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Rich Tehrani
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Consumer Electronics

Arlinx

August 20, 2007

I recently had the opportunity to ask Patrick Young of Arlinx about the company’s customer base, its IP communications strategy and the direction his company is taking.   The Arlinx IP Elite Security and Media Processing Platforms provide opportunities for developers, integrators, and resellers to offer an alternative to mainstream x86 appliances.   To learn more about the company, read this article published on TMCnet from earlier this year.   RT: Please outline your new corporate initiatives. PY: Our initiative is to produce an open IP communications application and specific hardware platform with strong authentication, encryption acceleration, a voice optimized media processor and very high energy efficiency.

What We Learned From the Skype Outage

August 20, 2007

As organizations move to VoIP and other forms of IP communications it is imperative they realize the world of IP is far different from the PSTN and circuit-switched networks of yesterday. While Internet Protocol is the protocol of the Internet which was designed to be resilient enough to withstand a nuclear attack, IP networks need proper management to be able to continue operating under a variety of circumstances.   The concept of the always up IP communications network was certainly in the spotlight recently as TMCnet’s Tom Keating broke the story of Skype, the world’s most popular IP communications software company having a major network outage. He surmised that a recent Microsoft upgrade to its operating systems was responsible for the outage.   A few days later, Skype explained that indeed, Microsoft’s operating system update coupled with a bug in the eBay division’s software was responsible for leaving millions without IP communications.   While some journalists have come to the conclusion that VoIP is no longer reliable because of this outage the reality is that a software bug stopped the network from functioning properly and this had nothing to do with the inherent reliability of VoIP.   Still, when you leverage the benefits of IP communications you must also be aware of the responsibilities that come with the technology. Yes, you now have some responsibilities you may not have been aware of.

Tissot High-T Discontinued

August 20, 2007

Sadly, the Tissot High-T has been discontinued. This is terrible news as when the watch worked, it worked very well. It connected with the Microsoft Spot network which is now called MSN Direct. It had a touch screen and vibrate function which made it an exceptional watch as it could remind you of appointments without any sound.

IP Communications Education

August 20, 2007

Listen, I don’t want to overdo discussion of ITEXPO in my blog but the fact of the matter is this recent e-mail sent by my marketing team is a great document discussing what is important at the show. It is a good guide for you. What to see, where to go, where to be, etc.   You can see below the various aspects of Internet Telephony Conference & Expo which make it unique and the most imitated event in IP communications.

Skype P2P Problems

August 20, 2007

By now it seems the whole world is aware Skype had major problems last week. For most people, Skype was down. Tom Keating speculated the cause was a Microsoft patch which rebooted massive numbers of machines. He has a point as my machine coincidentally rebooted just before the Skype problem hit.   Many people thought Tom was incorrect but it turns out Tom nailed the problem.   Phil Wolf has an excellent recap of the problem with his thoughts and questions interlaced within.   For example, when commenting on the following from Skype:  
Normally Skype’s peer-to-peer network has an inbuilt ability to self-heal, however, this event revealed a previously unseen software bug within the network resource allocation algorithm which prevented the self-healing function from working quickly.
  Wolf wonders:  
If the bug was within the algorithm, in the Skype client, was the bug ever repaired?

Wireless Companies at ITEXPO

August 19, 2007

I happened upon a great article by Mae Kowalke discussing wireless company representation at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo. Companies discussed include a la Mobile, Airwide Solutions, Kineto Wireless, MobiTV and MOBIVOX.   The article reminds me just how big the wireless market is becoming with regards to IP communications. Certainly the next few years could be instrumental in this “space” with the 700 MHz auction coming (see also 700 MHz Setback). We certainly have exciting times ahead for both consumers, service providers and business users.   Perhaps most interesting is whether wireless providers like Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless will see serious competition from internet companies such as Google.

Skype Working

August 19, 2007

It seems Skype is indeed up and running once again. As you may recall, TMCnet’s Tom Keating broke the news of the outage last week when he heard many of the TMC team members were not able to communicate with one another.   I recently wrote about Skype stabilizing two days ago. It seems now the software/service has gone from stabilizing to working correctly.   This is an e-mail I received yesterday from Skype’s PR agency:  
Good Morning,   I'm pleased to share the most recent information on the Skype outage with you:   "Take a deep breath. Skype is back to normal."   "On Monday, we’ll provide a more detailed explanation of what happened.

Fonality

August 17, 2007

TMC Gets Some Press

August 17, 2007

Having your cake and eating it too is how it think about this article in the San Francisco Chronicle with a quote from TMC’s Tom Keating and TMC friend Om Malik. Here is an excerpt:  
Tom Keating, chief technology officer for Internet Telephony Magazine, said he's heard from a number of businesses that rely on Skype to keep workers in touch with each other as well as clients. He said the instant-messaging feature is particularly popular with users because it works around many company firewalls.   Keating said the outage may be related to some maintenance work Skype completed Wednesday night. He said it's unlikely the problem was caused by an outside attack from hackers.   "It's very possible that the change they did with maintenance could have had some unanticipated cascade affect," said Keating.

Covergence

August 16, 2007

Ken Kuenzel, Founder, VP Engineering and CTO for Covergence recently chatted with me about the impact of wireless technology, and the way in which SIP has changed communications, among other topics.   Offering its customers “the edge in SIP”, Covergence specializes in a variety of communications solutions. Read this story on TMCnet to find out more about them.   Please outline your new corporate initiatives.   One of the most exciting trends we are seeing in the market is the rise of voice and other real-time communications embedded into business applications. We had a number of customers that were using Eclipse, our next-generation session border controller, and wanted to add real-time capabilities into customer-facing applications to improve the customer experience and streamline complex customer interactions.
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