First Look: Linksys WIP310-G1 802.11G WiFi IP Phone

December 18, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Linksys cum Cisco has been threatening to release the WIP310-G1 since Spring of 2008, and it looks as though the wait may be coming to an end.

The VoIP Insider has managed to score an early test unit, and the product should be available through Cisco distribution very shortly. Expect retail prices on the unit to be around $249.

The WIP310-G1 support WiFi 802.11b/g and the latest SIP protocols. The handset features a large, bright, full-color high resolution display and quick network connectivity via WiFi Protected Setup (WPS). WPS is a fast, secure way of connecting the WIP310 to your wireless AP. 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. Easy Peasy.

VoIP service from pretty much any SIP based provider that allows BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) can be quickly provisioned via a WiFi connection and the 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. We have tested the WIP310 with a variety of SIP IP PBX platforms, including Trixbox and Switchvox, with great results.

Folks who are accustomed to working with the popular Linksys SPA-9XXX desktop IP Phones should immediately be familiar with the web based UI of the WIP310-G1. A screenshot of the GUI is below.

Asterisk’s Popularity Continues to Grow

December 17, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you know all about Asterisk’s meteoric rise to national acclaim. The open source telephony platform, originally constructed by Mark Spencer to avoid paying an ungodly sum of money for a telephone system, just recently turned nine years old – and shows no signs of slowing down.

According to a release published this morning, Asterisk has been downloaded over 1.5 million times in 2008 – the highest one year total ever. Oh – and that number is more than 50 percent of last years number.

Perhaps what is most intriguing about this announcement is not the fact that Asterisk has been downloaded 1.5 million times in 2008 – but the fact that the number could be substantially larger in 2009. Why?

  • You might not have noticed, but the economy sucks. People love free and when you have little money – a DIY Asterisk deployment starts looking a little more realistic.
  • Asterisk truly is a more then a phone system. Thanks to it’s flexibility, folks are now embracing the platform as a way to create voicemail systems, conference bridges and gateways among other things.
  • The community continues to grow. The community is as active and involved today, as it was in 2003 when I first start working with it.
  • Digium is doing the right things. It is not easy balancing the needs of a for-profit business with that of a open source project, but to date Digium continues to work diligently to ensure that when one side wins, so to does the other.

Now open source isn’t for everyone. However it is continuing to gain acceptance with customers at all levels – and I bet you’d have a hard time naming too many others in this space who can lay claim to the fact that their software got into the hands of over 1.5 million people in 2008.

How’s that for proof that open source is a viable solution?

Aastra 57i Named Best IP Phone for Asterisk?

December 15, 2008 by Garrett Smith

No, this isn’t an official award that I picked up on from some press release. This award comes from an actual user – none other then Nerd Vittles Asterisk Jedi, Ward Mundy.

If you are not familiar with Ward and his site Nerd Vittles, then you should definitely check it out, especially if you are working with or in the open source space.

Is the Aastra 6757i really the best IP Phone for Asterisk? It is tough to say for certain (hey, I haven’t used every IP Phone with Asterisk), but having used the Aastra 57i, I can say that it is near the top of the heap when it comes to ease of configuration and use with Asterisk (or an Asterisk based VoIP phone system).

Interested in learning more? Read more about what Ward has to say about the 57i here.

See, I Told You, It’s the WAN

I know that I have spoken numerous times here about the pivotal role Wide Area Network (WAN) connectivity quality plays in the overall success of a VoIP deployment. Regardless of the size and scope of a VoIP deployment, if there isn’t adequate bandwidth, your experience is going to be less then favorable.

This morning while sifting through some industry news, Andy Abramson pointed me to a study out of the UK that points to poor call quality as a reason that more than half the respondents (54%) have yet to even touch VoIP. While this is a small data set, it is further proof that one of the major keys to a successful VoIP deployment is the quality and availability of bandwidth.

Besides doing a thorough VoIP network assessment, which would include analyzing both your WAN connection and your internal LAN, many companies (including VoIP service providers) are looking to network monitoring devices, such as Edgewater Network’s Edgemarc devices and U4EA Multi-service gateways, in order to ensure proper bandwidth availability. There is even a company, who’s product we are currently evaluating, that provides a small office/home office networking monitoring solution that retails below $100.

