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Verizon Wireless Opens Up

November 27, 2007

In the history of United States communications, this day ranks right up there with the day of the Carterfone (Wikipedia) decision allowing any device to work on AT&T’s PSTN network. Today, almost 30 years later, Verizon chose to tell the world they will open up their wireless network to devices other than their own.   The news may be even more surprising in light of the fact that Skype has been petitioning the FCC for this exact thing. How often does Skype agree with the carriers?   Another surprise is the fact that Verizon is the first carrier to make such an announcement. Remember, this is the same company that routinely cripples the current devices they sell consumers.   Amazingly, this development is exactly what I have been asking for.

Communications Webinars

November 26, 2007

I came across some webinars of potential interest coming soon from TMC. There are a bunch and they are quite varied so it would seem there is certainly something for everyone. I am certainly interested in the 10 myths of voice automation, reducing customer churn and multi service business gateways.  

The Latest VoIP Security Threat

November 24, 2007

For years I have been covering VoIP security and throughout this time it has been a one-sided conversation as there have been few documented cases of VOIP security attacks. Companies are generally not too happy to discuss VoIP security breaches so this news shouldn’t be very surprising to anyone.   In the absence of news regarding companies who have had voice or video conversations compromised, vendors in the VoIP security market have been proactive. Some such as Sipera have revealed vulnerabilities of existing equipment and more recently one person has even released a proof-of concept program named SIPtap with the goal of showing how easy it is -- once a program is slipped onto a corporate computer via a Trojan horse or some other means, to record enterprise VoIP calls as WAV files for later analysis.   The person behind this proof of concept program is Peter Cox who co-founded and was CTO of BorderWare, a company in the VoIP security and session border control space. I first wrote about the company in August, 2005 in a blog entry titled Secure VoIP and I covered them more recently in an entry titled Borderware's SBC Strategy.   Cox left BorderWare and has his own VoIP Consultancy which will be up and running in 2008 according to PC World.   The issue of protecting VoIP calls is likely something corporate decision-makers gloss over all too often and just because companies are not reporting more security incidents, does not mean they aren’t happening.   In the end, if you are responsible for the IP communications infrastructure of your company you need to be 100% up to date on the latest solutions on the market.   For this reason it is essential you study the problem as thoroughly as time allows and network with others in the space.   One way to do this is to attend TMC's Internet Telephony Conference & Expo in Miami, January 23-25, 2008 where there is a session titled Security Challenges in the Enterprise, which takes place Wednesday – January 23, 2008, 1:30-2:15pm EST.   As more and more crucial information gets carried over internet protocol networks, the incentive to eavesdrop on these conversations will grow dramatically.

Nokia 810 Review

November 21, 2007

Rumor Mill: Google Buying Skype

November 20, 2007

I have to be honest with you my loyal and devoted readers. I am disgusted with myself. Why you ask? Because I am an addict – I am addicted to writing about Google.

COTS to the Service Provider Rescue

November 20, 2007

There was a time when service providers had to purchase massively expensive proprietary equipment in order to deploy telephone service. Class 4 and 5 switches required enormous investment and could be justified as this equipment would be depreciated over many years in a well-known and slow-moving competitive environment.   Then along came VoIP and the market shifted into high gear. All of a sudden customers wanted more services and they wanted to spend less money for it all. Competition seemed to come from every direction with crazy “woohoo” ads from companies like Vonage and more sober ads from the cable companies.   Even worse, the wireless companies began to take share making it that much more difficult to pay for the massive iron sitting in central offices worldwide.   Just before VoIP became popular, new architectures such as CompactPCI and later Advanced TCA emerged allowing service providers to benefit from technologies being popularized in the enterprise and consumer markets.   As voice becomes a cheaper and cheaper commodity, service providers must look for other services to replace lost revenue.

