Jazinga has targeted an interesting niche with the MGA-120. Not long ago, the prospect of an inexpensive, easy-to-use IP PBX with big business features was essentially fantasy. By leveraging Linux and Asterisk on custom hardware, Jazinga has delivered an exceptional combination of value & capability with middleware that makes it simple to use.
The Jazinga system is definitely the easiest to set up IP PBX that I have ever encountered. But while it works well, it still requires some knowledge on the part of the person doing the configuration. For the moment, at least, that makes it the perfect complement to smaller VARs, IT consultants, and even ITSPs who can support inexperienced or indifferent end-users.
As a wireless router, Jazinga is definitely middle-of-the-road. But the synergy of routing and IP telephony functions in a single, reasonably-priced device is truly compelling for a new installation. In my case, I already have an draft 802.11n AP. So while I’ll probably use Jazinga as my primary router, I will simply disable the Wi-Fi.
At $1095, the Jazinga system is perhaps more expensive than assembling comparable hardware pieces. But the combined hardware and software approach ultimately saves a lot of time. If your time is valuable, then Jazinga is a bargain.
But should you consider spending that much on a product from a relatively unknown company that is just coming out with its first product, especially during these troubled times? You’ll have to decide that for yourself, but here is a little info to help:
- The company was founded in February 2007
- 10 employees
- Product was introduced at ITXPO East in January 2008
- Shipments began September 2008
- Just closed a US distribution deal and will be available from the major online vendors in the next few weeks.
- Primary support will be from retailer, not Jazinga.
As an Asterisk user since 2003, my approach has been to “roll my own” systems. I started out using a spare desktop PC, the eventually migrated to the Soekris Net4801 embedded hardware described in my January 2006 article. From that point, I moved to a recycled HP T5700 thin client, which has been in service for two years.
I’m not afraid to DIY, but I am not as compelled to tinker as I once was. Since I now depend daily on my Asterisk PBX, the prospect of rebuilding it was something I just kept putting off. Further, some of the new smaller Asterisk appliances finally addressed my desire for quiet, low power hardware.
Jazinga set out to create a one-box solution to SOHO networking and telephony. Their intent was that it should be simple enough to be installed by a complete beginner. Have they achieved that goal? I don’t think that Jazinga is totally there yet, but they are well on the way, and I like where they are going with the product.
My bottom line is that I have decided to keep the Jazinga system and will put it into production very soon. If Iam lucky, I may eventually forget the vi skills that I had to learn when I first tried Asterisk many years ago.