Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
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VoLTE Versus WebRTC: I didn't know it was a battle

When I talk to customers, they often ask about how WebRTC compares to voice over LTE (VoLTE), and which technology “will...

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These 3 Do Everything Together

At a few shows, including the latest ITEXPO, the 3 big cablecos - TWC, Comcast and Charter - share a booth....

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Modems? In This Day and Age?

Not so many years ago, the only way to connect to the Internet was via a modem. You would use your...

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How to Speed Small Cell Site Acquisition on a Large Scale

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

Outdoor small cells are now widely recognized as a great solution for expanding mobile capacity and coverage. And their use is expected to grow sevenfold by 2018.[1] So here’s the next big question: How can you put these cells where they’re needed, faster and at lower cost?

Maybe you’ve already encountered deployment issues, including difficulties with small cell site acquisition. According to an Informa Telecoms & Media survey, nearly 60% of mobile operators say that deployment problems are their biggest small cell challenge.[2] In other words, operators’ top concerns are not about small cell technologies or products. Instead, they’re about the practical aspects of getting these cells up and running on light posts, utility poles, bus stops, buildings and other street locations.

This blog looks at a collaborative approach that makes these deployment processes faster and easier. Alcatel-Lucent adopted these methods for our Metro Cell Express Site Certification Program. And we’re discussing them here, because this business model earned a top award in the small cell innovation leadership category.

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HumansFirst ColdSmoke Lets You Buy with your Smartphone

While speech-technology has come a long way, we still haven’t entered the world of Star Trek reruns where the computer can do...

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Structural Separation via REIT Equals Zero Taxes

Windstream got the endorsement of the IRS to transfer their assets - copper and fiber plant - to a REIT and...

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Connected Cars as an Everyday Lifestyle

By: Ellis Lindsay, General Manager, Customer Experience Solutions, Alcatel-Lucent 

I drive to work and back home in my car every day. I tune in to a radio station for traffic news and upcoming events nearby. Like many of you I’m sure, this is a typical everyday activity. And like never before, we are connected to our home, our families, our phones, our work and our friends in a network that seems to be always on. Shouldn’t we be in a lifestyle where we are consistently connected to the everyday activities in our lives? Well, let me introduce you to the world of Connected Cars. Full Story »

FreePBX World - Just Days Away!

August 12, 2013

The first ever FreePBX World co-located at ITEXPO is just 16 days away, taking place at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. I recently wrote about FreePBX and gave a sneak peek of the conference agenda for FreePBX World you should check out.

I'm attending ITEXPO to cover all the latest news on VoIP, WebRTC, Asterisk & FreePBX, cloud communications, and much more. Oh, and did I mention Apple legend Steve Wozniak is keynoting?

ITEXPO is one of the longest running communications shows and it continues to add excellent new content to the conference tracks, exciting new co-located events like FreePBX World & Startup Camp, as well as headliner keynoters like former Apple & Pepsi CEO John Sculley, 3Com founder and Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe, and many more.

If you haven't registered already, head over here, but you better be quick, I hear the hotel room block is almost full!





iotum Adds WebRTC VoIP to Calliflower Conferencing

August 7, 2013

iotum today announced some improvements to its Calliflower conferencing service, the biggest of which is a new WebRTC-enabled native SIP client – Calliflower Connect. Previously, Calliflower required you either call in via PSTN or use Skype, but now WebRTC adds yet another dial-in method - a frictionless one at that since you don't need to install anything. PCs or other devices that don't have Skype installed can now take advantage of WebRTC, which is enabled on Google Chrome and Firefox.

I did a quick test and was able to connect to the meeting using WebRTC VoIP technology from my PC and I was also able to dial-in to the Calliflower provided PSTN number and enter a PIN to join the meeting.

Grandstream UCM6100 PBX - Security & GPLv2 Disaster?

August 5, 2013


Last week I wrote Grandstream UCM6100 PBX - Yet Another Aastra & snom Disaster? I was looking at it from a partner and reseller perspective. But I was talking with FreePBX's Tony Lewis and he mentioned he discovered the version of Asterisk running on the UCM6100 was 25 versions old, over a year old and with several security flaws fixed since then.

