Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
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August 2005

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Motorola's new iDEN phones: i870, i450, i415

August 31, 2005

Baby product reviews

August 31, 2005

It is with great joy and excitement that I can announce that my wife and I are going to have our first baby. My wife is only 2 months pregnant, so she isn't due until April, but both of us are already doing extensive research. Besides reading baby books such as: What to Expect When You are Expecting, Birthing from Within, The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, and What to Expect the First Year, we've also started our product research and product comparison as well. The Graco brand keeps coming up wherever I go, though Eddie Bauer is trying to get in on the baby act - saw some Eddie Bauer strollers in Babys R Us.

I know they say it's bad luck to buy baby products so early on, but we just had to buy this really nice baby cradle from Once Upon a Child that retails for $120, but we got it for $60.0.

Rich backs his VoIP tradeshow with his wallet

August 31, 2005

Rich Tehrani, publisher of Internet Telephony Magazine and carny-extraordinaire for Internet Telephony Conference & Expo, backs up his pledge of having the best VoIP show in the world with his wallet. Starting with last year's Miami Internet Telephony Conference & Expo, Rich has offered a 100% money-back guarantee for conferees. So far no one has taken Rich up on his offer, so no doubt TMC's conferees have been very satisfied with the level of VoIP education at TMC's events.

It's too bad Rich doesn't yet offer the same money-back guarantee to exhibitors, since every single Internet Telephony show I have attended has been from "well attended" to a down-right mob scene! But alas, you always get in any type of event at least one or more exhibitors who aret happy with the amount of leads.

Sony joystick mouse

August 31, 2005

Skype gateway to PBX

August 30, 2005


Here's an interesting Skype solution that lets you integrate your PBX with Skype/SkypeIn,SkypeOut so you can use Skype for your trunk lines to save money. I actually found this on TMC's VoIP forums.

Here's a description of the product carried by Spintronics:
. Design Power boost to ensure enough voltage and current to drive your PBX and Ring
.




Hurricane Katrina and VoIP

August 29, 2005

I'm just wondering how long it will take before I receive a press release from a VoIP company with a "hurricane spin" to it to try and maximize the exposure and impact it has. I'm expecting something like:



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Company XYZ's fault-tolerant VoIP infrastructure performed flawlessly in a worst-case disaster scenario. A company representative was quoted as saying "This is further proof of our superior VoIP technology. Even with 160+MPH winds our VoIP platform stayed online.

Cisco IP Phone 7985G Videophone Part 2

August 29, 2005


It appears the new Cisco IP Phone 7985G Videophone is OEM'ed from Tandberg (image to left which is identical to the image I posted about the Cisco videophone on Friday).

If the Cisco videophone has the same feature-set as the Tandberg 150 MXP, then it does indeed support SIP, which I was unsure about when I broke the story on the new Cisco videphone. In fact, the Tandberg 150 MXP also supports the H.323 protocol as well, which is a plus since many legacy videophone systems from Polycom and other manufacturers support H.323. I wonder if Cisco also added their SKINNY protocol to the phone? That would make it 3 protocols running on the Cisco videophone.


Cisco IP Phone 7985G Videophone

August 26, 2005

Cisco has a new Color IP VideoPhone called the Cisco IP Phone 7985G Videophone coming to market that until now has been kept under top-secret wraps. According to the interim spec I received from an insider, it makes no mention of SIP, so you'll probably need Cisco CallManager to get all the bells and whistles working. Just what we need another proprietary videophone. <sigh> I hope they'll eventually take my advice and make all these videophones interoperate.

The Best VoIP Show in the world

August 26, 2005

Dissecting Google Talk with packet sniffer

August 26, 2005

As I mentioned to James Seng in a comment I posted to his Google Talk post Google Talk isn't using SIP (yet). James confirmed my packet capture analysis of Google Talk with some sniffing of his own, which you can check out in his More About Google Talk blog post. He has some interesting discoveries, including Google appearing to install a STUN server on every Google Talk client to solve the VoIP NAT issues. James writes "In other words, like Skype, Google Talk turns every client into a possible server to help relay voice call between two users." Doesn't this sound eerily like Skype's super nodes that everyone gripes about?

James has echoes my sentiments when he writes, "Very smart thing to do technically speaking but let me go read the Google Talk UAT again.

FCC extends e911 deadline again!

August 26, 2005

BREAKING News! As I predicted, the FCC would extend the deadline. The FCC said the deadline would be extended to Sept. 28 for the providers to get their acknowledgments. If by that time a provider still has not received confirmation from a customer, then the FCC said the companies should disconnect a customer's regular Internet phone service, but could still allow emergency calls to be made.

Uhh, so now the FCC is asking the VoIP providers to allow 911 to be dialed but to block any other number?

War on Terror defeated by UNIX

August 26, 2005

Rich Tehrani's War on Terror by Nerds caught my eye where Rich referenced a blog post by Isen.blog which referenced Sun Ray Blog (the source of this War on Terror UNIX joke).

You have to be a UNIX geek to get this, but if you are, then this is pretty funny.

Here's a sample:

$ cd Afghanistan
$ ls
bin Taliban
$ rm Taliban
rm: Taliban is a directory
$ cd Taliban
$ ls
soldiers
$ rm soldiers
$ cd ..
$ rmdir Taliban
rmdir: directory "Taliban": Directory not empty
$ cd Taliban
$ ls -a
. .. .insurgents
$ chown -R USA .*

Even funnier than this is Sun Ray Blog's full "translation" for the non-UNIX geeks along with a full set of commands that you should check out.
























Earthlink Vling uses Pingtel soft phone

August 26, 2005

Share the Google PR Love man!

