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Tom Keating
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FreePBX World Live Blogging

August 28, 2013

Just stopped in the FreePBX World session located at ITEXPO and it's pretty packed. Check out the photo: {click for larger}

Tony Lewis is now talking about the FreePBX ecosystem. He started off by explaining why the FreePBX tree frog logo. Tony said, "Tree frogs can only go forwards, never backwards." Well, there ya go, mystery solved!

Tony talked about how FreePBX documentation was scattered and is now centralized into a new wiki.

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!

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!

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?

New China-based Asterisk Player Coming to Town

June 26, 2013

HK Houyuan Technology Co. Ltd, a 3-year old company based in China has a line of Asterisk IP-PBXs with the super creative name of, wait for it... wait for it -- "IP PBX". Their IP PBX series include the IP PBX-01, IP PBX-02, IP PBX-04, and IP PBX-08, where the number denotes the number of FXO/FXS ports. They run uClinux and Asterisk on a 400MHz Blackfin 532 chip.

Logitech Sets Sights on Unified Communications

June 14, 2013

Logitech said in their February corporate report that "Some of our other peripherals product categories are experiencing significant market challenges. As the quality of PC-embedded webcams improves, we expect future sales of our PC-connected webcams in mature consumer markets to continue declining. We intend to address this market decline by enhancing our webcam product line-up to enable experiences that cannot be easily achieved with an embedded webcam and by targeting webcam applications on non-PC platforms."

Indeed standalone webcams have been declining because desktops have been replaced with laptops that usually have an embedded webcam that is "good enough" for the consumers needs. So how does Logitech diversify or differentiate from embedded webcams?

One answer is unified communications (UC) which targets businesses and not consumers.

SIP Trunking - What You Don't Know Could Cost You!

April 30, 2013

SIP trunking is one of the best ways for businesses to save money on telecom costs, but it's not without its pitfalls, including: not all SIP trunking providers are created equal, latency / QoS issues, SLAs, and more. If you are the decision maker trusting your critical business phone calls it's perhaps easier to choose an expensive PRI over SIP trunks because you know it will work. It's like the old adage "No one ever got fired for buying IBM", which was later adopter by Cisco. The fear of choosing a SIP trunk, even if it saves hundreds of dollars may be too much for a decision maker to put their neck on the line if voice quality issues crop up.

TMC in conjunction with Sonus Networks is putting on one-day "Putting SIP to Work" seminars across the country.

Grandstream GXP2200 Review

April 8, 2013

The Grandstream GXP2200 Gigabit IP phone is another Android-based IP phone in a growing line of Android-based IP phones that includes the Panasonic KX-UT670, CloudTC, and the ESI 250. A couple years ago I espoused the benefits of a tablet-based desktop phone running either iOS or Android, so that this "universal" device becomes your portable tablet/computer and your desktop IP phone. We're not quite there yet, since all the Android desktop IP phones are not battery powered and require either a Power over Ethernet (PoE) or AC adapter for power. Further, as with anything, cost will play a role.

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.
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