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

Asterisk + OpenBTS = Be Your Own Wireless Carrier

February 14, 2011

OpenBTS (Open Base Transceiver Station) is a free softare implementation of the GSP protocol allowing the creation of software-based GSM access points that enable standard GSM mobile phones to make phone calls without using traditional wireless providers' networks. In other words, create your own homebrew cellular network!

According to the OpenBTS Project, OpenBTS is an open-source Unix application that uses the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) to present a GSM air interface ("Um") to standard GSM handset and uses Asterisk software to connect calls leveraging SIP and VoIP.

The goal of the project is to reduce the cost of GSM service provision in rural areas and the developing world. They explain, "In plain language, we are working on a new kind of cellular network that can be installed and operated at about 1/10 the cost of current technologies, but that will still be compatible with most of the handsets that are already in the market. This technology can also be used in private network applications (wireless PBX, rapid deployment, etc.) at much lower cost and complexity than conventional cellular."

During the past few Burning Man festivals, OpenBTS has performed a week-long live field test under special temporary WE9XJN authorization to use certain wireless frequencies.





Cisco Responds to Polycom's Adoption of TIP and Interoperability

February 10, 2011

A Cisco representative saw my article about Polycom's announcement to support Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP) and she thought I'd be interested in hearing Cisco's take. David Hsieh, vice president, emerging technologies, Cisco responded to this news announcement as follows:

"We are pleased to hear that Polycom is joining other companies in adopting the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP), the only open, multi-screen Telepresence interoperability protocol available today. TIP, originally developed by Cisco to enable multi-screen telepresence interoperability, was turned over to the IMTC (International Multimedia Teleconferencing Consortium) to be managed as an industry standard.  It is not a Cisco proprietary protocol — it’s an open protocol available to anyone in the industry.

Hoot.me Wins SMS Voting Contest at StartupCamp3 at ITEXPO

February 9, 2011

I was at ITEXPO East in Miami and got to see some cool companies demoing their products on stage in front of hundreds of people. At the end we got to vote using our cell phones and SMS. Competition was tight, but in the end Hoot.me pulled out the win with their tutoring/study application that directly integrates with Facebook. You can invite friends to work on calculus problems for instance - including calculus symbols like the differential and integral signs.

Polycom UC Intelligent Core Platform Supports TIP Standard - Interoperable with Cisco

February 9, 2011

June of last year I wrote about how Cisco had to adopt the open source TIP protocol before the EU would approve Cisco's acquisition of Tandberg:
An interesting back story behind the Cisco acquisition of Tandberg is that Cisco had to make sure Cisco's open source and free TIP (Telepresence Interoperability Protocol) protocol was used. The EU wouldn't approve the acquisition of Tandberg without Cisco agreeing to use this protocol. There have been obvious concerns (including my own) that Cisco/Tandberg could create a proprietary telepresence platform that locked out third-party competitors. Cisco and Tandberg just made an announcement stating advanced multiscreen telepresence interoperability with each other as well as other third-party systems, by integrating the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP) on Cisco's newly acquired Tandberg TelePresence Server.
The fruits of that effort are now realized with today's announcement from Polycom.

Flash 10.2 Adds Full Screen on Separate Monitors

February 9, 2011

Flash 10.2 finally adds the ability to watch full screen video on a separate monitor while you continue to work on your primary monitor. Guess this makes the popular Flash full screen hack called FlashHacker obsolete. Now everyone can happily watch Hulu, YouTube, Liveleak, and all other Flash video in full screen on a second monitor while simultaneously checking email and surfing the web.  In theory, any Flash-based video conferencing product (i.e.

Hosted Microsoft OCS/Lync Provider Supports Direct SIP Trunking

February 3, 2011


Direct SIP trunking has existed since OCS 2007 R2, however, WorkSpace Communications claims to be the only hosted Microsoft OCS/Lync Provider to support direct SIP trunking in a "hosted" environment. Even the more recent version Microsoft Lync cannot do direct SIP trunking when using a hosted Lync provider. I stopped by their booth at ITEXPO where they told me that Microsoft said it would be near impossible to offer direct SIP trunking in a hosted scenario. Well, they figured it out and are now applying for a patent.

Currently, WorkSpace Communications is hosting OCS 2007 R2, but Lync support will be released very shortly.


SIPfish VoIP Recorder ITEXPO Coming Out Party

February 3, 2011



SIPfish, a San Francisco-based company and their SIPfish VoIP Voice-Recorder appliance has been in stealth mode - in private beta since March 2010. Now they are ready to bring their Linux-based appliance for general availability with their first public showing of the SIPfish VoIP Recorder appliance made at ITEXPO East 2011 in Miami.

I met with Scott Olsen, Co-Founder and CEO of SIPfish to learn more. One of the first things Scott said his goal was in this product was "no compromises on accuracy and we have to make sure everything gets recorded". He explained that they have done lots of regression testing and have engineered their product to have high throughput, leveraging  Intel advanced I/O for network appliances, which is designed to handle the capture of thousands of packets without losing a single one.

Scott said they are dealing with carriers now that are looking to record 20,000 simultaneous calls with maybe 5,000 calls that they want to record.





Allworx Unveils 9204G IP Phone at ITEXPO

February 2, 2011


At ITEXPO Allworx today unveiled the Allworx 9204G, the newest addition to the Allworx series of IP phones featuring an embedded Gigabit switch.

Allworx will be showcasing its entire family of phones and systems at ITEXPO East 2011 this week at the Miami Convention Center at the PAETEC Allworx booth #301.

“This is our first Gigabit-based phone and it provides all of the unique features of our Allworx product line at blazing speeds which will prepare any business for the increased requirements of the future,” said Chris Hasenauer, president of Allworx. “Using the 9204G with embedded gigabit switch ensures that the phone will never be the limiting factor on network performance.”

Allworx 9204G features include:

  • Four (4) Programmable Feature Keys
  • 192 × 64 monochrome graphical display
  • Adjustable backlit LCD Display
  • Enhanced Full-Duplex Speakerphone
  • Wideband Audio Support via G.722
  • 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet switch
  • Four (4) party conferencing


Fonax Announces New Web UI for IP-PBX Line at ITEXPO

February 2, 2011


At ITEXPO Fonax today announced the release of their minimalist WEB UI  with full recording capability. As of Feb 2nd all Fonax systems will ship with the new interface and capabilities. The new user interface enables installers and end-users, the ability to make simple, as well as complex changes to their phone system. Adding users, extensions, call reports and much more are now as simple as a few clicks away.

To be honest I've never heard of Fonax.


Xorcom's Premium XE2000 and XE3000 IP-PBXs Now Shipping

February 2, 2011


Today, at ITEXPO Xorcom announced their new line of VoIP business communication solutions, the XE2000 and XE3000 series is now shipping. Similar to the XR2000 and XR30000 series, these two new PBXs handle both TDM/PSTN and VoIP calls. Running the Elastix distro of Asterisk, the new series adds new features including microprocessor-based temperature control with redundant fans, redundant hard drives, internal backup and recovery support (including restore points), and an LCD touch panel for access to system parameters. The LCD enables system adminisrtrators to perform monitoring, maintenance, and troubleshooting without the need for a keyboard and mouse.
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