Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Access is Still Pretty Good

At all the shows, it is cloud this and cloud that - a bunch of doom and gloom on legacy telecom....

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Mobile fax? Why do you need that?

Fax is an enduring technology. While you may think that fax is declining, some reports show that the market is actually...

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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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Sprint Nextel Throws Out 489 PBXs - Switches 100% to Microsoft Lync

December 16, 2011


Sprint Nextel thew out 489 PBXs and switched over their 39,000 employees to using Microsoft Lync, a unified commutations solution gaining in popularity. Sprint Nextel said their goal was to "reduce its environmental impact, improve employee productivity, and reduce costs and administration for its cumbersome telephony systems". Whether they truly "threw out" the 489 PBXs and they're sitting in a landfill somewhere or they sold off the PBXs is unknown, but I'm hoping for the latter or it would defeat Sprint Nextel's purpose of "reduced environmental impact".

Here's what their Lync deployment / voice infrastructure looks like now:


Sprint Nextel claims that switching to Microsoft Lync has saved them nearly $13 million annually by reducing the TCO of maintaining hundreds of hardware-based PBXs, on-site maintenance fees, and annual upgrades. It went with Microsoft's software approach and leveraged Sprint's Global MPLS network and SIP trunking to connect their 39,000 employees together seamlessly allowing them to retire 489 PBXs scattered across the country.





Lync for Android Launches!

December 14, 2011

Today, Microsoft released Lync for Android. In an interesting twist, it appears Microsoft released Lync for Android before Apple iOS. It seems more and more these days that Android is getting the app love before the popular iOS platform.

Impressive SkyDrive App for iPhone & Windows Phone Released

December 14, 2011


The SkyDrive app is now available both for the iPhone and Windows Phone users running the Mango update. This is a kick ass app that might make me switch from using Dropbox. You may recall I use Dropbox in my home surveillance recipe, which helped catch someone in the act of messing with my home theater.

The SkyDrive app isn't simply for viewing & uploading files or photos. Using either the iOS app or the Windows Phone app, you can upload photos, files, documents and manage your SkyDrive folders right from your mobile device.


Skype 2.6 for Android Sports Image and Video Sharing

December 13, 2011


Skype just released Skype 2.6 for Android, with a new feature that lets you send photos and videos to your Skype buddies. I haven't tested this yet, but I'm going to assume there isn't a size limit and no compression being performed on your images or video. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, i.e. longer transmission times, but better image quality.

Digium TE820 8-port T1/E1 Card Released

December 13, 2011

According to Digium, they just released their 8-port T1/E1 card designed for high density Asterisk deployments. The TE820 includes eight independently software-selectable digital telephony interfaces, supporting up to 192 channels (in T1/J1 mode) or 240 channels (in E1 mode).

In a Digium email announcement, Digium claims this is the highest single-card port density available for use with Asterisk - though Sangoma's A108 Octal 8-port T1/E1 card might have something to say about that.

Features/Specs of the TE820:
  • 8 T1 / E1 Spans using 4 RJ45 connectors (each supporting 2 circuits). Break out dongles included.
  • Up to to 192 (T1/J1) or 240 (E1) concurrent calls per card
  • PCI Express form factor / half-length, full-height card
  • Interfaces are software selectable (T1, E1, or J1 Mode)
  • Optional 128ms hardware echo cancellation module
The TE820 card supports industry standard telephony protocols, including multiple variants of Primary Rate ISDN.




Microsoft Lync Profiles Utility

December 12, 2011

So you want to switch Lync profiles but are tired of having to logout and type in the other credentials (username + password), eh? Well, I came across a cool new utility for Microsoft Lync that saves your various usernames, passwords, and both the internal & external URLs. Called Profiles for Lync (or P4L for short), the developer explains, "This app fills what has been to date an annoying gap in the feature offer, especially for partners/integrators: with P4L it’s as easy as clicking a button to logout of Lync and log back in with another set of credentials – and even into another system!"

Who wouldn't like the ability to switch Lync profiles quickly without having to remember usernames and passwords? Although, unless you sport some secret identity like a superhero, you likely maintain a single, non-anonymous user identity for your corporate-based Lync client. So really this utility is only useful for IT/MIS personnel testing and troubleshooting Lync, as well as VARs and resellers that deploy Lync at customer locations.

Dilbert is a Skype Fan. Who knew?

December 12, 2011

Microsoft Lync Mobile available now!

December 11, 2011

Looks like the December 12th launch date I wrote about on Friday was correct.  It's already available for download for Windows Phone 7. Nothing yet on Apple's App Store.

Screenshot I took in the Windows Marketplace:


Ironically I took this screenshot from my iPad. Below is the text from the Windows Marketplace. The iPad is a little wonky with the clipboard.




Microsoft Lync Mobile Client Launches in 3 Days!

December 9, 2011


Back in August I told you Microsoft informed me that the Microsoft Lync mobile client was coming "very very soon". Microsoft told me the mobile Lync client would support both voice and video on Android, Apple's iOS and Windows Mobile 7, explaining, "it will dependent on the device, but it will be enabled at some point at time." They pointed out that some devices don't have a front-facing camera so having a videoconference via a mobile Lync client wouldn't necessarily make sense.

Well, at the Lync mobile "partner-only" virtual event some more details about the long awaited mobile Lync client has been released. First, the launch date. According to this tweet, Lync Mobile clients will be on the market / launched on December 12th.


Only 15 Christmas Shopping Days Left!

December 9, 2011


Where has the month of December gone? There is only 15 shopping days left till Christmas Day and I haven't even started shopping yet. I have no idea what to get for my wife and two kids -- nor what gadgets to ask for myself. Already own an iPad and an iPhone 4S.

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