August 26, 2005

Good bloggers write regularly on specific topics because it is a passion of theirs. Bloggers also develop a strong community with fellow bloggers that share their viewpoints or write about the same topics. Part of that community involves posting comments on blogs you read, doing trackbacks to interesting blog posts, as well as adding interesting blogs to your blogroll. By adding a link to a blog to your blogroll this not only acts as an endorsement of the outside blog, but it also serves to share you Google PageRank to "friends" of your blog.

Carrier VoIP Equipment Breaks Record for Revenue in 2Q05

August 26, 2005

Some quick research news from Infonetics to share on carrier VoIP equipment. Worldwide next gen voice product revenue jumped 18% to $614 million between the first and second quarters of 2005, a new record for a quarterly gain, and is up 55% year-over-year, according to Infonetics Research's latest report, Service Provider Next Gen Voice Equipment. Annual revenue is forecast to grow to $5.7 billion by 2008.

All segments of the next gen voice market are up year-over-year, and all but softswitch class 4 and media servers are up from 1Q05.

"Growth in equipment sales is very strong as carriers continue down the network modernization and service innovation path," said Kevin Mitchell, directing analyst at Infonetics Research.



IGN Live Gamer Invitational

August 25, 2005

IGN Live invites video gamers to its first annual video games lifestyle event at the Anaheim Convention Center, October 22-23.  I'm just a casual gamer these days, but I figure there may be some hardcore gamers in California reading my blog that might find this gamer invitational interesting.

Tickets go on sale today at www.ignlive.com. Admission is priced at $15 online, $25 at the door.  Tickets purchased online include free trial offers to IGN's subscription service IGN Insider and the video game rental service GameFly.

Presented by IGN.com, an online provider of video game, entertainment and lifestyle content, IGN Live will bring to life the best of IGN.com, including live panels with game and entertainment personalities, gaming tournaments, exclusive trailers shown in the Dolby HD Theater, live DJs and exhibits inspried by the hottest cars and consumer electronics.  The event will also include a seminar on how to break into the game industry, in association with the Game Developers Conference (GDC).

Best Buy will be the event's title sponsor, while participating game publishers will include Electronic Arts, Midway Games Inc., THQ, Ubisoft and Vivendi Universal Games.







FCC e911 - Countdown to VoIP Armageddon

August 25, 2005

The FCC extended the e911 deadline once already with its due date now August 29th - that's four days away. That's this Monday! IP Inferno reminded me with today's blog post (been having Google Talk on the brain I guess).

I've written about this impending e911 deadline several times in the past. In fact, I predicted the deadline extension what I wrote, "My guess is there will be some sort of extension to the deadline if the VoIP providers can prove that hundreds if not thousands of customers still haven't acknowledged the e911 rules.

Rich's take on the Vonage IPO

August 25, 2005

Google vs. Microsoft

August 25, 2005

Did anybody else notice the rainbow colors on Google Talk match the exact same colors as Microsoft's butterfly? Check it out in the screenshots. Both color schemes are exactly the same if you view it from left-to-right (going clockwise in the case of the MSN logo). I should open these up in Photoshop and see if they are the exact same RGB scheme.



Those Google engineers sure do have a sense of humor!



Carly Fiorina Memoirs and Internet Telephony exclusive

August 25, 2005

Forbes has an excellent article from yesterday about Carly Fiorina, a controversial figure who was ousted from Hewlett-Packard. According to the article she is now writing a book. Part of the Forbes article reads, "So it was only a matter of time before Fiorina, one of the most polarizing figures in the recent history of U.S. business, put pen to paper to tell the tale of her business career."

While Fiorina was well-known for working at HP, she was squarely in the telecom sector when she worked as a senior executive at Lucent Technologies before becoming the first woman to head up a Dow company.

UCONN, I used to know you

August 25, 2005

Came across some interesting news from my alma mater, the University of Connecticut on TMCnet.com, that will basketball season just around the corner it seemed appropriate.

It reads:



University of Connecticut students preparing for the fall semester are
learning one thing fast: keeping in touch with friends and family back
home during the school year just keeps getting better on America's most
reliable wireless network. Verizon Wireless recently installed a new
cell site to increase coverage and capacity on the UCONN campus along
Route 195 and North Eagleville Road... Students can browse content from Get It Now(R) and V CAST -- the
nation's first wireless broadband multimedia service for consumers that
allows them to view high-quality video clips from major news, sports
and entertainment outlets, play 3D games and download rich multimedia
content.








Vonage IPO

August 25, 2005

Vonage is reportedly preparing for an IPO according to the WSJ.

According to the WSJ, Vonage is planning an initial public offering to raise as
much as $600 million. According to the article, "Citing a person familiar with the matter, the newspaper said Vonage had already raised more than $400 million in venture capital from firms
that include Bain Capital, 3i Group Plc and Institutional Venture Partners... There was no immediate comment from the Edison, New Jersey-based company, which declined comment to the Journal."

Two major VoIP news in the last few days - first Google Talk and now Vonage? This is a BIG week for VoIP!

Makes you wonder if Google Talk was the "spark" that made Vonage start the IPO ball rolling now.







Google Talk uses Global IP Sound's Voice Engine

August 25, 2005

In my Google Talk Test Drive, Rick Hultz posted a comment wondering if Google Talk was using just Global IP Sound's codecs or their powerful voice engine as well. I told him I'd look into it. Well Rick, here's your answer. Global IP Sound (GIPS), today announced an OEM license agreement with Google for voice processing solutions.

Google Talk supports SIP, what does Skype do now?

August 24, 2005


Now that Google has announced plans to support SIP in Google Talk and plans to "federate" with third-party providers including Sipphone's Gizmo Project and Earthlink's Vling, where does this leave Skype? Skype up to now has been able to deflect criticisms for using a proprietary protocol and not supporting SIP. Part of their "excuse" for using a proprietary protocol was that it was needed in order for NAT traversal of firewalls.

