Thoughts on Linksys -> Cisco Rebranding

August 14, 2007 by Garrett Smith

Cisco CEO John Chambers recently alluded to a planned rebranding of their consumer division Linksys, with Linksys products assuming the Cisco name.

Cisco is eager to transcend its roots from an industrial backbone routing and switching behemoth, to reach into the home, which is an increasingly sophisticated environment with residential consumers taking advantage of the myriad digital services available for delivery over common household broadband connections, including VoIP (Voice Over IP), Wireless Applications, IP Television, IP Home Automation & Security and other rapidly evolving technologies.

Back in 2005, Cisco acquired KiSS Technology, and more recently, Scientific Atlanta.

Cisco sees the “set top box” as a strategic gateway for products and services that will create the kind of growth to satisfy shareholders. The combined technological assets of these three (Linksys, KiSS Technologies and Scientific Atlanta) could produce some compelling product offerings.

Anyone who has viewed Cisco’s
Human Network
branding and marketing initiative can feel the new vibe Cisco is trying to propagate as it attempts to transcend the data center and the telco closet.

Ooma public launch imminent…

August 9, 2007 by Garrett Smith

Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch reports that much hyped silicon valley VoIP startup Ooma is currently taking customer orders for their $399 “hub”, which enables free VoIP calling via their proprietary peer-to-peer mechanism.

For complete details on Ooma’s service and features, peep their website here. Their strategy seems to be to create a peer network of Ooma hubs, deployed with residential users across north america. Ooma beta users and first adopters are encouraged to maintain an analog POTS line from their traditional provider (AT&T, Verizon, etc), and go ahead and plug said analog line right into their Ooma device.

Ooma is banking on leveraging these PSTN connections to terminate user phone calls from their peer-to-peer IP network onto the PSTN. In the meantime, until their network is “seeded” with PSTN connected peer devices, they’ll have to terminate those users calls the old (new-old) fashioned way, by using a commercial VoIP termination provider.

I came across Walt Mossberg’s article on Ooma back in mid-July, and the title of his piece “Ooma Puts Out a Call to Ditch Landlines for Web-Based Service”, seems a bit ironic…. as Ooma will, in reality, rely upon those very same landlines for free call termination in order to sustain their business model and bring their CPE devices down to a realistic price for mass consumption.

However, their product packaging and mini-PR machine have taken some queues from Apple by creating a bit of mystique around the product. The $399 cost (reportedly jumping to $599 at the end of 2007) of the Ooma device will go a ways toward offsetting their termination costs until their network is fully built out with sufficient PSTN connected users that the majority of user calls can be terminated within their peer group.

That’s the gameplan at least. Finding consumers willing to pony up $399 up front in the wake of recent high profile industry flame-outs like SunRocket, may prove challenging.

TalkCrunch has a podcast interview with founders Andrew Frame and Ashton Kutcher (yes that Ashton Kutcher)

VoIP POTS Emulation on FXO with MagicJack

July 25, 2007 by Garrett Smith

MagicJack was founded by telecom veteran Dan Borislow of Tel-Save (TalkAmerica) fame. MagicJack provides VoIP service based upon a proprietary USB device which retails for $40 and includes a free year of domestic calling service. After the initial year of service, 1-year renewals are $20.

MagicJack has been shipping their device for a few months, and recently announced a promotion for SunRocket refugees, but it is unclear the number of subscribers MagicJack has.

MagicJack requires a PC, and their simple device plugs directly into a USB port. From there, you connect a traditional analog phone into the RJ11 jack on the USB device. MagicJack assigns you a DID number, and you are ready to make and receive calls. MagicJack also offers free calling features including voicemail and call waiting.

I purchased one of their devices about a week ago, and I have not gotten around to testing it, but it got me thinking. I intend to pair the MagicJack device with an Asterisk based open source PBX, running an RJ11 patch cable between their USB device and an integrated FXO (Analog POTS Line In) port on the PBX. It seems logical that you could use the MagicJack device to emulate traditional POTS service, and create a Zaptel trunk on the Asterisk PBX (Which is, in reality, a VoIP trunk).

If this works, it seems to me that it would be an inexpensive and easy way to incorporate VoIP trunks into an IP PBX for a small to midsized business customer, and could be “self-provisioned”

I’ll report back on this in a week or two with the results of my testing.

Providers fight over Sunrocket carcass

July 24, 2007 by Garrett Smith

In the wake of Sunrocket shutting down operations and orphaning thousands of customers, there has been a mad scramble amongst independent VoIP providers to gobble up Sunrocket’s customer base. Below is a summary of a few current offerings targeting ex-Sunrocket subs:

TeleBlend, a recently launched service provider, reportedly headquartered in Singapore, offering free activation and number porting for Sunrocket subs.

VoIP.com

Vonage 2 Months free service and waived activation fee for Sunrocket subs

With a reported 200,000+ customers at the moment of their untimely demise, many of these smaller providers could see a nice uptick in subscribers if they are successful in wooing jaded ex-Sunrocket users, many of whom likely signed up for Sunrocket’s multi-year prepaid VoIP phone service offering.