Ward Mundy over at Nerd Vittles also discovered some major security flaws, including a major one in the IVR that could enable a hacker to springboard out from the IVR to the PSTN via the UCM6100's FXO ports. Putting aside the old version of Asterisk and security flaws, the UCM6100 is impressive in several respects. Perhaps the most impressive is that you can get a 2 port FXO / 2 port FXS for $264!


Blazar Wireless Speaker Review

July 29, 2013


I took Beacon's Blazar ($149.99) wireless portable speaker for a test drive and compared it vs. the Jawbone Big JAMBOX ($179.99$199), a popular wireless speaker. The first thing I noticed was how heavy the JAMBOX is compared with the Blazar. My co-worker, Rich Tehrani loves his JAMBOX and takes it wherever he goes.

Phone.com Review

July 26, 2013

The Blazar Wireless Portable Speaker Launches on Kickstarter

July 23, 2013


The Blazar Bluetooth portable speaker now has a Kickstarter project page. The Blazar is a wireless speaker with a few innovative features, including stereo pairing and NFC. The Blazar comes from Beacon and features Bluetooth and a microphone that enables speakerphone mode or talking to Siri. It sports a 12-hour rechargeable battery and 1,000 day warranty.


Uniquely, you can pair two Blazars to get true left and right stereo separation. You'll need to purchase two to do so since they're sold separately, but having a portable stereo setup with access to your full Android, Apple iOS, or Windows Phone music library means you get retire your 80s boombox when headed to the beach - if you haven't already!


The NFC feature is used to pair your NFC-compatible phone with the speaker.






Grandstream UCM6100 PBX - Yet Another Aastra & snom Disaster?

July 19, 2013


Is history repeating itself with the new just-launched Asterisk-based Grandstream UCM6100 IP-PBX appliance, which could upset their partners? Back in 2008, I warned Aastra about getting into the IP-PBX game:
Aastra Telecom has entered the IP-PBX game with the AastraLink Pro 160. This is a very interesting move since Aastra Telecom is known for their IP phones used by various IP-PBXs, including many of the Asterisk-based solutions - trixbox, AsteriskNOW, Druid, PBX in a Flash, etc. With the AastraLink Pro 160 Aastra is now competing with IP-PBX vendors that purchase their phones.


How FreePBX is Revolutionizing PBXs - Let Freedom Ring!

July 15, 2013

Asterisk fans know that Asterisk, as its name implies, was designed to do everything in telecom since the name Mark Spencer gave it comes from the Linux wildcard symbol (*), which can match or do just about anything. It's a fantastic name chosen by Asterisk's founder.

Similarly, FreePBX also sports a great name, espousing a truly powerful and "free" PBX with no strings attached. Is it not ironic that America , the nation whose most precious Amendment of the Constitution, the 1st Amendment which established "free speech" as a fundamental right and a nation which invented the most important communications technology - the telephone, also helped establish one of the most closed, proprietary, and expensive pieces of "speech" technology? - namely the PBX.

Free speech you say?



Hilarious Skype Bombing Interrupts George Zimmerman Trial

July 3, 2013


Cheap Skype calling anywhere in the world...
Free video calling to friends and family...
Using Skype to "Skype Bomb" the George Zimmerman trial on live TV - priceless!

Scott Pleasants, a criminal justice professor at Seminole State College was testifying in the George Zimmerman murder trial via Skype, when pranksters watching the case quickly hammered the witness's account with Skype calls.

“I gotta tell you, there’s now a really good chance that we’re being toyed with,” said Zimmerman lawyer Mark O’Mara.

The judge was not amused... Watch the video...


Oh and in the future, if you don't want to be Skype Bombed, it's pretty simple to disable anonymous calls. Go into Skype options, then Privacy, and then check "Only allow people in my Contact list to contact me".

Unless of course the witness's friends in his Contact list were playing a practical joke. Though interrupting a courtroom could result in a "out of order" or "contempt" ruling and jail time, so I'm betting these were anonymous pranksters not in his Skype Contacts.













Logitech H650e Headset Review

June 28, 2013

The Logitech USB Headset 650e "corded" stereo headset is the sister to the H820e "wireless" headset I recently reviewed. Both models target unified communications (UC) with some call control functions like mute and answer call. Like the H820e, the H650e sports a call indicator LED to let co-workers know you're on the phone, as well as wideband audio. Curious how the H650e compared to the H820e I took the H650e for a spin.

One of my observations when testing the H820e was that the bass response - low frequencies was missing from the speakers when playing music.

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