Alan Percy : The SIP Invite
Alan Percy
| Observations by Alan D. Percy on VoIP enabling technology, industry and our personal reach for success.


VON Week

October 29, 2007

Today marks the first day of VON here in Boston.  As always, I'm looking forward to spending the week listening, learning and sharing about our industry. 

As I spend most of my time working with companies that build enterprise applications, an area I'm planning on paying particular attention to is SIP Trunking

AudioCodes Global Partner Conference

January 15, 2008

This last week was very successful and action packed week for a number of our partners, AudioCodes staff and myself at the AudioCodes Global Channel Partner Meeting.   The event brought together 220 of the leading AudioCodes global channels, leading ISV partners and key AudioCodes executives for two days of introductions, information sharing and a little socializing beautiful and historical Jerusalem.

Shabtai Adlersberg, AudioCodes CEO during his opening keynote

On the road to VON.x and Digium|Asterisk World

March 14, 2008

This next week is going to be a busy one with the re-monikered "VON.x" (what was wrong with VON?), and Digium|Asterisk World all at the same time and under the same roof.  I've been invited to speak at five different sessions in both events, so you may see me running from one end of the building to the other during the week.

Where you can catch up with me during the show:

Tuesday, March 18th
1:30 pm: Digium|Asterisk World Theater – Building Reliable SIP Solutions using Digium|Asterisk (Part I)
2:30pm -3:00 pm: VONDEX Theater – Taking SIP from the Lab to the Bank
4:15 pm: Digium|Asterisk World Room A7 – The Strategic Purpose of Open Source (panel)

VON - End of an era

May 8, 2008


I've been holding my tongue on this topic for since word first got out that PulverMedia had been shut down by it's investors.  I figured that like most rumors, they were only partially true.  In this case, it seems they were true.  The resumes are rolling into our marketing department - confirming what was reported.

Somehow the end of VON has hit me in a way I didn't expect. 

SIP at Astricon

September 24, 2008

I'm here at Astricon in sunny Glendale, AZ with the diverse Asterisk community talking about using SIP to improve the reliability and scalability of Asterisk.  

We had a full room this morning during our session sponsored by both ScanSource and AudioCodes, discussing different architecture tricks to improve reliability of Asterisk solutions and spread out the risk with the goal of avoiding a "career affecting" event.

A quick summary of our recommendations:
  1. Use redundant and commercial grade servers to avoid simple power supply and fan failures from taking out the whole system.  
  2. Use a distributed SIP architecture to separate the Asterisk server, media gateway and phone devices.
  3. Implement a load-balancing scheme to spread the traffic over both Asterisk servers and dual media gateways.
  4. Use Dundi to keep the dual Asterisk servers synchronized and allow them to cover for each other.
  5. ...and many other helpful tips....
We had a number of interesting questions about how Asterisk handles routing the RTP streams around the application server, enabling mid-call fail-over in the case of an Asterisk crash.

For more details and/or a copy of the presentation, visit the AudioCodes micro-site on the ScanSource web site at:

Small Operators - Are you being left behind?

November 19, 2008

As part of our continuing series on applications based on SIP, I've pulled together Mike Wilkinson of Broadsoft and Scott Firth of IBM to discuss the challenges and solutions that small communications operators can leverage SIP and VoIP to expand their business.   The objective of the event is to educate the smaller and rural telecos, internet service providers, cable companies on the opportunities and solutions available to add voice to their existing IP networks.

The story behind the story starts on my front lawn with the owner of a local fixed wireless ISP we have here in western NY.  His network uses fixed wireless repeaters around northern Allegany County, NY to service hundreds of homes, farms and businesses with broadband that the local ILEC won't service with DSL or other wired broadband technologies.  He was describing his challenges with building out the network and desire to add services to increase revenue.   The rest of the story will be covered in today's event.

Small Operator - Are you being left behind?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 2:00pm ET / 11:00am PT

Small and mid-tier operators of cable systems, rural telcos, internet service providers, and regional wireless providers are constantly challenged with ways to improve customer retention and increase revenue.

VoIP and other bundled offerings are widely recognized as a means to achieve these goals. Market analyst AMI Partners Inc. agrees, noting in a forecast that SMB hosted VoIP spending will surpass $1.56 billion by 2010. However, the cost, technical complexity and financial risks involved with building a VoIP solution from scratch have been outside the means of many operators and as a result, kept them on the sidelines.

