Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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ITEXPO

Grandstream UCM6100 Asterisk PBX Makes Major Strides

August 27, 2013


Last month I was pretty harsh in my analysis of the Grandstream UCM6100 and on top of the open source issues and burning their partners, it also had some security issues. Well, Ward Mundy has a new report on the UCM6100 and he is impressed with the response Grandstream has had to the community's concerns.

He writes, "The short version of this story is Grandstream has addressed most of the open source issues and they’ve resolved well over a hundred bugs. In addition, they’ve published excellent documentation on the PBX in addition to a tutorial on how to interconnect the UCM6100 with other devices including FreePBX®-based Asterisk servers such as PBX in a Flash. So we are pleasantly surprised by Grandstream’s efforts to address many of the concerns that were raised by some of us in the open source community."

He also posted this interesting tidbit:
The silver lining may very well be the functionality boost you’ll get from the addition of a $100 OBi202 device with a Bluetooth adapter.





FreePBX - Most Powerful & Flexible Phone System Known to Man

August 25, 2013

I've been writing about VoIP and reviewing VoIP products since 1996, but even I need help once in awhile to figure out how to get a certain VoIP feature to work, how to install an IP-PBX, how to configure an advanced phone feature, etc. Well, recently I had to deploy a FreePBX system in a production environment for another company and I hit a few stumbling blocks that required a call to FreePBX's technical support and I have to say they were very responsive, extremely knowledgeable and very helpful.

One of my first stumbling blocks was getting second dialtone on a specific FXO port simply by pressing one of the line keys on a Grandstream GXP2100 phone. The reason is there is a DoorKing security gate system hooked into one of the Sangoma FXO ports that listens for certain DTMF touchtones to open and close the gate.

First, I had to create three groups in chan_dahdi_groups.conf, which is done in the FreePBX UI via this URL:
http://[ipaddress]/admin/config.php?display=dahdi
group=0 -> FXO trunks - channels 5, 6, and 7 (normal inbound/outbound lines)
group=1 -> FXO trunk  - channel  8 (special DoorKing port)
group=2 -> FXS lines  - channels 1, 2, 3, and 4 (analog devices)

I separated the DoorKing into its own trunk line group so it wouldn't be used for outbound calling. I also had to change the context to "from-analog" for the FXO ports for routing via channel number to work.









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!





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?



Telefonica Looking for Channel Partners to Crack U.S. Market

January 31, 2013

I met with Telefónica along with some other media analysts at ITEXPO just a few moments ago. At ITEXPO Telefónica is announcing they are launching a channel partner program. Telefónica has a very strong presence in South America and Europe, but now they want to come to the U.S. market.

Add-on Makes Microsoft Lync Feature-Complete to Compete with PBXs

January 31, 2013


Yesterday, at ITEXPO I met with some representatives from Bressner, a German-based company with some interesting add-ons for Microsoft Lync. Now targeting the U.S. (English website) their Lync add-ons add some powerful features to Microsoft Lync that help make Lync have feature-parity with PBXs, allowing enterprises to use Lync as a PBX replacement with no compromise.

Bressner's Dr. Klaus Zünkler, Principal Solutions Architect and Mitch Friend discussed three of their Lync products. The first was FonComfort, which is designed to fill the feature-gap in Microsoft Lync. One of those feature-gap fillers is "true busy" so the caller doesn't have to pay for the call if you're already on another call. I asked Klaus and Mitch why this was a popular feature since typically a call would drop to voicemail if you were on a call or unavailable and they said this "true busy" feature was more popular in Europe due to a cultural thing.


Surf Communications Solutions Aims to Slay the Video Giant

January 30, 2013

Video conferencing has held promise for many years - dating back to the 1964 AT&T Picturephone, but now has the time finally arrived for video conferencing to take off? The simple answer is "yes", but it's way more complicated than that. Yes, standards like SIP and H.264 have made video interoperability between endpoints less of an issue, but there are other issues to consider. For instance, Polycom, Cisco, Avaya, and LifeSize have very expensive MCUs for their in-room conferencing systems.

Asterisk 1-2-3 Workshop Well-Attended at ITEXPO

January 29, 2013

Former Apple & Pepsi CEO John Sculley to Keynote at ITEXPO's StartupCamp7

January 15, 2013

John Sculley has lead an interesting business life, including being a former CEO of Apple and Pepsi. Here he is standing next to legendary Steve Jobs in 1984 as they debut a new Macintosh computer in 1984.


John Sculley has been an innovator since his youth. By the age of 10, Sculley was dismantling radios and converting them into intercoms.


ITEXPO Miami - Important Conference Program Updates

December 10, 2012

TMC today released an updated conference program for their ITEXPO Miami 2013, the world's largest and best-attended communications and technology conference and trade show. The event, held January 30 - February 1, 2013 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, Florida, combines an innovative series of educational programming with networking opportunities for technology buyers, sellers, resellers and manufacturers.

Since its launch in 1999, ITEXPO has been the bi-annual meeting place where next-generation communications innovations are on display, and vendors meet end users to develop new relationships and business partnerships.

The program is anchored by noteworthy keynote presentations from Telefónica and Level3 Communications, panels on the future of cloud computing, the evolution of the telecom service provider, and StartupCamp7: Comms Edition, a networking and early stage startup event.

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