But how long can Skype use this "excuse" now that Google plans to adopt the SIP protocol, an industry standard and currently Google Talk also can do NAT traversal? I should point out that currently Google Talk's VoIP feature doesn't use SIP but instead uses a custom XMPP-based signaling protocol for its peer-to-peer communication mechanism.


Google Talk Polygamy for multiple identities

August 24, 2005

Want to run Google Talk with multiple Gmail identities? If you have several Google Gmail accounts you also may want to run multiple instances of Google Talk This is especially important for families that share a single PC. Nothing worse than a family member signing you out so they can sign in under their own account!

Basically, to have "Google Polygamy" you need to run Google Talk with the following switch: /nomutex

1. Right-click on the desktop
2.




Coaxsys and ConFocus to offer TVNet (Ethernet-over-Coax)

August 24, 2005

Coaxsys, Inc., makers of multimedia-over-coax solutions, will announce tomorrow that it has reached an agreement with ConFocus Technologies, Inc., to provide set-top box reference designs with integrated TVnet. TVnet, the standard for Ethernet-over-Coax, is already deployed by more than fifty Telcos, cable operators, and service providers to deliver IPTV and in-home multimedia networking. TVnet has, to date, been available in adapter form; this announcement marks the first publicly announced set-top box (STB) client integrations.

Atlanta-based ConFocus specializes in STB software products and services and has produced set-top client software and custom drivers for leading manufacturers and chip providers.

ConFocus’ FocusWare client with TVnet enabled reference software will make it easy for market-leading set-top box manufacturers to incorporate Coaxsys’ new OEM TVnet components into their set-top boxes. The first-of-its-kind agreement between the two companies is a leap forward in the IPTV and in-home IP networking arenas.



GMail Invites are dead

August 24, 2005

I wondered in my Google Talk Test Drive blog post if GMail invites would see a "spike". I wrote, "Looks like the GMail invites should see a spike due to Google Talk. Wonder if people are still selling Gmail invites on eBay?"

Well, as of today, coinciding with the Google Talk news, Gmail invites are no longer necessary to sign up for a Gmail account. Guess that means any GMail invites being sold on eBay are now worthless. Though never understood why one would buy a GMail invite since they are so easy to get.

Google Talk Just a "Me too" product - for now

August 24, 2005

In yesterday's blog post, I wrote about Google Talk's impending launch today. I tried to test Google Talk as quickly as I could and blog my testing experiences here. Further, yesterday I pondered, "...the ability for Google Talk to do P2P calling competes directly with Skype - so how does this affect Skype's recent "shopping around" for buyers? I wonder if Skype approached Google with such a high pricetag that Google said 'screw it, we'll build it ourselves' ".

Well, after playing around with Google's home-grown VoIP application for awhile, I have to say I'm not that impressed and here's why.

While I theorized in my Google Test Drive that Google was trying to model Google Talk after their very simplistic, ad-free, virtually graphic-free home page, on further reflection, this doesn't make a lot of sense.



Target to sell Packet8

August 24, 2005

Rumor has it that Target will be selling Packet8 on its shelves. This just after the recent boot that CompUSA gave Packet8. According to a source, 20 Targets will carry Packet8 products as a two month test to see if they sell. Checking Target's website I see they sell the Packet8 Videophone, though it says "Available in 4-8 weeks".

Google Talk's secret game

August 24, 2005

Google Talk Test Drive

August 24, 2005

I just installed Google Talk and so far I can't tell what codecs it supports or what protocol it is using for the voice. I know the IM portion is using Jabber, which means you can configure third-party IM clients such as GAIM or iChat to work with Google Talk. I did a port scan and 5060 isn't open, so it isn't using the standard SIP port. Checking Google Talk's site, I found this with regards to SIP:

4. Do you plan to support other real-time communication protocols?
Google Talk supports XMPP with the beta release.


Internet Telephony Expo attendance soars!

August 23, 2005

Google Upgraditis

August 23, 2005

Google Talk

August 23, 2005

After all the talk about Google VoIP, all the theories about what Google's purchase of tons of dark fiber means, all my prognostications on Google VoIP, it finally appears that Google is going to have a VoIP offering called Google Talk to be launched tomorrow. First, hat tip to Om, for covering this story on Monday where he discusses Google using Jabber technology within Google Talk. Jabber is known as "the Linux of instant messaging" -- an open, secure, ad-free alternative to consumer IM services like AIM, ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo.

Google always tried to utilize open standards, so it is no surprise to me that they chose the Jabber technology. There is no word on whether or not Google Talk will simply be an instant messaging client with simple P2P "voice chat" features or if it will incorporate PSTN dialing as well to compete directly with Skype and their SkypeOut service. Also, since Google is renowned for adopting open standards, I would have to assume that if they are doing VoIP that they are utilizing the SIP protocol.

CallVantage Outage yesterday

August 23, 2005


AT&T CallVantage
experienced an outage yesterday that affected their website, their CallVantage service (no VoIP phone service), and their call center. That had to be a first - you try and dial the phone company - AT&T - and you can't get through!

According to AT&T's Gary Morgenstern, AT&T Media Relations, the outage lasted under two hours. Some of my sources circulated a rumor was that it was related to a router issue, however Gary Morgenstern responded, "the duration of yesterday's outage was under 2 hours and not related to routing. A data center that houses some AT&T CallVantage Service platforms and other services experienced a power outage that impacted service to customers."

I also heard a rumor that the power outage brought down two OC48s, but I wasn't able to confirm this.



Google Adsense changes

August 23, 2005

Google changed their Adsense advertising method last Tuesday which is affecting millions of online campaigns. Many Adsense publishers have seen a "bump" in revenue as a result of Google's advertising changes, while advertisers are complaining of increased costs. Google now implemented a minimum keyword bid based on the "quality" of the keyword. Before if no one else bid on the keyword, you could get away with Google's minimum bid price of $0.05 cents/click.

