Interop

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog - Tehrani.com
Rich Tehrani
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Interop

I spent a full day at Interop and got to cover the whole show in less than a day which is always a plus. In addition I even got a chance to hit a few receptions and see two wedding parties casually strolling through the casino.

Who would have thought that a strip of desert would become one of the most popular destinations in the country based on gambling, weddings and bachelor parties. Of course there is more... Sports, great restaurants, shows, etc but it is tough to fathom how quickly this strip of sand has blossomed in the past 15 years alone.

But back to the show, there were a few booths towards the front of the hall that did well and some others had good traffic depending on the appeal of their offerings. For example Netgear just announced the SPH101 phone that works with Skype and retails for $249. As you might imagine, their booth was busy.

Samsung has a new converged wireless/wireline PBX called the OfficeServ or OS7400 that scales to just under 600 ports. It communicates with a sleek Samsung WiFi based SIP phone. You can use other wireless SIP phones but the PBX features are proprietary to their devices.

The PBX does everything; it is a hub, router firewall as well as a full fledged PBX. You can plug in wireless access points to the device and when you do so you will have WiFi telephony with QoS built in.

From the company's perspective, they are so well known in wireless they should be the logical company to purchase wireless enterprise products from. They even integrate with some of their Windows Mobile based devices allowing a soft client to communicate with the PBX.

The WiFi phone is the WIP 5000 and the company says the price for these units is under $300 but the dealers generally set the street price. If you are a reseller who is interested in carrying their products, be sure to give them a call as they are looking to expand their reseller base.

I also got a chance to stop by Sipera and I saw a great demo of a denial of service attack on a SIP phone that was blocked by their firewall. What their technology does once it discovers a potentially malicious IP address sending traffic is to send a challenge to the address. The challenge has to be met with an appropriate response and if this desired response is received, then the traffic flows through. If not, it continues to be blocked.

I also met with web conferencing company Interwise who has done many webinars for TMC in the past so I know their offerings well. Recently they have changed their approach to selling conferencing to enterprise customers.

Their new slant is to allow everyone in the organization to make use of the productivity boosting benefits of conferencing. The two concerns of most companies when they consider a widespread roll out of web-based conferencing is the potential for runaway costs and also the cost involved in scaling the technology to deal with an ever-growing base of users.

They have solved these problems by changing their pricing to a one-time flat fee of $300 per seat with a 1,000 seat minimum. There is a 10% cost increase for unlimited hosting of the service if you have users who want to use the service out of the office.

The way they solve the high equipment cost problem is to run on standard servers and a handful of servers should adequately handle 1,000 users.

As an avid user of conferencing there is no question the benefits of this technology can be harnessed by many within an organization. This new way of pricing conferencing services is the wave of the future in my opinion.

By the way you can also use the service for unlimited voice conference calling so you may be able to justify purchasing this software more easily if you have a high voice conferencing bill today.

From conferencing we go to networking and Foundry Networks is seeing their business grow more quickly thanks to the booming VoIP market and integration with some of their products allowing for better QoS on networks and PoE. If you think about it, every PBX vendor competes with Cisco so in many cases they suggest their customers buy Foundry Networks Products to keep Cisco from getting the sale.

The company feels they have the best of breed Ethernet transport for VoIP.

In addition they are trying to get the price point of PoE systems to be within 10-20% of non-PoE systems. At that point they feel the pickup of PoE will be even greater. At this price it may be a no-brainer to go PoE. Of course you can always buy a switch that you can upgrade to PoE at a later date.

In addition they are focusing on wireless products which were once designed for data delivery. These devices are now optimized for voice as well.

We talked for a bit about the emerging talk of data centers going to DC power and they told me the education market seems to be looking for DC-based solutions but they haven't seen much interest in this technology in other parts of their business.

I surmised that this could be due to the Universities love of Linux and the fact they likely have large quantities of Linux servers to tinker with. Others pointed out the infrastructure of a university is likely not able to handle the cooling requirements of all the equipment they have so DC power could be a quick way to reduce the amount of heat generated.

I also met with Firetide, a company in the mesh networking space and found it intelligent that they have multipoint to multipoint ability built into their products to increase redundancy. In addition they are working on segmenting the wireless LAN in order to allow more throughput in smaller geographical areas.

From fire we go to something really cool -- MovinCool has a new air conditioning unit the CM 12 that fits above the ceiling tiles allowing data centers to free up valuable floor space. At a trade show that is usually warm, I always make a point to stop by their booth and stand in front of one of their units just so I can cool down a bit.

The company excels in cooling data centers in leased buildings where you aren't going to retrofit the existing air conditioning. Also the company helps companies that want to turn a room into a data center and aren’t able to put in the necessary cooling for whatever reasons.

Another area where they excel is in buildings that have the air conditioning turned off on the weekends. Often times it is cheaper to use one of their devices than it is to ask the landlord to keep the AC going.

The units dissipate heat in the ceiling space which in certain situations is fine. But in other cases the hot air will need to be vented outside.

One other point is that their devices can be used to spot cool a system such a blade server that you didn’t anticipate would run so hot.

In all, the networking and computer market seems to be doing better than last year. I sensed more energy in the space and vendors seem more optimistic than they have been in a while. It seems that VoIP and wireless have been the drivers of networking products lately. Thankfully the networking companies realize where the money is and are adapting quickly to come out with products in the fastest growing market segments.

On a personal note, this was the first big show where I have a daughter old enough to appreciate the trade show giveaways I generally ignored in the past. Thanks to Dice.com for those two foam dice that my two kids loved. Much to my surprise even an 11 month old can appreciate a soft red die.


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