Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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We ask the experts: How can exceptional QoE be achieved in VoLTE networks?

By: Jean Jones, Director, Wireless Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

What does voice over LTE (VoLTE) offer your subscribers? Better voice quality, including HD voice. Rich communications with messaging and video. And whatever inventive applications you choose to introduce. In other words, VoLTE can provide a superior quality of experience (QoE) for subscribers and give you a competitive edge — particularly when your service operates at its best. 

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In my last blog[CCE1] , our experts explained why an end-to-end strategy is the key to maintaining peak VoLTE performance. Now we’ll look at how this strategy gets put into practice to optimize real-world service offerings. The information here is based on interviews with Luis Venerio who works with our VoLTE Readiness Services team. And his observations come straight from his experience on VoLTE deployments that serve millions of subscribers.

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Wearable Tech Expo 2014 Kicking off in NYC

My team is at the Jacob Javits Center setting up for Wearable Tech Expo 2014 which will take place Wednesday and Thursday...

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When Does WebRTC Need a Media Server? Reason #7

Tsahi Levent-Levi’s white paper, “Seven Reasons for WebRTC Server-Side Processing,” details a variety of WebRTC-related scenarios that necessitate a media server....

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How signaling spikes affect networks: 3 real-world examples

By: Josee Loudiadis, Director of Network Intelligence, Alcatel-Lucent

Data and signaling growth are usually good news for network operators, since growth often translates into higher revenues. But when growth is averaged over a month or quarter, the daily highs and lows of network activity are smoothed out. And signaling spikes remain hidden within the averages. These spikes can overwhelm available signaling capacity, which impairs the customer experience, as well as the operator’s reputation.

What happens when a spike occurs? Typically, a CPU Overload alarm appears on various mobile nodes. And the Network Operations Center (NOC) immediately starts praying that the burst is short-lived and doesn’t go over maximum peak-rate capacity. Because when that happens, all consumers are denied service access. Then, the process of identifying the source of the problem begins. This can be arduous, because it often involves applications completely out of NOC control. And the issue can’t be resolved easily without solid network analytics that enables engagement with application and device developers.

That’s the reason signaling information is a crucial part of the Alcatel-Lucent Mobile Apps Rankings report and why LTE World 2014 devotes an entire pre-conference day to the topic. It’s also why this blog offers a closer look at how some real-world disruptive signaling spikes got started — and were finally resolved.

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The Expanding Channel Programs

Not only do I see more cloud service providers looking to the channel for sales, I see other channel programs expanding....

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When Does WebRTC Need a Media Server? Reason #6

In a recent blog about the current state of WebRTC, I mentioned that readers should check out an excellent white paper...

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The Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: It's Not All About Data- Mobile Voice and Messaging Share Plans Offer Plenty of Appeal

Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe continues the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series by examining the degree to which consumers are interested in share plans that include unlimited voice and messaging but don’t include data.

The last Six Degrees blog explored consumer attitudes toward two different mobile share plan options: sharing data only and sharing voice, messaging and data. This blog will explore attitudes toward a 3rd option: sharing unlimited voice and messaging — but not data — across multiple devices or subscribers.

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DIGITALK, the One-Stop Shop for Wholesale Carriers & Service Providers

October 3, 2012

AT ITEXPO Paul Bassa, VP Product Marketing gave me an overview of U.K.-based DIGITALK, which offers platform and application products backed by full services support, that offers provisioning, prepaid charging, payments, and carrier routing to minimize operations overheads and maximize service margins. They offer pre-sales consultancy, through installation and commissioning, to worldwide 24x7 SLAs.

They offer a mobile VoIP app on consumer side and allow service providers to white label the app and they help with the Apple iTunes app submission process. The mobile VoIP app has prepaid capabilities built-in, allowing you to simply enter a PIN to activate.

They build all their own products, including their own session border controller (SBC) and can do carrier to carrier routing, management, SIP trunking, wholesale billing, and reporting. They also have a Web API to allow you to build your own portals.



Toopher Two-Factor Authentication Leverages Mobile Phone Location

October 2, 2012


I met with Toopher's Josh Alexander, Co-founder & CEO to discuss their two-factor authentication platform. He explained their their two-factor authentication is drop-dead simple leveraging your mobile phone's location - pulling location data from GPS, 3G/4G triangulation, and Wi-Fi, which usually grants accuracy of at least a couple hundred feet even when indoors.

Two-factor authentication is nothing new - Google for instance offers two-factor authentication by sending you a SMS to your mobile phone with a PIN to authenticate your device. Of course, I experienced an issue with Google's YouTube two-factor authentication because my house has poor cell signal and I didn't receive the SMS. Josh told me that's why there is a pretty low adoption rates of many competing two-part authentication methods.


Novus Distributes First Enhanced Media Gateway for Microsoft Lync Server 2013

October 2, 2012


Novus, a boutique telecommunications and IP distributor serving value-added resellers throughout North America, announced today the distribution of Ferrari electronic’s OfficeMaster Gate media gateway featuring recently released firmware that supports the new features of the next generation Microsoft Lync Server 2013, including the IPv6 protocol. Novus is the official distributor of Ferrari electronic products for the North American market.
 
Ferrari electronic worked in close collaboration with the Microsoft Lync product team in Redmond, Washington to develop the new firmware for the OfficeMaster Gate media gateway and it has been rigorously tested at Microsoft over the last few months. The new firmware from Ferrari electronic was released to coincide with the availability of the Lync 2013 Preview on July 16, 2012.
 
