Polycom IP670 First Impressions

June 20, 2008 by Garrett Smith

One of the more exciting (that is if you are a hardware nut) product releases in the last few weeks has been from Polycom with their IP 670 IP phone.

The Polycom IP 670 is what I call a true “next-Gen” IP phone.

Why?

The Polycom IP 670 comes jam-packed with C level goodness; Polycom’s HD Voice, a full color 320 x 160 pixel screen, USB port for applications and full GigE support. The phone also comes ready for use with the Polycom Productivity Suite and a XHTML microbrowsing for viewing those productivity suite applications.

Now, I know what your saying, that is all well and good Garrett, but the phone costs over $400! Yes, the Polycom IP 670 is a tad pricey, but hey when it comes to pleasing your CEO, money shouldn’t be an object. On a more serious note, the IP 670 is one of those pieces of equipment that is worth a $400 investment.

Unlike many lower end phones that will need to be replaced once your network gets upgrade to GigE or your company begins to see the true value in application pushed to your handset, the Polycom IP 670 has everything you need for high-end communications today and into the future. You can buy a $200 phone today and a $400 phone tomorrow or just one $400 phone today. I am sure your CFO would appreciate the latter.

For more specifics on the IP 670, check out the the IP670 product page.

New Linksys WIP310 Wireless IP Phone: VoIPSupply Exclusive

Linksys has a new, improved WiFi SIP Phone set to arrive shortly, and you’ll find it at VoIPSupply first!

Linksys WIP310

The WIP310 supports 802.11b/g and SIP, and offers a hi-res color LCD display. The WIP310 is service provider friendly and supports mass provisioning. Linksys promises a user-friendly configuration interface and easy network setup using WiFi Protected Setup (WPS).

From the Linksys website:
WPS is a fast, secure way of connecting the WIP310 Wireless-G IP Phone with any standards based Wireless-G broadband router. Just press the WPS button and your connection will automatically be configured and secured with a custom SSID using powerful WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) encryption. Within seconds you have successfully set up a secure connection.

The WIP310 utilizes the same trusted and proven Linksys provisioning capabilities presently being used to deploy other popular Linksys Voice Products on a massive scale. Customers purchasing VoIP service from the service provider and using the WIP310 can be quickly provisioned via a WiFi connection where their configuration profile is received securely right to the handset using TFTP, HTTP, or HTTPS.

The included telephone base accentuates the appealing, modern design of the handset and provides hands-free convenience when using the built-in speakerphone. The WIP310 supports many features such as caller ID, call forwarding, call transfer, 3-way conferencing and can store 200 records in its phonebook.

Nice to see that Linksys has incorporated a base / charging station. WiFi SIP phones in general have traditionally suffered from anemic battery life. These have not quite landed in our distribution center as I write this, but let’s hope this 2nd generation Linksys WiFi phone offers 2nd generation battery performance and improved overall usability.

Flightless, Aquatic Mammals in VoIP: Tux the Penguin

Some readers have suggested we mix it up a bit. This is the first of a series of alternative interviews we’ll be conducting in the coming months.

How long have you been in VoIP world?

I have been active in the Linux community since around May of 1996. I was actually created by Larry Ewing using the Gnu Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). My association with VoIP began around 1999 with the creation of Asterisk Open Source PBX by Mark Spencer. Mark and I hung out a lot back in the day at Auburn University, we played on the same flag football team with the FreeBSD Demon ….we used to date the same girl.

What is it like working as an aquatic, flightless bird in the VoIP world?

It’s been quite a ride. I’ve met a lot of cool people. I spend most of my time these days in the southern hemisphere, which can feel a bit isolated from time to time, but it’s cool….literally quite cold.

What are some of your networking/marketing methods?

Two words….open source. I really don’t even have to work that hard these days. Let’s just say I’m good at delegating the real work. Trade shows, of course, are a great place to meet people and get the word out. Tough to find fresh squid at the shows though, which is why I stick close to home.

How is it working with humans in VoIP?

Humans are okay in my book. I am pretty comfortable around people and other land mammals in general. There are no land predators where I come from.

What do you see for the future of penguins in VoIP?

I think that is long as Linux continues to grow in popularity, there will always be a place for penguins in the industry.

Russia Gets It

Found some news today about Axis Communications, regarding the announcement of the company opening a new sales office in Moscow, Russia.  Moscow has had a great interest in IP Cameras, installing them in the Moscow Metro system, promoting safety for riders.  The Metro now contains over 3,000 Axis network video products with a further potential for installations.  According to the Axis website:

Axis network cameras and Axis video servers are now installed at three of the Moscow metro’s 12 lines. The network video products are part of an integrated security system aimed at improving safety and security for passengers and staff on the subway trains. Allowing remote access to video on the moving trains, the products enable visual verification of alarms and quick responses by security personnel to any event. Moscow metro’s video surveillance installation has been conducted by Axis’ partner and systems integrator, Metrokom.

