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Recent posts by Marc on VoIP Insider

A while back we published this video above on setting up the Adtran Total Access 908e as an FXS gateway. To recap a little, an FXS gateway allows you to connect analog phones or stations, to a VoIP based system. It does that by providing an analog interface like an FXS port to which you connect your analog phone, and through the use of witchcraft, translates the signal from analog to digital.

To clarify a little bit more if you’re new to this technology: when we talk about analog gateways, we are generally referring to two types of interfaces, or ports; FXS and FXO.

FXS stands for foreign exchange station, but to get to the points, it’s what PROVIDES dial tone to a device …

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I’ll admit it. The term “Software Defined” or “SD” is as big a buzz phrase as “The Cloud.” I’m not a huge fan of buzz nomenclature, but sometimes it is the best way to describe a concept in a familiar way, especially when discussing technology. If I were playing devil’s advocate, I’d ask: Isn’t everything software defined? Yes, mostly it is, but when you say SD, or SDN (software defined networking), you imply a new iteration of conventional thinking. A new way of doing things, a more flexible, better way.

No longer are we bound to the holy gospel of Cisco, or dedicated internet circuits. We can do things with more intelligent, dynamic, and overall thoughtful methods. Gone will be the days of individually configuring …

5-common-voip-questions

As consumers, users, hobbyists, and VoIP professionals, you have a lot of questions, and we’d love to answer them all. But, we can’t answer them all. At least not all at once. So to get started, the marketing department sent me a list of regularly searched questions that have to do with VoIP that I can answer.

Are VoIP calls traceable?

Yes. They are very traceable if the call has to traverse the internet, or the public switched telephone network at some point in its journey. You can’t do anything on the Internet without some sort of digital trail being left behind.

Sure, you can surf with what’s no being called a “VPN”, which is just a way of securely proxying your traffic to someone

learningWhen we first learn that Elastix had suffered an untimely demise, we were a little surprised. The good folks at Palo Santo had built a well-known and loved the platform that seemed to do all its capabilities. Elastix’s popularity was widespread across the globe, which now causes a problem for those still using a platform that’s no longer commercially supported.

While you can still download, install, and use Elastix, you won’t be receiving any updates or security patches, and for businesses that rely on VoIP technology as a critical service, that’s a big problem. Thankfully, our friends at Sangoma created a script to move your Elastix configuration to a new installation of FreePBX, for those of you considering it as an alternative. This is possible …

A few weeks ago, I wrote about redundancy in the cloud, mainly using AWS (Amazon Web Services) as an example.

Today, we’ll talk about how to connect multiple regions together through a VPN so that systems can synchronize local IP address to local IP address. Some systems will allow you to send backups and perform a restore over the Internet to public IP addresses, but in the event, you are using one that doesn’t, a VPN will be required. Connecting different regions together is important because sometimes entire regions on a cloud platform can suffer from catastrophic failures as recent events will prove. Placing all of your eggs in one basket, as they say, is a bad idea. Unfortunately, when it comes to AWS, there …

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 …