanced features require module purchases.
  • Some of the updates result in temporary call drop issues.
  • Not all modules are free, some commercial modules need to pay.
  • Graphical interface uses much system resource.

Next in our FreePBX vs FreeSWITCH – What’s the Difference? let’s introduce FreeSWITCH.

What is FreeSWITCH

FreeSWITCH is software that provides a completely customizable and configurable telecom stack for modern applications. This open source software provides a production grade telecom stack, comprising multiple applications such as PBX, call center applications, Sip Proxy, RTP Proxy, Audio/Video Conference, etc. Users widely prefer this tool because of the features and customizations it offers.

FreeSWITCH is designed for real time communication, WebRTC, telecommunications, video and Voice over Internet ProtocolVoice over Internet Protocol. It supported many well known communication technologies such as, Skype, SIP, H.323 and WebRTC. It is written in C language and supported Mac OS X, Window, ARM operating system.

Features of FreeSWITCH

  • The core functionality of FreeSWITCH is call routing. These services tend to acquire benefits from a variety of capabilities provided by FreeSWITCH.
  • Integrates into lower power devices effortlessly.
  • Straightforward end user device settings make it effective for residentials.
  • Advanced voicemail settings and an audio navigation system using Interactive Voice Response.
  • During severe weather conditions, audio dialing features get linked to Interactive Voice Response.
  • You can use it for surveys and volunteering applications.
  • Its scalable features make it an ideal tool for use as a foundation of a robust commercial PBX phone system.
  • Provides numerous functions and is primitive for working with audio files and tasks. Audio formats contain their own API in this platform.
  • Interconnects several telephony protocols, including innovative new media and signaling protocols. This sturdy translator understands a wide range of languages between them.
  • Most advanced video conferencing features like several video codecs support and transcoding, multiple video layouts, screen splits, picture in picture, screen sharing, video mixing, video effects, etc.
  • Highly versatile and it can be used as a library in your apps.
  • It simplifies advanced applications by removing several complications. It routes or link crucial communication protocols by utilizing audio, video, text or other type of media.

Pros of FreeSWITCH

  • The use of a physical resource is more efficient as it enables you to support a higher load for the same underlying hardware.
  • Its clustering capabilities split up operations based on functions. It means that one sever can support conferencing, another IVR and another main call operation.
  • It is beneficial for multi tenant implementations where every tenant or customer acquires segregated components of the IP PBX.

Cons of FreeSWITCH

  • Processing and memory requirements in FreeSWITCH tends to have a large server footprint.
  • It has limited end device templates.
  • Its open source support infrastructure is not extensive.

FreePBX vs FreeSWITCH: Key Differences

Only supports Linux operating system
Supports Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Companies that are interested in a completely free open source PBX system.
Companies that require Software Defined Telecom Stack.
It is free and licensed under the GNU General Public License.
It is completely free and released under the Mozilla Public License.
Integrates DID Logic, Telnyx, CRMTiger, Coeo, Dynamics Telephony, NetThunder, OrekaTK, and PBXDom.
Integrates DID Logic, Telnyx, FetchIt, and Kamailio.
Less flexible compared to FreeSWITCH
It is more flexible as compared to FreePBX. Because FreeSWITCH supported multiple languages such as .NET, JavaScript, Perl, C++, Python, and FreeSWITCH library easily embed with other applications.
Communication Platform
It is a "private branch exchange solution" and framework for developing communication applications.
It is just a Softswitch.
It uses a simple file for dial plan and configuration. Means configuration of the FreePBX is simple.
It uses XML file for configuration and dial plan. Writing an XML file is very difficult because it has its own method of writing the file.
Not stable in high traffic applications.
Improved stability.

Great! We have gained more  knowledge about FreePBX vs FreeSWITCH – What’s the Difference? So let’s summarize.

FreePBX vs FreeSWITCH - What's the Difference? Conclusion

Both systems are open source and it is hard to pick the clearly best solution. FreeSWITCH hides within its sturdy arsenal of modules and tools. Also, it is ideal for businesses looking for advanced features. When you combine it with commercially available IP PBX appliances, advanced voice and video services and interoperability certifications provided by several vendors, it becomes a great option.

Both softwares are famous telephony platforms that utilize VoIP. On the base of VoIP technology these software provides voice communication and multimedia to internet applications through IP networks. After analyzing both software’s we can say that both have some advantages and some disadvantages. It totally depends on the users requirements for the deployment of a communication system. If a user want to utilize the large volume of calls than FreeSWITCH is the best option. But if a user wants an easy configurable and low volume of call than FreePBX is better solution.

Avatar for Hitesh Jethva
Hitesh Jethva

I am a fan of open source technology and have more than 10 years of experience working with Linux and Open Source technologies. I am one of the Linux technical writers for Cloud Infrastructure Services.

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