Snom 370 IP Phone Now Available!

Latest Snom IP Phone is Their Most Robust Offering to Date

snom 370The Snom 370 has recent reached VoIP Supply’s docks and all indications are that it will in fact live up to the all of the hype as the best Snom IP phone to date. The 370 features a large graphical, high-definition display offering an improved and extended presentation of call lists, address books and caller information. The phone is sturdy to the touch and not too bad on the eyes either, making the phone perfect for upper level executives. The SIP-based Snom 370 offers with its expanded memory capacity in addition to all necessary office functionality such as choice of trunk line, status indicator, group lines, transfer, call-pickup or conferencing (3-way conference bridge) more scope for individual functions and applications. The expanded memory capacity also enables the depiction of graphics and high resolution pictures to show the status of contacts (e.g., busy, on-line, off-line) similar to Instant Messenger. It is also possible to play music and media files.

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The Apple IP Phone

June 27, 2007 by Garrett Smith

What If Apple Made an IP Phone?

With the release of the Apple iPhone just two days away, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the next great Apple product; the Apple IP Phone. The Apple IP Phone combines the style, simplicity, and usability that Apple is known for with the next generation of business class features and functionality that tomorrow’s business person will demand. Let’s take a closer look at the Apple IP Phone.

An IP Phone + an iPhone

apple-ip-phone-front

The first thing that you might notice about the Apple IP Phone is that it integrates with the Apple iPhone; acting as a docking station for the cellular phone, which will allow for all of your mobile calls to be managed through the main IP Phone console while you are sitting at your desk. The Apple IP Phone does not have a handset, as those are old school. It features a full duplex HD speakerphone, and supports Bluetooth headsets, as the business person of tomorrow need the flexibility hands-free calling provides.

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VoIP Supply Named One Of WNY’s Fastest Growing Companies

June 15, 2007 by Garrett Smith

Company named sixth fastest growing company in Western New York by Buffalo’s Business First newspaper.

BUFFALO, NY June 15, 2007 — VoIP Supply, LLC (www.voipsupply.com) a leading provider of Voice over IP hardware, software and services, today announced their selection by Buffalo’s Business First newspaper as the sixth fastest growing company in Western New York. In 2006, the company took the number one spot, as Western New York’s fastest growing company, based on their growth in total sales and number of U.S. employees over the previous three years.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in our area,” stated Benjamin P. Sayers President and CEO of VoIP Supply, LLC. “We are proud of our hard work and this award is a testament of the consistent team effort put forth each day by the entire VoIP Supply staff.”

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Sangoma A500 BRI Card

June 11, 2007 by Garrett Smith

Sangoma A500 BRI Card For Global Open Source Telephony

Leading provider of connectivity hardware and software products including VoIP, TDM voice, WANs and Internet infrastructure, Sangoma, has released their new A500 BRI Card. The Sangoma A500 BRI card fully supports the ISDN S/T bus as either an NT or TE device using a reversed module design that avoids jumpers. The A500 supports the same digital processing and highly-compatible PCI/PCI Express interfaces as the AFT series. It provides the benefits of hardware-based echo cancellation and voice enhancement for scalability for various installations.

Sangoma A500 Additional Features

The Sangoma A500 has the following distinctive features:

  • Expandable from 2 to 24 ports of 2B+D interfaces for a total of 48 ISDN channels
  • PCI or PCI Express bus support
  • Optional carrier-grade echo cancellation
  • Support for all open source telephony projects

The Sangoma A500 will be available this July.

More from: Asterisk Garrett Smith

New Linksys One Products and Services

June 8, 2007 by Garrett Smith

New Linksys One Products Rounded Out Product Line

At their annual Connected Office Day, Linksys released a number of new products and services within their Linksys line. The two products that stood out among the rest, where the SVR200 Wireless-G Services Router, and the SVR3500 Services Router. These two services routers form the foundation of the Linksys One product line and customer premises communications solutions. These Linksys One Services Routers support connections to the Internet via DSL, cable or T1/E1. Integrated services include SPI Firewall, SIP Proxy, QoS, VLAN, SIP ALG and IEEE POE. SVRs provide auto-discovery and auto-configuration of Linksys One devices. The Services Router also offers cascaded expansion to other Linksys One Ready (or traditional Ethernet) Switches, Network Storage Systems and application servers.
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Sangoma Reports 24% Quarter Over Quarter Growth

May 29, 2007 by Garrett Smith

Sangoma Continues Rapid Growth Fueled By Industry Leading PCI Card Solutions

Leading analog and digital PCI card vendor for open source PBX based solutions, Sangoma has reported their Q3 financials and they are good – really good. The company posted all time high’s for both sales and net earnings in a quarter, showing a 24% increase in revenues over Q2 and a 69% year over year increase in net income.

According to Sangoma CEO David Mandelstam, “Sangoma’s revenue grew 24% in Q3 relative to our previous record Q2 numbers as our new products gain traction in the marketplace. It is gratifying to see that we are increasingly meeting customer needs, resulting in our long-standing growth trend where we are growing faster than the VoIP adapter and VoIP systems market itself.”

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