Axis, based in Sweeden, has offices in 18 countries, and works with clients in over 70 countries.

Women in VoIP: All in the Family

Our next woman in VoIP came to know the industry through a family connection…her husband! Liz and Ari Rabban are a power VoIP couple, deeply involved in the industry since 1997.  Liz manages the marketing of Phone.com, handling all the promotion of their virtual office systems as well as VoIP for business and home.

 

How long have you been in VoIP world?

 

Officially for about a year, unofficially for the last 10 years…I am married to a VOIP pioneer who works around the clock from anywhere in the world, much of this time at home, so I have absorbed a tremendous amount of information about VOIP by osmosis, and he has brought me into certain projects over the years as a consultant.

 

What is it like working as a woman in the VoIP world?

 

It is interesting, because there are really so few in executive or technical positions that I have met to date.  I do not believe there is a traditional glass ceiling, but there just aren’t a lot of women in these roles yet, especially in the start-up ventures that presume working 24/7 is the only way to succeed (and they may be right) which can be more challenging for women, especially those with children. 

 

What are some of your networking/marketing methods?

 

Hmm, should I divulge my secrets?  I will say that in my current position we do not have unlimited budgets, so we are innovative in our approach to different target audiences, for example looking to local or regional professional associations for good opportunities to do outreach.

 

How is it working with men in VoIP?

 

Tell my husband it is FANTASTIC.  Tell the rest of the world that it is actually interesting to see the different perspectives that the men have.  They are certainly not monolithic, but as a rule are very methodical and will go through a much longer process than I would to get to a viable product or even to a marketing decision.  It can be both amusing and frustrating when I feel a beta or a product is good enough for at least a soft launch but the product guys will not release it.

     

What do you see for the future of women in VoIP?

 

I would love to see more female engineers, computer programmers, and designers as well as management.  They just bring something inherently different to the table.

Sangoma Set to Up the Ante with mtpBoost and Octasic Vocallo DSP

The Asterisk PCI Hardware War rages on with several vendors in the fray including Digium, Sangoma, Pika Technologies, Rhino and a host of Asia based OEM clones.

Canadian DSP manufacturer Octasic could be accused of Asterisk War Profiteering, having signed exclusive VoIP deals with many of these vendor combatants to provide DSP chip components for EC (Echo Cancellation) and VQE (Voice Quality Enhancement).

Octasic Vocallo Sangoma Asterisk SS7

Octasic recently announced shipment of their new Vocallo multi-core DSP chip, with Sangoma signing on as their first announced customer in the Asterisk space.

“Octasic has always delivered superior quality products, with unmatched performance and power. Vocallo will allow us to expand our business into new markets,” saidDavid Mandelstam ( News – Alert), president and CEO of Sangoma Technologies, in a statement.

Having read the white paper that Octasic has put out for the Vocallo product, Vocallo promises a number of advantages over current DSP technologies that could help take Asterisk to the next level. Amongst these:

Increased Scalability
Reduced Costs
More Features and Capabilities
Decreased Time to Market

Octasic’s Vocallo product also promises improved RTCP support, quality enhancements for conferencing, GSM and Wireless support, a wide range or ITU/Codec support, further improved Echo Cancellation and VQE, low latency, Wideband Audio Support (G.722 and AMR-WB) and Video Support including H.263, H.264 and MPEG-4. Phew, that’s a lot….and Asterisk as well as other OSS communication platforms could certainly benefit from improvement in all of those areas.

Sangoma’s mtpBoost, an MTP2 application programmer interface and SS7 building block is now available as a software add-on, alternative to Sangoma’s full SS7 Media Gateway Solution. Digium has been working on their own SS7 integration, libss7. There is also an open source SS7 channel driver.

It will be very interesting to see how the development community takes advantage of these new capabilities.

More from: Asterisk Garrett Smith

How VoIP Can Combat Global Climate Change

June 18, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Two words, Gas prices. I won’t comment on those two words, in the interest of keeping this brief. Around here we’re paying roughly $4.25/gallon for the cheap stuff. I also won’t get into the Global Warming debate. A little CO2 never hurt anybody, but hopefully we can all agree that 411,000,000 Metric Tons of CO2 probably will hurt somebody.