So, while bandwidth remains the leading cause of poor VoIP experiences, rest assured that the industry as a whole is continuing it’s efforts to educate the public on the importance of bandwidth quality/availability when deploying VoIP and that vendors are working tirelessly to provide solutions focused on erradicating the issues involved with deploying VoIP.

Until that happens, do yourself a favor – check your network (both) before you go deploying VoIP.

Win a Free WiFi Phone from VoIPSupply

December 8, 2008 by Garrett Smith

CONGRATULATIONS TO COMMENTER “NICK” ON BEING DRAWN AS THE WINNER OF OUR QUICKPHONES QA-342 GIVEAWAY. THANKS EVERYONE FOR YOUR COMMENTS. PLEASE LOOK FOR MORE CONTESTS, PROMOTIONS AND GIVEAWAYS ON THE VOIP INSIDER IN THE NEAR FUTURE!

SIP based wireless handsets that connect to the network via 802.11g WiFi have been a popular product segment for VoIPSupply over the past several years. Vendors including UTStarCom, Hitachi and Linksys have introduced WiFi VoIP products into the marketplace that have been met with a mixed reception.

Business and residental VoIP users have expressed a desire for SIP endpoints that offer basic mobility, yet many of the vendor offerings released to meet this demand have suffered from performance and usability issues.

VoIPSupply is very excited to announce that we will begin shipping a new WiFi VoIP handset from QuickPhones that has tested well in our labs and customer trials, and that we feel addresses some of the performance issues that have marred WiFi SIP phones in the past.

First and foremost the QuickPhones QA-342 offers superior battery life due to a unique power-saving feature. The QA-342 has a bright, backlit LCD display and rubbery, tactile keypad that makes dialing and navigating the interface a snap. We have tested this product with Asterisk, Trixbox, Switchvox and other SIP based IP PBXs and it plays well with any platform we have thrown at it thusfar.

Have you experimented with wireless VoIP in your home or business? Do you have an existing VoIP solution that could be enhanced by wireless SIP handsets?

Let us know how you have used, or would use, this technology to improve your personal or business IP communications. Comments are welcomed, and on Friday, December 12th we will be picking a contributor at random who will receive a Free QuickPhones QA-342 Wireless IP Phone.

Sangoma B600 Line Launched

Last week leading telephony card manufacturer Sangoma launched their newest series of cards, the B600 series.

Sangoma B600The Sangoma B600 series was designed from the ground-up for the VoIP Phone system builder and integrator who is looking for a high-quality non-modular PSTN connectivity card. The Sangoma B600 voice cards deliver customers a substantial cost savings, coupled with the “because it must work” quality and the Wanpipe high-end system diagnostics, drivers, and utilities for which Sangoma is known worldwide.

The Sangoma B600 series comes in a single 4 FXO/ 1 FXS configuration (one of the most common configuration for smaller VoIP phones systems), but there are four different versions. They include:

For those who don’t need the modularity that comes with Sangoma’s A200 and A400 series card’s the Sangoma B600 series offers a considerable cost savings, without sacrificing the quality you have come to expect from Sangoma.

More from: Asterisk Garrett Smith

Memo to Asterisk PCI Card Manufacturers: Please Build This!

December 4, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Here at VoIPSupply, one of the least fun parts of our job is managing the literally thousands of individual product SKU’s, collectively, from PCI card hardware manufacturers including Digium, Sangoma and Rhino Equipment.

Take, for example, the Digium TDM2400P Series….a full length PCI card that can be populated with FXS or FXO resource modules, up to a total of (24) ports. Also comes with optional echo cancellation. This single product series contains 60+ SKU/Manufacturer Part # variations, depending upon the specific combination of FXS and FXO ports, and whether or not the Echo cancellation module is included.

With all of these SKU’s, it gets confusing for everyone, especially the customer.

I don’t intend to single out Digium with this little rant. Sangoma and Rhino, who both compete with Digium in the Digital/Analog TDM hardware marketplace, all suffer from “Superfluous SKU Syndrome”.