IP-PBX Eclipses traditional PBX

August 23, 2005

The IP PBX has reached a new stage of maturity with shipments of IP lines expected to exceed those of traditional PBXs this year according to In-Stat. While the total PBX market is forecast to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 6.6% through 2009, the traditional PBX is in rapid decline, and the IP PBX will continue to gain momentum throughout the forecast period, the high-tech market research firm says.

"The IP PBX is revealing itself as more than a simple one-for-one replacement vehicle for digital systems," says Norm Bogen, In-Stat analyst. "With closer ties to data, this new vehicle is influencing corporate power structures and will ultimately have even more far-reaching effects on how business is done around the globe."
 
A recent report by In-Stat found the following:

- Increased mobility both within and beyond the workplace will be a significant factor in the next stage of IP PBX development.
- Currently, tying voice with presence and instant messaging is gaining a strong foothold. But, the real changes will stem from adding more data and ultimately video to the mix of collaboration tools.






Got VoIP?

August 22, 2005

So you think you're a VoIP fan, do ya? Well, you got nothing on Kancharla, who not only provides hosted VoIP termination, but they're such big fans of VoIP that several of the cars in their corporate parking lot have license plates with VoIP in them. Check out the photos I captured when I visited them down in Huntsville, Alabama:


I was actually thinking I might put a vanity plate on my Dodge Viper that says "Got VoIP" but that would probably just confuse the next officer that pulls me over for not speeding and whose only knowledge of VoIP is the Vonage commercials.

In any event, I should tell you what Kancharla does. They provide end-to-end VoIP solutions for Service Providers including ISPs, MSOs, and CLECs. Their [Tone]IP service is an integrated solution which including product development/bundling, network/engineering design & implementation, sales/marketing support, billing, and OSS.




Movable Type 3.2

August 22, 2005

News worth sharing since I use Movable Type for my blog software. Six Apart, maker of award-winning Movable Type, TypePad and LiveJournal weblog software, publicly unveiled the forthcoming 3.2 version of Movable Type at the Blog Business Summit in San Francisco today. Ok, "forthcoming"? Not yet launched?

Bluetooth Headsets Everywhere

August 22, 2005

Bluetooth headsets have reached critical mass - or at least I think so. Let me give you an example of why I think Bluetooth headsets, specifically the one-ear piece Bluetooth headsets are a fast growing technology. Last week, I was in 3 different airports and I couldn't believe how many people I saw walking in each of these airports with their Bluetooth headsets on their ears. Further, as far as I could tell, these Bluetooth headset wearers weren't even on a phone call.

ADTRAN - the best kept secret in the VoIP Industry?

August 22, 2005

Last week I travelled to Huntsville, Alabama to meet with three VoIP companies, including ADTRAN, Digium/Asterisk, and Kancharla. My first meeting was with ADTRAN (~1600 employees) whose headquarters are located in the country's second largest high-technology research park. In fact, while driving through the research park area, I saw several military-related and high-tech companies, including Boeing, Ratheon (of Patriot missile fame), SAIC, Dynetics, Northrop Grumman Corp., Lockheed Martin, Worldcom, and more.



ADTRAN's Gorgeous Campus & Buildings

Forget what you know or think about Alabama - or at least I need to. I certainly was not expecting the type of area I visited, which was very commercialized with your typical Target, Walmart, Burger King, movie theaters, hotels, car dealerships, etc.

Nearly arrested for trespassing on military base

August 19, 2005

Ok, maybe the title of my blog post is a bit exaggerated. Anthony Graffeo, a TMC co-worker and I were in a business trip (hence no blogging for past couplr of days) when we got off of Research Turnpike in Huntsville, Alabama and used our "trusty" AVIS paper map to determine we had to make a right turn. Unfortunately, the AVIS map didn't take into account the off ramp which circles you in such as way that it changes the orientation. In any event, we drove for about a mile when when all of a sudden we were going through what appeared to be a toll booth.

Sirius Censorship

August 16, 2005

Sirius Satellite Radio is now censoring their broadcasts? Who would have thought that Sirius, which made a name for itself by signing the controversial Howard Stern to its radio line-up (after the FCC fined Howard and forced him to go to satellite radio) would decide to censor its broadcasts?

Well, if my tip is correct, this is indeed the case. According to my source, he is a daily listener of Alt-Nation Sirius 21 and all of a sudden swear words, vulgarity, etc. was "bleeped out".

Google's Free WiFi?

August 16, 2005

Rumor is that Google is planning to offer free nationwide WiFi. According to Om's B2Day, San Francisco's mayor Gavin Newsom will hold a press conference today detailing his plans for a citywide WiFi network.

Om comments that this is "adding fuel to our speculation that Google is readying a national broadband network with the hopes of giving away WiFi to everyone in America."

He goes on to explain why he sees some "connections" between Google and a local startup that is deploying the WiFi to make some assumptions that perhaps Google is indeed planning on a nationwide WiFI rollout..

If Google does indeed use its deep pockets to give away "free WiFi" in all the major cities, this could absolutely kill SBC, Verizon, Quest, and a whole slew of broadband data providers.

skibare aptly named his blog VoIP Nuke for his prediction that VoIP would indeed be the "nuclear" weapon of mass destruction that would destroy the carriers.

Let me see if I can take Einstein's theory of relativity here which is related to nuclear reactions to model this "VoIP going nuclear"...
E = M*C2
Death of carriers = Free WiFi*Free VoIP2











Dual-mode cellular/WiFi handset adoption

August 16, 2005

According to In-stat, "In both business and consumer markets, widespread adoption of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) depends on the availability of wireless VoIP handsets".

Their release about their report goes on to say, "Dual-mode cellular/WiFi handsets will be the key driver to mass consumer adoption of VoIP, the high-tech market research firm says. By 2009, In-Stat forecasts that over 66 million cellular/WiFi handsets will be in operation."