“Ferrari electronic is currently the only European manufacturer of an enhanced gateway certified for Microsoft Lync Server 2010, and it’s the first manufacturer to integrate its gateway with Lync Server 2013,” said Novus Managing Partner Chris Meehan. “This creates a compelling value proposition for resellers because they can install software-based OfficeMaster Gate gateway cards now as proof of concepts and deliver a highly scalable gateway solution with a tremendous ROI to small and medium-sized businesses looking for Lync migration solutions.”
 
Novus offers the Ferrari electronic OfficeMaster Gate media gateway and OfficeMaster SBA survivable branch appliance to resellers in flexible configurations as either appliances or PCI boards.
 
“Resellers will find the licensing options particularly appealing, since they can optionally configure gateway and survivable branch appliance functionality on a single card to reduce power consumption, minimize rack space and further reduce costs while benefitting from ongoing improvements through firmware upgrades that are free of charge within the current revision,” added Meehan.
 
To further incentivize resellers to deploy the Lync Server 2013-ready OfficeMaster Gate media gateway, Novus is announcing a free comprehensive private training program for resellers who sign up to carry the Ferrari electronic products.










RCA Makes Android IP Phones? Who Knew?

October 2, 2012

I'm here at ITEXPO in Austin, Texas, a leading communications tradeshow, when what do my wondering eyes see? An email promotion from RCA promoting their new Android-based IP phones - the RCA IP150, RCA IP120 and the RCA IP110. Here's a screenshot of part of the email:



When I think of RCA my nostalgia kicks in and I think of two things, both of which are antiquated technologies.

One, I think of my grandparents huge TV inside a wooden frame that sat on the floor. Nowadays you hang up your flat-screen TV and the TV never touches the floor.

Two, I think back to my dad's Elvis Presley "Hound Dog" RCA record with the cool logo of dog with its mouth aimed inside the record player, similar to this Elvis vinyl record:


As a 6-year old kid I assumed the RCA dog was because the song on the record was "Hound Dog".










Nokia Lumia 920 Image Stabilization is Real - Look out Apple & Samsung!

September 28, 2012


A gadget reviewer and mobile technology expert from Russia took the yet-unreleased Nokia Lumia 920 (Windows Phone 8) and hooked it onto a radio controlled (RC) car to test the super optical image stabilization (OIS) touted by Nokia. Yes, yes, we all know Nokia was excoriated for using a DSLR for their commercial touting the image stabilization of the Lumia 920. Yeah, they should have has a disclaimer saying the video was "simulated" and not actually taken with a Lumia 920, but if Nokia was replicating what the Lumia 920 could "actually" do, then I honestly didn't see why the big brouhaha.

Well, it turns out that Nokia wasn't lying about the Nokia Lumia's OIS capabilities. In the last few days I saw a iPhone vs.


How Corning Created the Ultrathin, Ultrastrong Gorilla Glass

September 25, 2012



Wired has a fascinating read on how Gorilla Glass came about. You might think that a scientist laboriously worked doing calculus equations or a chemist mixing various ingredients to perfect the perfect glass for mobile devices and tablets. You would be wrong. Gorilla Glass, or at least its forerunner that led to Gorilla Glass was discovered by sheer accident!

WebRTC - Mobile Communications Game Changer or Flash in the Pan?

September 24, 2012

Came across Erik Lagerway's interesting guest post on Gigaom.com discussing WebRTC and its potential to be a mobile game changer. WebRTC essentially embeds a standard-based real time Media Engine into all of the available browsers enabling real-time voice and video communication from your browser. Erik ponders the future leveraging WebRTC:

Imagine a world where no matter what we use or where we are we could all communicate via video, hassle-free, for free — native video from Apple devices to Samsung devices, from business phones to the TV in your living room, from your car to your home to a beach in Hawaii. That is what WebRTC can do for us.


Windows 8 & Windows 8 RT Metro/Modern UI Lync App Coming Soon

September 21, 2012


Not to be outdone by the Microsoft Skype, which released a touch-friendly Windows 8 Metro/Modern UI Skype app, Microsoft's Lync team announced a Lync app for Windows 8 and Windows RT also using Metro/Modern UI. This touch-friendly Lync app will be available in the Windows Store for both Windows 8 and Windows RT in late October according to the Lync Team Blog.

This will be part of Microsoft Lync 2013, the latest iteration of Microsoft's unified communications platform that brings instant messaging, VoIP, collaboration and video conferencing to the enterprise. In addition to the touch-optimized Lync app, new versions of Lync server and desktop client is coming soon, as well as newer versions of their mobile clients and a browser-based Lync Web app, which will now feature multiparty HD video, voice over IP (VoIP), instant messaging, and desktop, application, and PowerPoint sharing.

Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade to Windows 8 Problem Solved!

September 20, 2012

I decided to upgrade my Windows 7 Ultimate laptop to Windows 8 Pro. I wanted an in-place upgrade keeping all my apps and settings. Yeah, no judgement here for not doing a clean install! No time.

Anyway, the options available to me were 'Keep personal files only' and 'Nothing'. There is supposed to be an option 'Keep Windows settings, personal files and applications' but it was missing.

Apple iOS 6 First Look

September 19, 2012

I upgraded my Apple iPhone 4S to iOS 6 this afternoon and here are my impressions. First, for some reason the Photo Stream feature was turned 'On' even though it was off when I was running iOS 5 firmware. That's annoying. If you're privacy conscious make sure to check that this is Off under Settings, iCloud, Photo Stream.

Now the good stuff.

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