I won’t pretend to know more than I do about the actual engineering science, manufacturing and embedded systems know-how involved in producing these products, but it seems to me there is a simpler approach.

Why not manufacture a single, full length analog card…which provides a full 24 ports of FXS/FXO connectivity in a single card, and includes Echo cancellation as a standard feature.

Next, add the full complement of pre-populated FXS and FXO hardware resources, such that the card can be jumpered or software configured for FXS/FXO functionality on an individual, “Port by Port” basis.

Voila….we have a single card (albeit an expensive one, considering the hardware resources it contains), that can provide any combination of FXS and FXO resources up to 24 total ports. If you want 24 FXS ports, you can quick jumper or software configure the card for that configuration. Need 7 FXO ports and 17 FXS ports, reconfigure the card on the fly.

If you want any configuration of FXS and FXO, you can set the card up in minutes for your specific application. No need to break out your Dick Tracy decoder ring and decipher the specific model number of the card you currently need, double check it, order it, and hope your reseller ships you the correct model.

You tell me….I think people would be willing to pay a premium for a flexible product like this. You create a tremendous value proposition and you drastically extend the products’ useful lifespan by allowing it to be re-configured for different deployment scenarios. You get to call yourself a “Green” company by cutting down on production materials and facilitate a slimmer, trimmer carbon footprint. BEST OF ALL….You save a product manager from going completely gray headed at 35 years of age.

More from: Asterisk Garrett Smith

It’s Black Friday at VoIP Supply too!

November 28, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Hey, we can’t let the brick and mortar folks have all of the fun today, right?

In joining with the fun and frenzy that is Black Friday, VoIP Supply has decided to run a couple of great promotions this weekend to compliment all of the holiday savings you took advantage of today. From lower prices, buy one get one deals and free shipping, we have something for almost everyone…and if not, we will have more deals coming this Monday (Cyber Monday).

 

Your Future IP Phone

November 27, 2008 by Garrett Smith

I know. I know. It’s Thanksgiving. I shouldn’t be scouring the Internet. I should be enjoying the day.

But I found something just now that I had to tell you about. It is perhaps the coolest thing I have seen in IP communications hardware in the last year or maybe even two.

It’s called OpenFrame and it is made by a company called OpenPeak. The device is so slick looking, it reminds me of the Apple IP Phone I envisioned in 2006. There is definitely a game changer here.

According to their site,  in OpenFrame OpenPeak has created a new product category: the third screen for the home. In the same way that smart phones redefined what people expect from mobile phones, the OpenFrame will redefine what people expect from a home phone.

That a pretty bold statement, but if you take a look at the device you can instantly see that this could be your future IP phone. The convergence of Internet, VoIP, contact management and even media married with an interactive touch screen, not to mention mobility provided by the wireless handsets is what everyone has been talking about.

OpenFrame has it. And a slick user interface to boot.

Now, before you get your credit card out, the OpenFrame is not out and from the looks of it, the are looking to work with OEM partners (brands) in order to bring the product to market. That means while the OpenFrame could be your future IP phone, it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Nothing wrong with dreaming though…

Back From the Dead: Linksys WIP300

November 21, 2008 by Garrett Smith

During it’s heyday, the Linksys WIP300 was one of, if not the, most popular wireless IP phones on the market. Sadly, Linksys discontinued the WIP300 and replaced it with a few newer models, like the Linksys WIP330 and the Linksys WIP310.

Well, apparently the Linksys WIP300 isn’t completely dead. While the unit has been discontinued by Linksys, while doing some re-organization of the warehouse, someone came across a case of these bad boys, that had somehow slipped through the cracks. In total, we have about 16 of these classics in-stock, ready for a new home.

At it’s pinnacle, the Linksys WIP300 was selling for around $159.99 each. Today, until they are all sold, we will be offering the last 16 brand new Linksys WIP300’s we have at a special price of $109.99.

So, if you are looking for an interesting decoration for your Thanksgiving dinner table, a stocking stuffer for your favorite technophile or simply need a solid SIP based 802.11 b/g wireless IP phone to use with your favorite VoIP service, don’t wait to pick-up one of these Linksys WIP300’s today!