Voice Peering Forum Winter 2007

November 20, 2007

If you are going to go to one voice peering conference in 2007 it needs to be VPF or Voice Peering Forum Winter 2007, New York City at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Here are some of the speakers you can hear at this conference:  
  • Dr. Judy Reed Smith, Founder & CEO, ATLANTIC-ACM
  • Jon Romm, COO, Avail Media
  • Mark Ericson, Director of Product Strategy, BlueNote Networks
  • Kevin P. Fleming, Sr Software Engineer and Co-Maintainer of Asterisk, Digium
  • Thanh Nguyen, Director for Business Development, France Telecom
  • Joseph Gillan, Economist, Gillan Associates
  • Christopher Lengyel, Director, Product Management, iBasis
  • Eric Hanselman, Network Protection Architect, IBM Internet Security Systems
  • Gary Kim, Editor-in-Chief, IP Business
  • Bill Binning, Vice President, Marketing, Jaduka
  • Joe Trainor, Vice President, Narrowstep
  • Georges Smine, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Nominum
  • Bernardin Arnason, Managing Partner, Pivot Media
  • Sanford McMurtry, VP - Strategic Operations, RNK Telecom
  • Shrihari Pandit, President & CEO, Stealth Communications
  • Bob Bradley, Product Line Manager, Sonus Networks
  • Pankaj Shroff, Chief Applications Architect, Sonus Networks
  • Stephan Beckert, Director of Research, TeleGeography
  • Rich Tehrani, President & Editor-in-Chief, TMCnet
  • Patrick Murphy, COO, The Thomas Howe Company
  • Hunter Newby, Chief Strategy Officer, The telx Group
  • Bhupender Kaul, Vice President, Business Services, Time Warner Cable
  • Jim Dalton, Founder & CEO, TransNexus
  • Rodrigue Ullens, Co-founder & CEO, Voxbone
  • Tom Schlatter, Director of Data Architecture, XO Communications
Oh yes, and I will be speaking as well. I hope to see you at the show…   This is the preeminent voice peering conference in the world and Shrihari Pandit the conference chairman has done an incredible job educating the peering market year after year and if you aren’t aware has held a peering conference at ITEXPO for many years.   You will definitely want to be in Miami in January 2008 as well to stay on top of this fast-moving industry

Avaya DevConnect

November 20, 2007

Over the years, TMC has worked closely with Avaya to host their DevConnect Developer Conference at TMC events such as Communications/VoIP Developer. I have always found these events to be extremely valuable as Avaya does a great job getting the world’s best and most knowledgeable speakers to be part of this show.   In a way I feel a special closeness to this conference because back in 2000 when Avaya hadn’t spun out of Lucent and their first ever IP-PBX was called the IP Exchange System – I was invited to be the first keynote speaker in Las Vegas. This event was being held concurrently with a TMC event as well.   So if you are interested in learning more about Avaya’s Developer Connection program or communications development in general, I recommend this conference.   The DevConnect Developer Conference is happening November 28, 2007 at Avaya Labs in Lincroft, New Jersey and is free for attendees who will benefit from great networking opportunities with Avaya professionals as well as the ability to connect with Avaya engineers and business development managers. Also, attendees will be offered hands-on demonstrations within the Avaya DevConnect Labs.   As an added bonus, attendees of the conference will also qualify to win an Apple iPod Touch.

Google in Wireless

November 16, 2007

More discussions regarding Google getting into the wireless game were sparked today by a Wall Street Journal article focusing on Google’s wireless ambitions.   In summary:  
  • Google will likely bid on the 700 MHz spectrum or lose good will in Washington
  • The company’s bid will be $4.6 billion or more.
  • Google has a test FCC license and has cell towers at its campus which it uses with Android-based phones.
  • The company has been in semi-serious discussions with Clearwire regarding building out a WiMAX network.
  • Google has invested in femtocell maker Ubiquisys
  • Everyone and their brother is on record explaining how difficult it is to build a wireless network.
  • Wall Street is enthusiastic about lending money to Google to bid at the auction
  • Google will think about bringing in partners after the auction is over and it sees what happens.
  • The company has brought on game theory experts to help it in the bidding process.
  There has been a great deal of speculation regarding the rumors of Google acquiring Sprint with many thinking the idea is farfetched. It would seem however that since Google is working on its own wireless network, they are very serious about getting into the wireless space.   As we discussed in my recent post on the matter, Google likes to build everything itself from scratch. This is just the way the company operates. However if you are going to go into the wireless business it will take years to put towers around the US and then the world.   Think about the layers of negotiation which need to take place… City by city… Neighborhood by neighborhood -- the company has to place base stations with antennas on tall buildings, water towers and hilltops as far as the eye can see.   Sure this can be done, but it will take such a long time… Let’s say five years to cover the U.S.

Rumor Mill: Google Acquiring Sprint

November 10, 2007

Recent news that Sprint is not going to work with Clearwire to build out a WiMAX network only added to the rumors I have been hearing about Google acquiring Sprint Nextel. On the surface it seems like this would be a bad move for Google but in reality the world’s leading search engine has become so much more than just a website to go to when you want to find a trinket of information… The company now needs a wireless network to allow it to grow in the mobile search and related spaces such as watching YouTube videos on the subway.   Let’s look at Google from a philosophical level. The company has built almost everything from scratch in its past and present. Computers, operating system, web server software and more.
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