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Recent posts by Marc on VoIP Insider

cloud-computing-1989339_1280Make no mistake, almost everything is becoming a cloud based service. Still running Exchange? You’re living in the past, my friend. Phone systems are, of course, no different. While I’ll maintain there are huge advantages to running an on-prem system (mostly cost and low latency), there are a lot of conveniences of having your system in the cloud. Now, when I say cloud, I am referring to platforms like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services for this specific post.

Let’s talk a little about the conveniences of a cloud hosted phone system. First, it makes deploying remote phones a much easier process, mostly because every phone is now remote. It also allows anyone traveling abroad to bring their phone with them, and with Internet …

If you spend a great deal of time deploying VoIP systems or building IP networks for various customers, you quickly learn to appreciate things that just seem to work. What I mean by that is, there’s no crossing your fingers, or sacrificing a virgin to have a piece of equipment work the way it’s actually supposed to.

If you’ve been reading some of my posts or have seen the videos that I have been in, then all of you know that I am a bit of an ADTRAN fanboy. I like ADTRAN the same way that I like my 22-year-old Swiss Army KnifeⓇ. It’s reliable, well-made, fits in your pocket, and will always get the job done. With that, let me re-introduce you to

mobile-phone-1875813_1920VoIP security is a hot topic, and rightfully so. A compromised system can cost you $$$ in phone bills, so how do you prevent a breach? Well, the answer isn’t as complicated as you’d expect. There are a lot of opinions floating around on the subject, so let me address some truths and falsehoods that may be of importance when securing your VoIP system.

 

Fiction: You NEED a session border controller (SBC)

If you are a small business or are installing a VoIP system in your home, there is no need for an SBC. An SBC is a great device (or virtual appliance) because it masquerades your internal VoIP infrastructure. In basic terms, a SIP trunk from a provider terminates to the SBC, which …

If you were expecting to read about ShoreTel, Cisco, or Avaya, you’d be wrong. While these are “VoIP” systems, I’d like to draw some attention to the new world order of IP telephony. It’s no secret that the big names in VoIP (mentioned above) are suffering, and it’s all thanks for a little piece of software called Asterisk. Not to discount the contributions of Freeswitch, but Asterisk is, go here for a little background.

Many have harnessed Asterisk to create some pretty great turn key solutions. Below are my top 3 recommended Asterisk systems from years of deployments and obsessive tinkering. Behold, my shortlist.

Grandstream UCM 6200:

grandstream-logoPreviously the 6100 series; this appliance based IP PBX is a light weight, small (desktop/shelf mount, …

Another one bites the dust.

It wasn’t that long ago that we discovered Elastix had gone the way of the dodo and left us scratching our heads. Now, Avaya files for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. What is this world coming to?

Digium Switchvox LogoIf you’ve ever had a job in a sizeable building (especially as I.T.), you’ve probably seen some sort of Avaya equipment hanging around somewhere. They (Avaya) quickly became a household name, of sorts, in the early 2000’s and was the product of both Lucent Technologies, and AT&T. In the early years, Avaya was known for being innovative, and a front runner in the unified communications market space. As the years rolled on, the open standard SIP protocol became more prominent and began taking possession …

If you haven’t heard, Elastix, which was once considered a permanent and trusted fixture in open source VoIP, is no longer a thing.

At least, not in the way it traditionally existed. It is now a product of 3CX, which is a good serviceable platform, but it is not the Elastix we all knew and loved. It now joins Trixbox, as the dearly departed.

 

What’s going on with Elastix?

Elastix Asterisk-based open source PBX platformElastix was one of the first platforms I tinkered with when I first discovered the strangely interesting world of VoIP, and I really liked what it offered. It has a built-in mail server, instant messaging, calendar, CRM, fax server, and of course an Asterisk phone system. It was built on top of FreePBX, which …

One of the best things about modern VoIP systems is how flexible they are when it comes to how you deploy them. You can use them on an appliance, virtualized, or on a cloud-based service like Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure. Each configuration has a slightly different technique to making everything work, and one of the first challenges is registering extensions. For this post, we’ll focus on the general concepts of setting up extensions for a cloud based (hosted) solution with FreePBX.

sangoma-freepbxIf you’ve never heard of FreePBX, and you’re in the market for a new VoIP system, you should start doing a little research ( and also call VoIP Supply). To be brief, it’s a turn-key PBX solution that uses …

grandstreamucmNote: This is part III of the three-part blog series. See part I & part II.

If you like what you’ve read so far, you are going to want to know which Grandstream UCM is right for you. You typically select the correct appliance based on  your concurrent call and analog requirement. The UCM 6260

You typically select the correct appliance based on  your concurrent call and analog requirement. The UCM 6260 will support up to 30 concurrent calls, and has 2 FXO analog ports. The 6204 supports 45 concurrent calls, and includes 2 FXO ports, and finally, the 6208 can handle 100 concurrent calls with 8 FXO ports. All models will include 2 FXS ports in addition to a T1 interface …

Note: This is part II of a three-part blog series. See Part I here.

In the previous blog, you’ve learned why PoE, FXO and FXS matter to Grandstream UCM. Now let’s talk a little bit on Asterisk.

To be brief, Asterisk is a free open source telephony platform. What that means is that it can be used either by itself for no cost (install it on your own server, and you must manually edit config files), or can be built upon like a foundation by companies like Grandstream. Grandstream has added to Asterisk’s code and provided a graphical interface on the UCM series that makes deploying and managing a system a task that most people can accomplish easily. Granstream is not alone in using Asterisk …

I am what you might call a “phone geek”.grandstreamucm

I’ve developed, supported, and tinkered with just about every popular SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) based VoIP platform out there, and I’ve been in search of a system that every day IT Pro’s, business owners, and even homeowners can install and manage without any real training. I think the best systems are intuitive and un-restrictive. They should be feature-rich, and most of all, competitive in their price point.

I ran across the Grandstream UCM back in 2013, before I had an affiliation with VoIP Supply. I bought a UCM 6102 just because I thought it was interesting, and I was just starting to sink my teeth into the VoIP field. It was a small (similar in …