Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
| VoIP & Gadgets blog - Latest news in VoIP & gadgets, wireless, mobile phones, reviews, & opinions

September 2009

You are browsing the archive for September 2009.

TeleBlend Offers $99.99/year Unlimited VoIP Calling Plan

September 30, 2009

TeleBlend, you know the Sunrocket saviors, after the 2007 Sunrocket implosion, today announced that it will be offering one year of unlimited local and long distance calling for just $99. If you recall, Sunrocket was offering $299.99/year for unlimited calling just 2 years ago. Now that same offering is going for $99/year. Amazing how quickly prices have dropped in just two years.

The $99 Annual Plan is available for a limited time only and includes unlimited US calling, a free device, 15 free calling features including caller ID, voicemail and simultaneous ring with no cancellation fees.

"TeleBlend has always strived to provide the most affordable unlimited phone service in the industry.

VoIP & Gadgets Blog Named a Top 10 Telecommunications Blog

September 30, 2009

VoIP & Gadgets blog was named one of the Top 10 telecom websites by Cision Media. Unlike other top 10 lists, this list claims to be objective since it compares unique visitors per month to generate an accurate assessment. I wasn't planning on blogging it, but did email a link to TMC's Dave Rodriguez and Rich Tehrani.

Then I noticed Garrett Smith had a good write-up on him making this list as well. Garrett said it well when he said, "...I've seen a number of top VoIP blog lists spring-up which look to rank the most popular and influential voices in the industry.

Rich Takes xMax Wireless for a Test Drive

September 29, 2009

Rich Tehrani took xG Technology's xMax technology, a WiMAX / LTE competitor for a (literal) test drive.

Rich writes:

xG Technology proclaimed in 2005 that they have a revolutionary technology which allows wireless broadband using unlicensed and licensed frequencies. They said they could build the equivalent to a WiMAX network without the need to spend a massive amount on spectrum auctions and moreover, their technology had better range than WiMAX.

It seemed too good to be true and after some years of waiting, the communications industry got impatient. After all, this revolutionary technology had the potential to change the way wireless networks are deployed. If it was real, where was it?

Polycom VVX 1500 Video Phone Quick Demo

September 29, 2009

Check out the quick video recording I made of two Polycom VVX 1500 IP video phones making a test video call. I used an iPhone 3GS to capture the video of the test call between the two phones. The iPhone's video recording quality isn't too shabby, but doesn't truly give you an idea of the quality of the Polycom's VVX 1500 touchscreen. (Note: The video phone was tilted far back, so it was aimed directly at the fluorescent lighting in the ceiling.

Livestream Livepack Bonds Six 3G/EVDO modems for Ludicrous Wireless Internet Speed!

September 24, 2009

Livestream today is launching the world's first solution for wireless live streaming at HD quality by bonding six load-balanced 3G/EVDO modems over three carriers. Called Livepack, this unique solution enables you to have a roaming live video studio anywhere you can get 3G/EVDO connectivity. Livestream says it can stream HD video at far lower costs than traditional solutions such as broadcast trucks.

 Of course, bonding six 3G/EVDO modems together has some other fringe benefits - like ludicrous wireless Internet speed! Wonder if you can tether the Livepack to your laptop and get super high-speed Internet access while on the road?

Mitel Series X Collaboration, Unified Communications Solution Unveiled

September 23, 2009

Today, Mitel unveiled the next phase of its comprehensive software strategy with Mitel Series X Collaboration, showcasing Mitel's complete suite of collaboration solutions including Mitel Unified Communicator Advanced (UC Advanced) and the Mitel TeleCollaboration Solution. Mitel Series X aims to deliver a single solution to integrate business communications. Mitel's UC Advanced integrates your communications tools including phones, mobile devices, video conferencing, voice mail, instant messaging (IM), and email.

The sexy product within the Series X platform is Mitel TeleCollaboration, a 3-screen, high-def video conferencing solution that provides the ability to have up to 5 parties of video in a single screen without any degradation in video resolution. Mitel TeleCollaboration enables the group to view and edit documents within the application, in real time, without needing a dedicated room for the screens.

Skype for Cisco Interoperable with Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series

September 23, 2009

Major Blackberry Outage

September 22, 2009

10 Things IT Should Be Doing Today to Get More Resources

September 21, 2009

Information technology is critical to the success of any business. It's the heart and soul of most organizations. Ok, maybe I'm a bit biased since I'm in IT and maybe it's not the "heart and soul" of the company. But it certainly is the "engine" that helps the company going.

FCC Proposes Applying Net Neutrality to Carriers' Wireless Networks

September 21, 2009

Today, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowsk said that wireless carriers shouldn't be allowed to block certain types of Internet traffic flowing over their networks. This has huge implications for the VoIP industry, since as I wrote last week, AT&T blocks port 5060 (SIP) on their 3G data network, thus blocking VoIP applications. If the FCC mandates that the wireless carriers can no longer block applications on their data network, this opens up the entire 3G/4G wireless network to game-changing VoIP applications!