While I agree with In-Stat's statements, the market sure does seem to be moving slowly to dual-mode handsets - due to politics and pandering of the phone manufacturers to the cellphone carriers. 66 million cellular/WiFi handsets sounds a bit optimistic considering how slowly it has been moving so far. There are a few dual-mode handsets on the market, in particular in Japan, but as for the U.S.



VoIP Tradeshow

August 15, 2005

The next VoIP tradeshow is the Internet Telephony tradeshow at the L.A. Convention Center. The tradeshow runs from October 24-27th and highlights some "big hitters" including Carly Fiorina, Michael Powell, and more. If the immensely successful & recent VoIP Developer tradeshow is any indication of the success that the Internet Telephony tradeshow will experience, then hang onto your seats - this tradeshow is going to be a doozie!

Actually, if you plan on attenting this tradeshow you should book your hotel soon.

Convergin SIP Mobile Convergence

August 15, 2005

Just wanted to share this bit of interesting bit of mobile/SIP convergence news from Convergin. The road to an all "IP core" took another step with this bit of news. Convergin, formerly PhoneDo Networks, today entered a new company phase with the announcement of its new name and its Accolade platform. This is the first core network Wireless Convergence Server (WCS) solution for Fixed Mobile Convergence.

Founded in 2000, Convergin offers a unique approach for operators to smoothly transition to an all-IP core.

eStara VoIP-based Track The Call Service

August 15, 2005

Today, eStara will be launching their TrackTheCall website. I discussed eStara's "track the call" VoIP service back in April, where I explained that it is a SME solution that enables SMEs to use web advertising and still convert using the phone as opposed to the website. If you are running a specific campaign, you can create/provision a unique phone number and eStara will track the leads to this number. eStara’s Track the Call enables Yellow Pages and online directory publishers, search engine companies and marketers create new revenue generation opportunities.

I pointed out that "this has been done for decades in the call center arena, but what's new is eStara has extended this feature into the Voice over IP realm, which enables not just call centers, but also small-to-medium sized businesses to track their campaigns as well."

Today, eStara emailed me to point out that demand for eStara’s new Track the Call service is up 100% in three months.



Skype Blocking

August 15, 2005

"Skype blocking" may become a more prevalent issue in the near future, especially in developing countries or in countries with government-run telecom companies such as China that have much more to lose. Blocking Skype isn't just about government control and protecting government-run carrier monopolies - it's fear of what Skype represents - "free speech" both in an economic sense (very low cost and in some cases "free") as well as in a socio-political sense - granting for example Chinese citizens anonymous, encrypted "free speech"- away from governement monitors and censors. This is true of other totalitarian regimes as well, but China in particular is unique due to its large population of technologically savvy and Internet connected people.

In many developing countries, free market economics are not their forte' especially in socialist or communist states. China for example has very stringent censorship controls on Internet access.

ZyXEL P2000W VoIP WiFi Phone

August 12, 2005


This is a first look at the SIP-based ZyXEL P2000W VoIP WiFi phone. The ZyXEL P2000W contains a lithium-ion battery good for about 3.5 hours of talk time and 21-22 hours standby time. My first impressions are that it's lightweight and very slim with a cool blue-back list LCD display - the blue backlist display reminds me somewhat of an iPod's display though not as bright. The menu is very easy to navigate to configure things like Call History, Phone Book, Net(work) Settings, SIP settings, Wireless settings, and more.

I found the keys to be a tad slow when typing the same key more than once.


Asterisk's New Dual-span Hardware

August 12, 2005

Interesting news from Asterisk... Their dual-span hardware is now available. They made the news at LinuxWorld. Robert Liu from TMCnet also made some observations on this news two days ago.

Digium Announces Two-Port Hardware for Asterisk at LinuxWorld San Francisco TE205P and TE210P dual-span cards offer a cost reduced alternative for applications requiring only two ports
Digium Inc., the creator of Asterisk and pioneer of open source telephony, today announced the availability of its new dual span T1/E1 PCI hardware, the TE205P card and the TE210P card.

Cain VoIP Recording & Cracking Utility

August 12, 2005

There's an interesting "security" software product called Cain & Abel that can record your SIP-based VoIP applications. Cain's sniffer can now extract audio conversations based on SIP/RTP protocols and save them into WAV files. The following codecs are supported: G711 uLaw, G711 aLaw, GSM, MS-GSM, ADPMC, DVI, LPC, L16, G729, Speex, iLBC.

Cain & Abel was designed as a "network administrator security tool" to pinpoint security holes. I put that it quotes, since it can also be used as a hacker's tool.

Communication Testing Consolidation

August 11, 2005

I just received an email that gave me a chuckle. Apparently, Anritsu announced today the signing of an agreement with Axcel and the management of NetTest to acquire NetTest, a leading global provider of network monitoring systems and field use communications test products.

That's not the funny part.

It goes onto say, "The recent acquisition of NetTest by Anritsu follows the path to consolidation predicted by many in the communications test and measurement industry. At the end of 2004, Tektronix acquired Inet Technologies, in early 2005, Empirix acquired CT Labs, Aeroflex acquired UbiNetics, Finisar acquired ITECH, and more recently JDS Uniphase acquired Acterna."

You don't say?





PhoneRanger 2.0 Review

August 11, 2005



Drew Robertson over at PhoneRanger was kind enough to send me a PhoneRanger 2.0 USB wireless headset that works with any VoIP client, including Skype, Xten, SJPhone, etc. Drew actually sent the unit to me back in May, but I was too busy at the time to review their wireless USB-based headset which they are marketing as "a new wireless headset for Voice Over IP, Podcasting and Internet Radio".

