Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
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VoIP news, trends, and opinions, VoIP reviews. Covering Asterisk, Cisco, Grandstream, Polycom, Microsoft, Vonage, Packet8, etc.

Asterisk Hack Post-mortem

January 10, 2012


Having your production Asterisk-based phone system hacked is no fun, as I have learned from first-hand experience over the past few days. Even the best of IT administrators taking ever security precaution in the book dreads the day their critical server gets hacked. You hope you've done everything possible to stop your servers from being hacked, but you are never 100% sure. There is always some hacker smarter than you, but more importantly, smarter than the best security practices you put in place.

Fonality Names Former Microsoft Exec David Scult as CEO

January 10, 2012

Today, Fonality announced it has appointed former Microsoft Exec David Scult (image right) as Chief Executive Officer. This is the second CEO in just a couple years. Dean Mansfield replaced Chris Lyman CEO, the founder of Fonality. I'm a fan of Fonality's Asterisk-based products, especially their HUD client, so I'm hoping things are going well there.

President Obama Has VoIP Glitch

January 4, 2012


Apparently, President Obama had some VoIP glitches when he attempted to tried to steal some of the Republican Iowa Caucuses' spotlight last night via a live address to his Democratic supporters over the Internet. The video teleconference had sporadic audio issues making him hard to understand. It's bad enough trying to understand some of President Obama's policies when he is speaking clearly never mind when he's encountering VoIP packet loss and jitter!

According to ABC News, Obama's video teleconferences utilized a proprietary software program developed for the Obama campaign by Adobe Systems Inc. It's likely a derivative of the Adobe Connect VoIP, video, and collaboration platform.

In one part of the video, he sounded like Max Headroom "(static) In some ways, I'm actually more optimistic now then I was when I first ran cuz we've already see...




As Predicted - the Cisco Umi Demise

January 4, 2012


First Cisco killed the popular Flip Cam they acquired, now this - Cisco has killed their Skype-alternative UMI videoconferencing product. Rich Tehrani gave 10 reasons why he thought Cisco UMI would fail, plus an 11th reason later on (Kinect, Skype-enabled Bluray players). I didn't even bother to write about Cisco Umi because I knew it would be a failed venture. We were both right.

Newfies-Dialer Offers Super-Scalable Cloud-based Auto-Dialer Using FreeSWITCH

December 29, 2011


I discovered a new, powerful, open source auto-dialer called Newfies-Dialer that is offered by Star2Billing S.L, and is distributed free of charge, with no ongoing licensing costs. Star2Billing also wrote CDR-Stats, a replacement for Asterisk Stat used in FreePBX, as well as A2Billing. Star2Billing S.L., based in Barcelona, was formed in 2009 to provide commercial support to their range of free and open source products specialising in telephony, billing, and telecoms software development. Freeswitch is often compared with Asterisk, though Freeswitch is more scalable, especially the number of concurrent SIP registrations.

Jonathan Roper emailed me to tell me about this new auto-dialer, which works in conjunction with FreeSWITCH.


Microsoft Lync 2010, Asterisk & Skype Integration Tutorial

December 28, 2011

I came across an excellent tutorial on installing and integrating Microsoft Lync 2010, Asterisk and Skype. The tutorial covers installing AsteriskNOW within a virtual machine on Windows, so you don't even have to have spare hardware lying around to install Linux + AsteriskNOW on. The tutorial mentions integrating with Skype using Skype for Asterisk (SFA), which unfortunately was killed earlier this year. You can of course use Skype Connect (formerly Skype for SIP) to create SIP trunks, but the integration isn't as "tight".

Skype offering Free WiFi for Christmas Season

December 19, 2011


The Christmas holiday season is one of the busiest travel times of the year. As such, many of us will be in airports around the country waiting for our flight to depart. This is a perfect time to crack open your laptop, iPad, or other device and IM or talk with your Skype buddies and family members. e.g.

Data Consumption Comparison: Microsoft Lync vs. Communicator Mobile for Windows Mobile

December 16, 2011

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.

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