This will no doubt cause a firestorm of protests from the wireless industry which has invested billions in their wireless infrastructure and they see VoIP as something that will cannibalize their revenue stream. According to Yahoo, "FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said wireless carriers should be subject to the same "open Internet" rules that the agency has begun to apply to home broadband providers."

Genachowski wants to take the same principles the FCC has already been applying to wired Internet trafficand extend them to wireless.

Joost Sues Volpi for Attempting a Web-based Skype network

September 18, 2009

Maybe the end of Skype is not near? The plot thickens as Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, both founders of Joost and Joltid, today announced that they have filed a lawsuit against Mike Volpi, Joost's former president, CEO and chairman. The suit also names his current private equity firm (and Joost investor) Index Ventures. The legal documents say that Volpi obtained confidential information in his role as CEO of Joost about how to circumvent Joltid's intellectual property - the very same intellectual property needed to run Skype.

According to, "The gist of the lawsuit is that Volpi learned how to modify Joltid's proprietary software to run on the web without the aid of peer-to-peer software when he was transitioning Joost from a peer-to-peer service to a web-based Hulu clone.

Skype Tops the IM Charts Surpassing Windows Live Messenger

September 18, 2009

Is The End of Skype Near?

September 18, 2009

As you probably heard, Joltid has sued eBay and now the new consortium of buyers, over the P2P licensing rights used in Skype.

Brad from the 'Twilight in the Valley of the Nerds' blog emailed me to say he read my Joltid article, including the comments from Julian Cain, a former Kazaa employee, where Julian commented that Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Fris can remotely shut down Skype by remotely revoking the cryptographic keys.

In my article, Cain wrote in the comments section:

I worked on Kazaa at the same time Skype was being developed in the labs at Joltid.

There is a history of this greed so let me lay it out:

Kazaa was built as a client on top of a p2p library named FastTrack.
Joltid which was known as "consumer empowerment" at the time licensed the FastTrack p2p stack to Grokster. Having said that the Kazaa client was made brand-able. The 3 guys that built the original FastTrack library did not use proper Cryptographic code at the time and decided to build their own because Nick and Janus wanted the protocol to be protected so they could build the empire. Now back to Grokster, this same thing happened to them but it was supposedly due to default payment for the FastTrack license.

AstriCon Asterisk Conference Soon

September 18, 2009

After ITEXPO's resounding success in Los Angeles (over 6,000 attendees), we can definitively say VoIP hasn't been as badly affected as other industry sectors within the U.S. economy. In just about 3 weeks, we can confirm this is true with the big AstriCon event held at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa in Glendale, Arizona. TMC's Internet Telephony Magazine is a media sponsor for the event.

JAJAH@call - Twitter meets the Phone

September 17, 2009

JAJAH, today announced the beta‐launch of its Twitter calling solution, JAJAH@call. JAJAH users with a Twitter account can make phone calls via Twitter free of charge. @calls are made without revealing your number and without needing to know the number of the person you wish to call - all you need is their Twitter username. The key caveat being BOTH users must be JAJAH users (to do the mapping between Twitter and your phone number)

So how does it work?

To make a call you simply send a Twitter message (tweet) with "@call @username" where the 'username' is the Twitter name of the person you wish to call.

Siphon SIP App for iPhone Works over AT&T's 3G network? Holy Toledo!

September 17, 2009

I tested Siphon, a SIP-based VoIP application for the iPhone, in California at ITEXPO. Interestingly, Siphon worked perfectly in California over AT&T's 3G data network. Yes, you read that right - VoIP over 3G! I couldn't contain my giddiness when I realized I could now register my iPhone with TMC's Asterisk-based IP-PBX and make/receive calls.

802.3at-2009 Power over Ethernet (PoE) Plus Standard Ratified

September 14, 2009

The IEEE recently ratified 802.3at, a new Power over Ethernet Plus standard. The IEEE 802.3at-2009 Power over Ethernet (PoE) Plus standard defines the technology for powering a wide range of powered devices at up to 25W over existing CAT5e and above cables.

Mike McCormack, Chair of the IEEE P802.3at Task Force said, "IEEE 802.3at uses the Link Layer Discover Protocol (LLPD) from IEEE Std 802.1AB, which allows dynamic power allocation and negotiation down to 1/10th of a Watt, and associated technology including Type, Length, Values (TLVs) from IEEE 802.3bc, which was also recently approved. This will allow equipment manufactures to manage their power supply costs and efficiencies at levels not possible with previous standards, and to cut their costs in the process."