The PhoneRanger 2.0 is a pretty nifty device that gives you hands-free access to your PC's sound card, by connecting to the sound card's speaker and the microphone port. In fact, the speaker and microphone plugs from the PhoneRanger were a tad short. I wanted to use the USB port in the front of the PC, but the audio plugs wouldn't reach to the back of the PC, so I had to use one of the rear USB ports.



WiMAX Meet DirecTV

August 10, 2005

Wow, just came across this blog post "DIRECTV EYEING WIMAX FOR BROADBAND RETURN PATH CONTENT FROM SUBSCRIBERS" on Russell Shaw's Streaming Media blog where Russell states that satellite carriers are looking into using WiMAX instead of dial-up for the "return path".

As you may or may not know, broadband Internet satellite requires a phone line for transmitting where you're going on the Internet. Typically it's a slow dial-up connection that transmits which URLs (upstream/return-path) you are trying to get to, and then the satellite "beams" (downstream) the web page you wish to view.

But this got me wondering... If you can use WiMAX for the "upstream" bandwidth, why not just use WiMAX for the downstream as well? WiMAX providers could "cut" the satellite providers "in the middle" and take the revenue for themselves.



Rotani Solves WiFi Interference

August 10, 2005

Rotani claims to have solved the issue of WiFi interference, thus allowing for better performance for gaming, video streaming, and VoIP applications. In fact, they told TMC, "AirReferee is a turnkey access point reference design, providing the uninterrupted throughput needed for multiple video streams, online gaming, VoIP and other latency and throughput-sensitive applications"

According to Rotani, "There are emerging products/technologies that address the problem of throughput and maximize the speed from the Access Point to a Client. In pristine wireless networking environments they perform well. However, when faced with interference (noise) from other WiFi networks or other devices (a more realistic situation) the performance drops dramatically."

Their AirReferee technology solves inference, making wireless networks scalable.



Packet8 financial status

August 10, 2005

VoIP Inc acquires WGN, Inc.

August 10, 2005

VoIP, Inc., who recently acquired VoIP Americas, is back on it's VoIP company shopping spree by announcing that it has entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement to acquire the assets and properties utilized by WQN, Inc.  in its voice-over-Internet business. The acquired business will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of VoIP, Inc. VoIP, Inc. seems to be "scooping" up VoIP wholesale/termination companies that are at least turning a profit, though I forget now how well VoIP Americas was doing before it was purchased. Keep your eye on VoIP, Inc.

Under the Asset Purchase Agreement, VoIP, Inc. will issue a $3,700,000 Convertible Note, 1,250,000 shares of Common Stock and a warrant to purchase 5,000,000 shares of Common Stock for nominal value. The Convertible Note will convert automatically to Convertible Preferred Stock at the time such stock is authorized by the Company.

Wall Street Journal - Don't Pass the Electronic Newspaper

August 10, 2005

According to Instapundit, you can no longer "share" your online Wall Street Journal subscription with your coworkers, friends, and family. They detect concurrent logons and block them.

So WSJ, what are you trying to say? Does this also mean I can't hand out my WSJ newspaper to my co-workers? Are you going to prevent "pass around copies" of your newspaper too?

Linksys CIT200 Cordless Internet Telephony Kit

August 10, 2005

I saw the Linksys CIT200 Cordless Internet Telephony Kit on Tom's Networking site, which is an interesting cordless phone solution designed to be used with Skype. As seen in the photo, the Linksys box has a USB cable attached - no doubt to power the wireless signal and to communicate with the CIT200 handset.

Unfortunately, Tom's Networking information which he pulled from the FCC's site indicates that it uses 1.9Ghz, therefore it's not WiFi. According to Tom, "Unlike the Dualphone, however, the CIT200 appears to be Skype only".

Damn, that's too bad. I wonder why they didn't add SIP support? I find this a little bit hard to believe that this device only supports Skype.



VPF (Voice Peering Fabric) article

August 9, 2005

Pay as you Go VoIP

August 9, 2005

This company emailed me to espouse their inexpensive pre-paid calling cards and Universal Lifeline Telephone Service (sometimes referred to as "ULTS" or "Lifeline") which they claim "offers low-income households basic residential service at about half the normal cost."

Ok, my question is, "Why only half when residential VoIP can be even cheaper than that?" My second question is, why aren't there more VoIP players like Zoom that offer pre-paid or "pay as you go" VoIP service with no monthly fees? There is surely a huge market demand for "pay as you go" or pre-paid VoIP calling, but alas, the major broadband VoIP players are sticking to their monthly plans. Reminds me of my gym membership where I have been paying $65/month and I haven't gone in 3 months. Why can't I just do the gym "pay as I go" and pay for when I actually use it?

PICMG Releases new CompactPCI Express Specification

August 9, 2005

This new CompactPCI specification affects VoIP hardware. From the news wires - PICMG has released the CompactPCI Express Specification denoted EXP.0. CompactPCI Express brings PCI Express technology to the popular PICMG 2.0 CompactPCI form factor, while maintaining compatibility with CompactPCI hardware and software.

More than 40 companies participated in the CompactPCI Express specification development process. The participating companies worked to develop a specification that would meet the future market needs of the CompactPCI, PXI, military, and aerospace markets.

Home Networking Gear Jumps to $21 billion

August 9, 2005

According to In-Stat, revenue derived from annual networking hardware shipments and from equipment that incorporates a home networking connection will jump from almost $9 billion in 2004 to over $21 billion in 2009. Wow, guess I'd better go buy some Linksys, NetGear, and D-Link stock!

According to Instat:
A push for higher speeds, lower prices, and increasing network areas in the home is driving the market, the high-tech market research firm says. However, one highly touted use, the storage and streaming of multimedia files, may take years to catch on with the mass consumer.

“Our research shows that there is growing interest among US consumers to use home networks to connect their increasing library of digital entertainment audio and video files with their traditional entertainment equipment (i.e.