IP Communications - An Opportunity in a Down Economy?

December 16, 2008

Thanks everyone that participated in yesterday's webinar.  It was interesting to see the diverse range of participants and responses from the session.

If you missed it, here is some background on the topic:

This most recent economic downturn has far reaching impact on a wide range businesses and industries. In this climate, corporate executives are examining every capital expenditure to ensure there is a quick return on investment and that the expenditures are in line with the strategic goals of the business. This has put many large communications infrastructure capital improvement projects on hold while alternatives are examined more closely. However, even in a down economy there are some very clear opportunities for businesses to reduce current operating costs without large capital expenditures.

IP Communications and Opportunities - Question and Answers

December 18, 2008

Some great questions were raised during the most recent webinar titled "IP Communications - an opportunity in a down economy" and I thought sharing the entire list would be valuable.  So here it goes:

Q: What needs to be done to the typical PBX to use SIP Trunking?
A: Most PBXs, Key Systems and other TDM equipment connect to the public network using either analog or T1 trunks here in North America.  In EMEA and other areas, you'll also see E1 and ISDN BRI trunking.  For SIP trunks to connect these legacy systems, a SIP media gateway with matching TDM interfaces is required.

Q: What kind of interoperability issues are there between SIP trunks and IP-PBXs?
A: Right now there are plenty of interoperability issues and while there is some progress on standardization, is seems that it will be a while before you can just "plug and play".  The issue is the looseness of the SIP standard and investment many vendors have already made in their networks.  The end result is that today some either software or hardware device must do the IP-to-IP mediation between the two different formats, converting both signaling and media as required.  I put together a paper on the topic last year that you may find helpful.

Q: Do you see more opportunities in the residential or in the business segment during this recession?
A: It seems that today business are the most eager to cut operating costs.  Residential customers seem to be frozen in their tracks or just cutting the cord to their land-lines.

Q: What new products does AudioCodes have for hosted PBX providers today?
A: We have CPE gateways for the customer premise, large media gateways that connect the hosted application to the PSTN, session border controllers that secure the connection between the service provider and CPE, and media servers required for conferencing, announcements and other applications.  Check out our new web site at and use the application navigation page for more ideas.

Q: Does SIP Trunking replace the existing T1 completely?
A: In many application - Yes.  The legacy TDM Voice T1 is completely removed.

Q: What changes are needed in the TDM PBX to use SIP Trunking?
A: In many cases - none.  The media gateway would be configured to emulate the legacy TDM T1/E1/BRI/Analog trunk allowing the PBX to continue to operate as-is.  In a rare few cases, a few parameter settings within the PBX would need to be changed.  However, there is no need to add any cards or spend any more money on the PBX.

Q: I keep hearing that SIP carrier trunks are not available in all markets? Can you please comment on that .?
A: Some of the SIP Trunking service providers do have a regional focus.  This allows them to better address and service their selected regions.  Others are more global.  When you call a SIP Trunking service provider, make sure you have your service locations in hand and they can tell you if they can service those sites.

Q: On slide 16, what is "OSN"?
A: Open Solutions Network - this is the embedded application server that is part of our partner network program, allowing them to run their applications within the gateway.  You can think of this as an Intel server sand-box within the gateway.  This eliminates a separate server and allows for one-box appliances.

Q: How is VoIP security such as Session Border Controller functions addressed by AudioCodes?
A: How a Session Border Controller (SBC) works is a very complex topic and a paper on our web site explains it in detail, but in a nut-shell it uses a Back-to-Back User Agent to terminate the SIP sessions, allowing the examination of the request and comparing it against a number of security rules.  Once validated, the request is re-issued on the other side and sent along the way.  A similar process may also occur with the media streams.

Q: Can the Mediant 2000 support your SBC module?
A: The Mediant 1000 has an SBC module, but today the Mediant 2000 does not have an SBC module.  An external SBC like our nCite 1000 may fit the application/

Feel free to use the Comment feature to post more questions and keep the dialog going!

SIP Trunking As You Are

January 12, 2009

If you remember a few weeks back, I mentioned that we were seeing a growing opportunity in the market for SIP Trunking providers connecting their services to the very large installed base of TDM PBXs, KSUs, Contact Centers, etc.   In a number of conversations I've had with both our VARs and with end-customers, a pattern has clearly evolved in the market that is a perfect fit between SIP technology and business needs.