I contacted Daniel Feldman, Director of Marketing, Telecom, Microsemi and he responded to Mike's quote by saying, "This is a mis-interpretation of what can be actually done. All LLDP allows is for more devices to be powered with a given power supply, it does not increase the power supply efficiency in any way."

Mike McCormack also stated,  "In addition, we have increased available power up to 25W.

Avaya Buys Nortel

September 14, 2009

Avaya has agreed to purchase Nortel's enterprise business for $900 million, which is much larger than the $475  million 'stalk horse' bid put out last month by Avaya. As part of the deal, Nortel will sell the assets of the Enterprise Solutions Business, and shares of Nortel Government Solutions and DiamondWare  to Avaya. Avaya will pay out US$900 Million in cash to Nortel, with an additional pool of US$15 Million Reserved for an Employee Retention Program.

But the bid is subject to approval. Both Canadian and U.S.

Skype Nixes Skype Extras

September 14, 2009

While everyone from Apple to Palm to Microsoft have built or are building an app store, it appears Skype is getting out of the app business. I read the news on Friday on CNet that Skype is pulling the plug on its Extras program, which enables third-party developers to create add-ons for Skype. According to CNET, "not enough people were installing Skype Extras, Skype said in both an e-mail and in a blog post to developers."

Skype is allowing for some transition time, but it won't certify any new applications and any existing Extras will eventually have their digitally signed certificate expire. So your favorite third-party Skype Extra will eventually die.

Ok, so maybe Skype Extras wasn't that popular with Skype users, but I think Skype is to blame, not the developers.

Skype for iPhone 1.2 Crash Problem Fixed

September 10, 2009

Many users have been complaining about Skype for iPhone 1.2 crashing or locking up their iPhones. The recent 1.2 version released just last Friday repeatedly crashes either after logging on or dialing a number and affects both jailbroken and non-jailbroken iPhones. A thread on the Skype forums revealed some very unhappy users.

Well, today Skype released 1.2.1, a hotfix, to solve this problem.

Raul on the Skype blog writes:

With this hotfix we have addressed three issues about what you have been telling to us lately.

We would suggest for everyone to upgrade in iTunes.

Skype for iPhone Comes to Canada

September 9, 2009

If you recall, I wrote how Skype for iPhone and iPod touch was blocked in Canada. A Skype representative told me, "There are some patent-licensing issues which prevent us from offering it there." The Skype representative went on to say "I can't go into many more details other than it's codec related."

Well my Canadian brothers, rejoice! Today, Skype is bringing the iPhone & iPod touch app to Canada after settling the dispute. The Skype for iPhone application for iPhone and iPod touch is available immediately on the App Store in Canada.

As to the dastardly villain who was blocking Skype for iPhone in Canada, I contacted a Skype representative but he couldn't disclose the company name.

ShoreTel Lands 1st 'Skype for SIP' interoperability

September 9, 2009

ShoreTel is the first company to land SIP interoperability with Skype for SIP - before Avaya, Cisco, Mitel, Nortel, or any Asterisk-based PBX. I can't help but find the irony in this news since ShoreTel did not support third-party SIP phones/endpoints until ShoreTel 8 was released in 2008. Thus, ShoreTel was pretty late to embrace the SIP standard for endpoints, which forced users to use ShoreTel's proprietary phones. Though to be fair, Cisco was pretty late to the game as well, finally embracing third-party SIP phones back in 2006.

Top VoIP Blogs

September 3, 2009

Saw a couple of very recent Top VoIP blog lists I thought I'd share. I'm in both of these top VoIP blogs lists along with all the usual suspects.

List #1 link: Top 7 VoIP Blogs to Watch

1) GigaOm

2) Communications and Technology Blog 

Aastra Launches HD VoIP Audio called Hi-Q & Takes on Polycom

September 3, 2009

At ITEXPO, Aastra announced G.722 wideband audio codec support (HD audio) in their new 67xxi firmware version 2.5.0 or later. It's available as a free download from Aastra with no strings attached. No need to upgrade your 67xxi (formerly 57XXi) phone to a newer model to get HD audio. I spoke with Aastra at ITEXPO about this free upgrade and got a demo as well.

8x8 Virtual Meeting - Sporting Flash VoIP- Takes on WebEx and GoToMeeting

September 3, 2009

8x8, Inc. announced at ITEXPO a new, web-based conferencing service to its existing portfolio of business communication offerings for small to medium sized businesses. I met with a few 8x8 employees to get the low-down on this interesting new offering.

First, they leverage Adobe Flash and Adobe Flex for the client piece, which enables cross-platform support. No download required. You can also easily invite participants from a dashboard utility or send an email link to instantly join the conference.