Phantom Speeding Tickets suck

August 9, 2005


I got pulled over in the Viper today for not speeding. Yep, you read that right, I wasn't speeding or at least it was some "Twilight Zone phantom speeding" since the officer seemed to think I was speeding.

Here's what happened. I was travelling on a dirt gravel road... yes, I know, I know...


Yahoo Messenger Launches Today

August 9, 2005

I just wanted to share this email I received yesterday about Yahoo! Messenger's announcement made today (officially it's called Yahoo! Messenger with Voice). I had made some inquiries to them about how their Dialpad integration was going. I'm under deadline to review some products, so can't provide much analysis on this at the moment, but the email is pretty self-explanatory.

Orb your Skype Voicemails

August 8, 2005


Orb Networks emailed me to point to their new add-on to their free TV/photo/video/music streaming service. I actually have Orb installed on my home PC, and it worked great during testing - I was able to stream CNN, Fox News, a Yankees game to a remote PC. Unfortuanetely, my damn broadband provider caps my upstream to around 128Kbps so it affects my home Vonage service - or even worse when streaming it can actually cause my cable modem to recycle! (this knocks my voice and data connection offline for a bit)

Anyway, Orb told me that they have a Skype plug-in called V4S.


RedFone foneBRIDGE Quad Span T1 for Asterisk

August 8, 2005

Redfone Communications has a very interesting product coming to market - a solid state, virtual plug-and-play "appliance" used in conjunction with Asterisk which can be used instead of Digium or Sangoma cards. In addition, using the Redfone foneBRIDGE you can create a redundant deployment of Asterisk. As seen by the diagram below, you can configure multiple Asterisk servers - none of which have any TDM (PRI/T1) hardware cards in them. Instead, you use the foneBRIDGE to terminate to PRI or T1 channel banks on the trunk side and Ethernet to connect to the Asterisk boxes.


Basically, the foneBRIDGE is a plug and play box that gives you 4 T1s (Quad Span) instead of using Digium or Sangoma hardware in the Asterisk box.


IETF on VoIPeer (VoIP Peering)

August 8, 2005

Last week Erik Lagerway posted his interesting interview with Cullen Jennings from Cisco. In this interview Erik talks about the IETF's work on P2P SIP (peer-to-peer SIP), or basically connecting to other VoIP peers without a centralized body to "negotiate" the connection. But what Erik neglected to talk about is the "other" interesting work going on at the IETF - also regarding "peering"

What was also interesting in the IETF meeting was not just their work on P2P SIP but also the IETF's work on VoIPeer. What's VoIPeer? It's short for VoIP Peering.

Dash911 911 Service

August 8, 2005

Dash911 will soon be rolling out nationwide (e)911 for VoIP, designed for small VoIP providers. According to Dask911, "incorporating E911 into your VoIP offering can be difficult and expensive if you aren't a CLEC or ILEC. Signing up with a national 911 provider can incur large upfront costs, custom programming, additional equipment and high monthly minimums that smaller VoIP providers simply can't afford. Complex regulations, changing technologies and interoperability with the thousands of PSAPs can make it almost impossible for you to offer 911 service." Using Dash911, smaller VoIP player can have affordable 911 service.

In addition, they will offer a provisioning API (SOAP-based), so that you can integrate E911 configuration right into your administrative system.

Global IP Sound on popular Symbian OS

August 8, 2005


Some interesting news to report from Global IP Sound (their VoIP codecs are used in Skype, Teleo, and more):

Global IP Sound (GIPS), a leading provider of embedded voice-processing solutions for the Voice-over-IP (VoIP) market, today announced that it has joined the Symbian Platinum Program to support the growing market for smartphones based on Symbian OS.

As a Platinum Partner, GIPS is extending its VoiceEngine Mobile platform to the Symbian ecosystem. Symbian develops and licenses Symbian OS, the operating system that powers today's most popular smartphones. Symbian OS is licensed by the world's leading mobile phone manufacturers.




Peerio wins two Frost & Sullivan Awards

August 8, 2005

Congrats to Popular Telephony whose P2P VoIP technology (Peerio) won two prestigous Frost & Sullivan awards...

PEERIO SERVERLESS PEER-TO-PEER SOLUTION IS HONOURED WITH TWO PRESTIGIOUS FROST & SULLIVAN AWARDS

Peerio Recognized as a Technological Breakthrough Named 2005 Frost & Sullivan Technology Innovation Award Recipient and Outstanding Value-Proposition with 2005 Frost & Sullivan Customer Value Enhancement Award.

(Sophia Antipolis, France and Los Altos, CA) – August 8, 2005 – Frost & Sullivan recently acknowledged the advantage of Popular Telephony’s Peerio technological superiority and value proposition by awarding the company with both the 2005 Frost & Sullivan Technology Innovation and 2005 Frost & Sullivan Enterprise IP Telephony Customer Value Enhancement Awards.

“The Peerio technology has the disruptive capacity to revolutionize the telephony industry that we know and have grown accustomed too. Popular Telephony’s technology is inexpensive and offers a very low per-seat cost, while its ease of installation and configuration will also prove to be major adoption drivers.







AOL Wireless

August 8, 2005

AOL is breaking into the wireless space via their Wildseed, Ltd. acquisition, a provider of advanced wireless technologies and is also forming an expanded AOL Wireless division. It's an innovative technology that uses a small chip embedded on a SmartSkin which you simply snap onto your mobile phone. However, as far as I can tell, their "SmartSkin" technology only works with specific mobile phones made by Curitel, a Korean-based mobile phone manufacturer, but according to their website, they are looking for more mobile partners.

This acquisition certainly fits AOL's "provide the best or unique content" mantra.