The Business Problem

With the stress on businesses today, finding ways to save on communications costs is a major concern. Replacing aging PBX equipment would save some operating costs, but the CFO is adverse to large capital expenditures, trying to conserve cash and keep their lines of credit available for unforeseen troubles ahead.   In addition to the financial challenges, a change-out in PBX is a very complex and disruptive process, needing time to find the right application and do proper evaluations.   Is there is a solution that can save operating costs today and meets the long-range needs for the organization in mind?

The Technical Problem

The TDM PBX is still in perfectly fine working order, but is clearly a dinosaur with limited SIP capabilities without being replaced.  Because it is older and TDM, it cannot directly connect to the new SIP Trunking services without major upgrades.  

The Solution: SIP Trunking As You Are

In a nut-shell, this strategy takes customers that are using expensive dedicated voice T1/E1 or analog trunking from the local telco and replaces them with a SIP connection to a SIP Trunking service provider as shown below:

TDM Trunking

SIP Trunking

  Today we participated in a joint announcement with Broadvox, one of the leading and most aggressive Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSPs) that offers a very comprehensive SIP Trunking offering.  In our discussions with David Byrd, VP of Sales and Marketing for Broadvox noted: "During this challenging economic period, businesses are looking for ways to save on communications costs with as little capital expenditure as possible. "With Broadvox SIP Trunking and the AudioCodes Mediant 1000, businesses can start saving today without having to replace their PBX dramatically improving their ROI."

We are holding a special web-based seminar to discuss this on Wednesday, January 14th at 2 PM ET.  To register for the event, visit:

SIP at ITExpo Miami Next Week

January 29, 2009

 The week of February 2nd takes me to ITExpo in Miami Beach.  A much needed break after the big snowstorm that hit the Northeast and a chance to meet face-to-face with others in the industry.

After spending a couple years of experiencing the social networking evolution, connecting with with Linked-In, Facebook and other social networking resources I've started to re-think my understanding of industry conferences.  One might think that with all the virtual and on-line tools we have (teleconferencing, Webex, Facebook, etc.), industry conferences might fade into obsolescence.  However, I would argue the opposite might be the case.  Certainly the tools have helped me keep connected with my industry contacts (and in many cases, get even closer than before) but there is no replacement for a face-to-face visit, a handshake, or a drink together.  In fact, I feel the need is even stronger to get some much needed face-time with these people.  Why?  Because with social networking tools, access to each other is easier and everybody is competing for my time and others.   In the face-to-face world, I can cut through all noise and get quality time and converse with those that I really need.

So, what do I have planned for this next week?   I've put together three great sessions that I hope my readers will take the opportunity to participate in while at ITExpo:

"SIP Interoperability: The Ultimate Myth?"
MON 2/2 -- 12:00-12:45pm
TRACK: DEV-01 -Developer
ROOM #: B212
This is a discussion on the real-world of SIP interoperability.  I spent quite a bit of time with the director of our interoperability lab, discussing the challenges that he sees when trying to complete interoperability between two SIP-based devices.  I've brought alone some thoughts and ideas on how resellers, OEMs, integrators and others can solve tough interoperability issues in their solutions.  No product pitches here, just solid advise from real industry insiders.

"HD - What's the noise and are we ready?"
TUE 2/3 -- 12:00-1:00pm
TRACK: L-01 -Special Luncheon Panel
ROOM #: B216
Back a few months ago, we launched our HD VoIP strategy and with that found that few people understand what HD really is and the impact it will make on our industry.  Working with Rich and the staff at TMC, we're taking this conversation to a much wider scope and bringing together a number of experts on HD to discuss how we can make our joint dream become reality.
"New SIP Trunking Announcements"
MON 2/2 -- 2:00-2:45pm
TRACK: RES-03 -Reseller Day
ROOM #: B116/B117
In response to the economic melt-down, we sat down and came up with a short list of opportunities for our industry could leverage to not only get through the down-turn, but better position themselves for the recovery.  One of these opportunities is SIP Trunking for existing SMBs that have existing TDM equipment and need to save operational costs without large capital expenditures.  I'll introduce our "SIP Trunking As You Are" strategy and provide the tools attendees will need to leverage this opportunity.

And, as always, I'll be racing from one meeting to another during the event.  If you'd like to get on my calendar, please drop me a note or stop by our booth #616 during the event.

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