Ecessa Brings Affordable Internet & VoIP SIP Redundancy to Market

September 2, 2009

At ITEXPO Ecessa, a 40-year old company most haven't heard of, announced they teamed up with MyTELEPATH and NetSapiens to bring reliable SIP delivery over multiple broadband links to SMEs. I met with Ecessa to discuss the news and to find out more information about their ClariLink product which adds VoIP SIP redundancy across multiple "bonded" broadband connections.

In a nutshell, ClariLink is SIP session aware and a SIP proxy / registrar that works across multiple ISP connections and will automatically failover in the event of too much latency, jitter, or an entire connection failure / outage. Ecessa measures latency, jitter, and connection outages and will automatically switch to one of the other connections. It also supports network optimization and will automatically pick the best performing connection when you initiate a SIP VoIP call. It can even modify the ISP connection on the fly during a VoIP call. So for instance, if your DSL connection fails , it will failover in real time to one of the other connections.

ITEXPO 2009 Exhibit Floor Mania

September 2, 2009

Alvarion keynote at ITEXPO

September 2, 2009

Why Did the Skype eBay Marriage Fail?

September 2, 2009

Early morning - headed into L.A. Convention Center

September 2, 2009

ITEXPO Networking Reception in L.A.

September 1, 2009

ITEXPO Networking Reception

September 1, 2009


September 1, 2009

TANDBERG's PrecisionHD USB camera is now shipping

September 1, 2009

XCast Labs Cuts VoIP Bandwidth Requirements In Half

September 1, 2009

In the ITEXPO Press Room I just met with Cliff Rees, President & CEO of XCast Labs. They have some interesting VoIP technology, including a patent called  "direct RTP" which reduces VoIP bandwidth requirements in half.

The example Cliff gave was a VoIP call from Los Angeles to San Francisco using Net2Phone based out of New Jersey. When the Los Angeles user calls the San Francisco user, it initiates a 90Kbps IP call cross-country to Net2Phone's headquarters in New Jersey.

Skype Sold for $2.75 Billion, but Patent Troubles Are not Over

September 1, 2009

eBay sold Skype for $2.75 billion, but the patent woes don't end with eBay offloading Skype. eBay will actually keep a 35% equity stake and sell a 65% stake to a buying consortium. eBay also gets $1.9 billion in cash, and a $125 million note. eBay sold Skype to a consortium led by Silver Lake that includes Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Investment Board.

Skype for Asterisk Launches

September 1, 2009

At TMC's ITEXPO, Digium and Skype announced the official launch of Skype for Asterisk, which was launched as a closed beta back in September 2008. Well, now anyone can now download Skype for Asterisk and make & receive low-cost calls leveraging Skype.

According to Digium, "Now businesses can take advantage of Skype's low-cost calling to landlines and mobile phones and free calling to more than 400 million registered Skype users around the world. Skype for Asterisk allows businesses to access the world's largest community of people communicating over the Internet, natively encrypts all voice calls and lets companies manage their Skype user accounts via Skype's Web-based Business Control Panel. Businesses already using an Asterisk-based phone system can add Skype as another complementary form of communications by downloading Skype for Asterisk, without additional costly hardware.

SIP Print SME VoIP Recording Appliance Launches

September 1, 2009

SIP Print is announcing today the general availability of a new, enterprise-class call recording platform for mid-market enterprises. The new SIP Print SME platform offers support for up to 200 seats per location, along with RAID hot-swappable drive bays, dual hot-swappable power supplies, and a Core 2 Quad Series processor.  Today's announcement is being issued in conjunction with TMC's ITEXPO Conference in Los Angeles.
According to SIP Print, SIP Print SME is a new, more powerful appliance designed for the needs of small and mid-size enterprises, or any organization with the requirement to record up to 200 seats per location.
"We introduced our highly affordable SMB product one year ago to meet the needs of small business with a need to record calls for training, QA, or compliance purposes, but simply couldn't justify the expense or hassle of the legacy recording systems on the market," said Jonathan Fuld, CTO for SIP Print.  "Since that time we've seen tremendous demand for a similar, but more powerful system in the mid-market enterprise arena.  We're pleased to introduce SIP Print SME as the ideal solution for mid-sized enterprises with the need for a system that is easy to install, easy to use and maintain, and easy to afford."
SIP Print SME is a 1U appliance and is certified as compatible and interoperable with many of today's leading IP PBX systems, including: Allworx, Aastralink, ADTRAN, Altigen, Avaya Distributed Office, Cisco, Epygi, Fonality, Grandstream, Mitel, NEC 8100, NEC 8300, Nortel, ShoreTel, SIPfoundry, Toshiba, Zultys, 3Com, and more. As configured, SIP Print SME is capable of recording and storing the equivalent of one handset, 24x7 for 15 years.

Check out my recent review (last month) of their previous SIP Print appliance which I gave extremely high marks.

Featured Events