Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
| VoIP & Gadgets blog - Latest news in VoIP & gadgets, wireless, mobile phones, reviews, & opinions


Verizon Hub Bites the Dust

October 2, 2009

What an inglorious end to the Verizon Hub, which Verizon Wireless promoted as the greatest VoIP phone ever. Sure it was sexy, and sure it was gadgety - doubling as a Web tablet and digital phone frame, but apparently users just weren't buying. Not even a year after Verizon Wireless launched the Hub they have killed it.

Verizon Wireless said Sept. 30 it was discontinuing sales for its Verizon Hub. The Hub retailed for $199 and required a $34.99 monthly fee. Too high a price if you ask me.

Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 XMPP Gateway Launches

October 1, 2009

Microsoft today just released the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 XMPP Gateway, which is available at no cost. That's right, it's free and is immediately downloadable. The XMPP gateway allows basic presence sharing and instant messaging (IM) with Cisco Jabber and Google Talk. OCS users can now instant message Cisco Jabber and Google Talk users.

The Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 XMPP Gateway can be downloaded here. Also, check out this video featuring Ashima Singhal (Senior Product Manager) and Albert Kooiman (Senior Product Manager) from the Communication Server team who discuss IM interoperability between different networks and show how the XMPP Gateway works.

Notice the different network icons (Yahoo!, AOL, Gmail/Google Talk)

Demo of Communicator client IM'ing a Google Talk user.

Some more good news - a PIC License will no longer be required for federation with American Online (AOL).  Customers qualify for federation with AOL if they have Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Standard CAL or active Software Assurance on their current LCS/OCS license.  Alas, customers who want Yahoo!

Cisco Buys Tandberg, but does Video Interoperability Suffer?

October 1, 2009

Cisco bought Tandberg, a video conferencing company for $3 billion. But is this good for the video conferencing industry or bad? Let's have a recap of Cisco's "openness" and adoption of standards.

First, Cisco was very late to adopt the SIP standard, finally embracing third-party SIP phones back in 2006. However, Cisco plays some serious licensing shenanigans that make it very cost prohibitive to use 3rd party SIP phones with Cisco CallManager.

TeleBlend Offers $99.99/year Unlimited VoIP Calling Plan

September 30, 2009

TeleBlend, you know the Sunrocket saviors, after the 2007 Sunrocket implosion, today announced that it will be offering one year of unlimited local and long distance calling for just $99. If you recall, Sunrocket was offering $299.99/year for unlimited calling just 2 years ago. Now that same offering is going for $99/year. Amazing how quickly prices have dropped in just two years.

The $99 Annual Plan is available for a limited time only and includes unlimited US calling, a free device, 15 free calling features including caller ID, voicemail and simultaneous ring with no cancellation fees.

"TeleBlend has always strived to provide the most affordable unlimited phone service in the industry.

Rich Takes xMax Wireless for a Test Drive

September 29, 2009

Rich Tehrani took xG Technology's xMax technology, a WiMAX / LTE competitor for a (literal) test drive.

Rich writes:

xG Technology proclaimed in 2005 that they have a revolutionary technology which allows wireless broadband using unlicensed and licensed frequencies. They said they could build the equivalent to a WiMAX network without the need to spend a massive amount on spectrum auctions and moreover, their technology had better range than WiMAX.

It seemed too good to be true and after some years of waiting, the communications industry got impatient. After all, this revolutionary technology had the potential to change the way wireless networks are deployed. If it was real, where was it?

Polycom VVX 1500 Video Phone Quick Demo

September 29, 2009

Check out the quick video recording I made of two Polycom VVX 1500 IP video phones making a test video call. I used an iPhone 3GS to capture the video of the test call between the two phones. The iPhone's video recording quality isn't too shabby, but doesn't truly give you an idea of the quality of the Polycom's VVX 1500 touchscreen. (Note: The video phone was tilted far back, so it was aimed directly at the fluorescent lighting in the ceiling.

Skype for Cisco Interoperable with Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series

September 23, 2009

FCC Proposes Applying Net Neutrality to Carriers' Wireless Networks

September 21, 2009

Today, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowsk said that wireless carriers shouldn't be allowed to block certain types of Internet traffic flowing over their networks. This has huge implications for the VoIP industry, since as I wrote last week, AT&T blocks port 5060 (SIP) on their 3G data network, thus blocking VoIP applications. If the FCC mandates that the wireless carriers can no longer block applications on their data network, this opens up the entire 3G/4G wireless network to game-changing VoIP applications!

This will no doubt cause a firestorm of protests from the wireless industry which has invested billions in their wireless infrastructure and they see VoIP as something that will cannibalize their revenue stream. According to Yahoo, "FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said wireless carriers should be subject to the same "open Internet" rules that the agency has begun to apply to home broadband providers."

Genachowski wants to take the same principles the FCC has already been applying to wired Internet trafficand extend them to wireless.

Siphon SIP App for iPhone Works over AT&T's 3G network? Holy Toledo!

September 17, 2009

I tested Siphon, a SIP-based VoIP application for the iPhone, in California at ITEXPO. Interestingly, Siphon worked perfectly in California over AT&T's 3G data network. Yes, you read that right - VoIP over 3G! I couldn't contain my giddiness when I realized I could now register my iPhone with TMC's Asterisk-based IP-PBX and make/receive calls.

ShoreTel Lands 1st 'Skype for SIP' interoperability

September 9, 2009

ShoreTel is the first company to land SIP interoperability with Skype for SIP - before Avaya, Cisco, Mitel, Nortel, or any Asterisk-based PBX. I can't help but find the irony in this news since ShoreTel did not support third-party SIP phones/endpoints until ShoreTel 8 was released in 2008. Thus, ShoreTel was pretty late to embrace the SIP standard for endpoints, which forced users to use ShoreTel's proprietary phones. Though to be fair, Cisco was pretty late to the game as well, finally embracing third-party SIP phones back in 2006.
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