Skype from Mobile Cell Phone

August 5, 2005



Skype as we already know is one of the most popular VoIP applications -- if not the most, which has helped build a loyal community looking to develop third-party solutions that improve upon Skype's default features. One feature request of many Skype fans is the ability to make Skype calls from a mobile phone. Imagine if you could dial internationally using Skype - but using your cellphone? After all, carriers charge an arm and a leg to make international calls using your cellular network/cellphone.

IETF Meeting Discusses P2P SIP

August 5, 2005

Erik Lagerway interviewed Cullen Jennings - Distinguished Engineer in the Voice Technology Group
at Cisco, and Erik claims that Cullen "has some great insight into what just took place at the 63rd
IETF Meeting in Paris".

Some interesting questions answered by the IETF meeting:

- What was this adhoc meeting on P2P SIP all about at the IETF?

- Do you think P2P SIP will have a profound affect on VoIP?

- How would P2P SIP compare to Skype's P2P model?

- Is it better or worse than Skype's model?

- Do you see P2P SIP replacing the SIP Proxy in traditional SIP networks?

- Will there be a P2P SIP Working Group in the IETF anytime soon?

- Where do we go from here?

I haven't had time to listen to the MP3 file myself, but I'm definitely curious to hear the IETF's take on P2P VoIP using the SIP protocol. P2P SIP could be a "Skype Killer" if ratified by the IETF and if it can offer the option of NAT traversal through firewalls - one of the best attributes of Skype (and every Network Administrator's nightmare).

The full interview is in MP3 format on Erik's blog. Go have a listen!

























Panda Networks Launches

August 4, 2005

A couple of days ago Pandora Networks unveiled Worksmart, an on-demand IP-
communications solution for small-to-medium sized businesses. Pandora Networks actually applied for the TMC Labs Innovation Awards (and won, publiished in July & August) as well as gave me an exclusive sneak preview of their solution before "officially" launching. I have a recorded interview with Pandora Networks from last week and was planning to transcribe some of the interesting highlights and then blogging it here.

I was thinking I may get permission from Pandora to include the interview as a VoIP Blog Podcast, but there was one section that they told me "off the record". So I either have to edit that part out or just transcribe some of the interesting quotes.

Unfortunately, I've been quite busy with some really major stuff going on (more on that in a few days), so I haven't had time to transcribe the interview.




IP Inferno has got VoIP Developer covered!

August 4, 2005

In my absence from the VoIP Developer show I have to rely on reports from bloggers, journalists and other news outlets. Sean Wolfe over at IP Inferno has been doing a great job blogging the VoIP Developer show.

In his first post from two days ago, Sean writes a blog entry titled "Packed to the Gills" describing how well attended the VoIP Developer show is so far. He even does a comparison/contrast of VoIP Developer with MacWorld which was also in San Francisco back in January and states that MacWorld "was a pale shadow of past events". He goes onto put it in perspective of course, since MacWorld has about 40x the floor space compared to the VoIP Developer show.

Phantom Traffic: Identifiable but Not Billable

August 3, 2005

I came across an interesting article from Billing World that I thought I'd point out. It discusses how traffic can be identified but not billed, as well as "tricks" to disquise where the call originated from. The article claims that 20 to 30 percent of terminating traffic is unbillable and that the problem is
expected to get even worse with growing VoIP and wireless traffic.

Here's a teaser...






The term "phantom traffic" is a misnomer, as most independents
(independent operating companies, IOCs) are well aware of the extra
traffic flowing through their networks. What is unknown is the
traffic's origin, which makes much of this traffic unbillable, despite
the completion of calls.



VoIP Developer Show a Big Success!

August 2, 2005

Skype the new Paypal?

August 2, 2005

A new Paypal payment method using Skype has been proposed by Marcus Williamson from Connectotel over on the Skype forums. Marcus proposes a means by which one Skype user could send Skype credits to another Skype user, similar to the Paypal model. Although of course with Paypal it's real money not "credits". Though the way Skype is going, it won't be long before we'll be exchanging in Skype currency or perhaps even Google currency.

On the thread he writes, "We are aware that a lot of companies are not able to generate revenue from Skype because of the absence of a payment API.

Healthy French Fries?

August 2, 2005

Healthy French Fries? How can this be? My Burger King Fries Suck blog entry sure drew a lot of comments both from avid Burger King fries fans and haters. What piqued my interest was a new comment from someone that proclaimed a new french fry with just 50 calories!

Socket Communications launches Go Wi-Fi! E300

August 2, 2005

Need a small SDIO WiFi card? Look no further! Socket Communications today launched Go Wi-Fi!? E300 for Windows Mobile 2003 Devices which they claim is the smallest, fastest Wi-Fi card available.

Socket Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCKT), an innovative provider of mobile productivity products, today announced the Go Wi-Fi!?

Get Your Popcorn, err VoIP Supplies here

August 2, 2005


Get your peanuts... popcorn - err I mean VoIP supplies - here! Ok, it's baseball season, so excuse the bad pun. A budding two year old company, called aptly enough VOIPSupply, which supplies various VoIP products and services, recently caught my interest and I thought I'd blog about them.

First off, they finished 2004 with about 8 million in sales and are projecting 2005 annual sales of around 30 million, which is very impressive growth.


Scalable DHCP for VoIP

August 2, 2005

Well, I'm back from a four-day weekend to Cape Cod, so you'll have to excuse me for not blogging for a few days. I'm still sifting through tons of email and voice messages, so it may take me awhile to get back into my blogging groove. In the meantime, I came across this interesting bit of news in my Inbox...

Nominum, a provider of IP address infrastructure solutions, will announce that it has joined the Juniper Networks J-Partner OSS & Network Management Alliance. Together, Nominum and Juniper will launch a joint development of a high-performance network infrastructure with highly available, configurable and scalable DHCP services for broadband internet applications such as VoIP and mobile connectivity.

Hmmm...



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