My daily commute to the office, round trip, equates to 65.2 miles. I also have a vehicle that offers respectable gas mileage, around 35 MPG on average. Based upon my round trip commute, and assuming 260 working days in a year, that equals an annual commute of 16,952 miles in aggregate. Even with a vehicle that is well above the national average in terms of fuel economy…according to http://thehousingforum.com/ I’m still pumping out 4.25 Metric Tons of CO2 for the year….which sounds like a lot to me.

CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) guidelines call for an average MPG of 27.5 and US census data shows an average commute for a US worker is around 33 miles. I still see a lot of tanks on the road, and that 27.5 MPG is a generous estimate, but let’s go with it. Again, assuming you don’t take a vacation and you work 260 days per year, the average US worker contributes 2.74 Metric Tons of CO2 each year.

This story has already pushed the envelope of my mathematics skills, and I was having a difficult time extrapolating the latest US Census Data in order to determine the number of full-time employed workers in the US. A ballpark average seems to be around 150,000,000.

Acknowledging some potentially flawed math, that would place the annualized CO2 output for full-time US workers at 411,000,000 Metric Tons of CO2. I’m having a hard time visualizing that, but it’s impressive, and not in a good way.

Back to my original topic. There has been a lot of talk recently about increased interest in telecommuting due to upward spiraling fuel costs. The need for seamless telecommuting capabilities is one of the strongest arguments for adopting VoIP in the workplace. Greg Galitzine at TMC penned one of many articles I have seen recently estolling the environmental virtues of VoIP and telecommuting. I can tuck the IP phone from my office under my arm, take it home and plug it into my network and function pretty much the same way I do when I am in the office….actually I probably get more work done at home.

I don’t think we are going to see a 4 day workweek anytime soon, but 1 day per week of telecommuting is a step in the right direction. If US workers were to telecommute only 1 day per week, based on my crappy math, that’s an extra 82,200,000 Metric Tons of CO2 we save. Again…tough to visualize if you don’t know what CO2 looks like….but the average car weights around 1 Metric Ton. I’ll be working out of my home office tomorrow if you need me.

Polycom and Jabra Working Together to Bring You “Electronic Hookswitch” Capabilities

With the introduction of Polycom’s 3.0.0 SIP firmware, users using cordless DECT or Bluetooth headsets now have the ability to answer and end calls from their Polycom phones with an easy press of a button on the headset itself. No need for a Handset Lifter or corded solution! This is a very nice and useful feature since in the past…and I know…. handset lifters tend to take the handset completely off the Polycom phone, thus requiring a special part from both GN Netcom Jabra and Plantronics. Forget about all of that and make the shift …utilize the Electronic Hookswitch feature at its best.

There are a couple things you should know first before you go and experiment with your Polycom phones. The Electronic Hookswitch feature or EHS works through the Polycom IP Phones serial port connection located on the back-side of each of these models: IP-320/330, 430, 550, 560, and 650 and pictured below:

Electronic Hookswitch

The connection then feeds into the AUX port of these two (compatible) headsets from GN Netcom Jabra (GN9350 and GN9120 with EHS adapter). Please refer to picture below:

Hookswitch control

There are a couple changes that need to be made to Polycom phone configuration as well. This is described in Polycom’s Technical Bulletin 35150, but in short, you must perform the following:

Edit the up.analogHeadsetOption to “1”in the sip.cfg file. This value is set to “0” by default and when set to “1” allows DHSG-compatible headsets to be attached to the Polycom phone.

From the Phone UI, access the Menu, Settings, Basic, Preferences, Headset, and Analog Headset and then select Jabra Mode

Ensure that the physical connection as noted in the above illustration is correct!!

I would also like to inform you a few other special requirements that may be needed under certain applications and variations of the Polycom and GN Netcom Jabra products.

When using a Polycom IP-320/330, you will need a GN Netcom Jabra 2.5mm to RJ-9 adapter cord since the Polycom IP-320/330 have a 2.5mm headset jack.

When using the GN9350 headset, the unit does NOT ship with the EHS connection cable described in the above illustration (From Polycom Phone serial port to AUX port on GN9350/9120).This is a required accessory product of the GN9350/9120.

You must be running Polycom 3.0.0 SIP Firmware or higher and bootrom 4.1.0.

IPCS Word(s) of the Day: Network Video Recorder (NVR)

Network Video Recorder (NVR) = Functionally similar to a DVR, a NVR also accepts IP camera inputs. NVRs can be software-based, making them suitable only for accepting IP camera streams over the Internet. An NVR typically consists of a PC or Server, with on-board CPU, RAM, Operating System (Typically Windows) and local Hard Drive storage on which video streams from surveillance cameras are archived. Some examples of NVR software packages include Milestone Systems, Axis Camera Station and Luxriot.