Sangoma U100 Review

September 8, 2008 by Garrett Smith

As Cory Andrews unveiled a few weeks ago, Sangoma has release a new USB FXO device, the U100, which allows you to turn a USB interface on an open source appliance/server into a two port PSTN connectivity device.
Sangoma U100 Review

Today we are going to tell you about our experience with the U100 (remember still in BETA, not all of the kinks have been worked out). To begin, this product shows some real promise in the residential and SOHO market. It’s hard to find a 2 line FXO product out there (Can anyone else think of an application for this nifty little device?). Pair this up with the new MSI Wind or the Shuttle X27 guzzling down no more than 40 watts of raw power and you’ve got an ultra green PBX on the cheap. Even greener would be getting it to run on the OpenWRT router that has USB ports (like ASUS WGL500). It’s actually kind of amazing something like this hasn’t filled this niche in VoIP to date.

Now, on to the good stuff…

The hardest part of the installation was getting the drivers to compile. I started with a stock Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04 with the 2.6.24-16-server kernel. Failed. Updated to 2.6.24-19. Failed. Finally, installed the full source kernel. Failed. Through the entire process I was in contact with Sangoma developer Nenad Corbic who was extremely helpful in getting this thing to run in a very timely manner. Total props to Nenad and the team at Sangoma. A most impressive showing on how it’s done. We had gone from wanpipe drivers 3.0.5 to 3.0.7 to make this work, which is pretty good considering it’s really a beta version driver.

Once the drivers had compiled the rest was a breeze, as anyone who’s done a Sangoma install knows, they even setup the configuration files for you (ok not the dialplan, but please). Just reload Asterisk or FreeSwitch and you’re good to go.

According to the developers the U100 USB FXO does not have HWEC (hardware echo cancellation). But they do recommend using the excellent OSLEC software based echo cancellation or you can use the built in ones Asterisk uses. Just enable “echocancel=yes” in /etc/asterisk/zapata.conf. The configuration is the same as any other zaptel device in asterisk, so I won’t go into configuration files as that has been well covered in many howto’s.

Overall, this device was not bad to work with, even though it was still in BETA. As I stated above, this device nicely fills a niche in the SOHO/SMB space for PSTN connectivity. With some additional polishing up, you will undoubtedly see this device connected to many of the SOHO appliances in the future.

With that being said, can anyone have any thoughts as to how they would use this device?

More from: Asterisk Garrett Smith

How to obtain MagicJack SIP Credentials

September 5, 2008 by Garrett Smith

A VoIPInsider reader recently provided a tutorial on obtaining MagicJack SIP credentials, which should allow you to set up MagicJack as a trunk in any Asterisk based IP PBX by making the following modifications to SIP.conf. NOTE: VoIPInsider does not suggest, nor endorse activities which may violate your MagicJack TOS.

As of 5-31-08 to obtain your sip credentials you will need to dump your memory while magicjack.exe is running in order to view the decrypted password.
All other information can be had with any packet capture program.

Replace EXXXXXXXXXX01 with your MJ number. Include E and 01.
Replace the proxy with the proxy your MJ registers to and change host= to host=YourProxyIPHere.
Replace XXXXXpasswordXXXXX with your password. Currently a 20 character string consisting of numbers and letters. Mine is all uppercase.


register => EXXXXXXXXXX01:[email protected]:5070




exten => YourMJNumber,1,Answer
exten => YourMJNumber,2,Dial(sip/sipura,30,r) ;dial someone…such as an ATA

exten => _1NXXNXXXXXX,1,Dial(SIP/${EXTEN}@magicjack,30,r)
exten => _1NXXNXXXXXX,2,congestion()
exten => _1NXXNXXXXXX,102,busy()
exten => i,1,Hangup
exten => t,1,Hangup
exten => h,1,Hangup

include => MagicJackOutgoing


Deploying Linux Open Source IP Video Surveillance with ZoneMinder

September 4, 2008 by Garrett Smith

We’ve recently outgrown our Video Surveillance system at the office. We have a large facility with a combination of IP and traditional analog CCTV surveillance cameras in place to monitor the warehouse and common areas.

In the coming weeks, we will be rolling out a new system, a Linux based, open source platform called ZoneMinder.

ZoneMinder runs on practically any Linux distribution, and supports both traditional analog CCTV cameras as well as IP Network Video cameras from a variety of manufacturers.

Other features of ZoneMinder include:

    • Support Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras, extensible to add new control protocols.
    • Built on standard tools, C++, perl and php.
    • Uses high performance MySQL database.
    • High performance independent video capture and analysis daemons allowing high failure redundancy.
    • Multiple Zones (Regions Of Interest) can be defined per camera. Each can have a different sensitivity or be ignored altogether.
    • Large number of configuration options allowing maximum performance on any hardware.
    • User friendly web interface allowing full control of system or cameras as well as live views and event replays.
    • Supports live video in mpeg video, multi-part jpeg and stills formats.
    • Supports event replay in mpeg video, multi-part jpeg, stills formats, along with statistics detail.
    • User defined filters allowing selection of any number of events by combination of characteristics in any order.
    • Event notification by email or SMS including attached still images or video of specific events by filter.
    • Automatic uploading of matching events to external FTP storage for archiving and data security.
    • Includes bi-directional X.10 (home automation protocol) integration allowing X.10 signals to control when video is captured and for motion detection to trigger X.10 devices.
    • Highly partitioned design allow other hardware interfacing protocols to be added easily for support of alarm panels etc.
    • Multiple users and user access levels
    • Multi-language support with many languages already included
    • Full control script support allowing most tasks to be automated or added to other applications.
    • Support external triggering by 3rd party applications or equipment.
    • xHTML mobile/cellular phone access allowing access to common functions.

For host server hardware, we are using a new product recently launched by Duluth, MN based RochBochs called VideoBochs.

We’ll be taking the core of our current surveillance system offline over the next week or so, and bringing the new VideoBochs/ZoneMinder server online. We intend to deploy a variety of IP cameras in tandem with ZoneMinder, from manufacturers including Toshiba, Axis and Mobotix.

Similar to Asterisk, trixbox, Freeswitch and other OSS based telephony platforms, Zoneminder has a loyal (albeit seemingly much smaller) community surrounding the project. Look for another post in the coming weeks detailing more of our experience rolling out open source IP Video Surveillance.

Using Asterisk to Beat The 24X7 Support Blues

September 3, 2008 by Garrett Smith

A little over a year ago I moved my employer from an old Nortel Meridian system (have you ever seen the size of one of these things?) to an Asterisk based solution.

It was pretty painless and overall it dropped the monthly expenditures from over $6k/month to about $500/month (yeah, saying they were overpaying is an extreme understatement). Automatic e-mails whenever a voicemail came through, real Caller-ID, easy extensions via an 800 number in addition to DIDs, they got all the good things that come with Linux, a really cool TDMoE box, Asterisk, and a nicely powered Dell server (or two.)

Once this was all in place, we were working on other ideas. One proof-of-concept I built revolved around one of my biggest job pains – the 24×7 on-call phone.


Potatoes and Tomatoes: The Varieties of Mobile VoIP

Every week a new company offering Mobile VoIP service seems to launch. However, most of these companies are not what I consider true Mobile VoIP. A majority of these actually offer glorified calling card or call forwarding services. While I favor inexpensive calling options, the customer should be wary of the fine print. Is it truly Mobile VoIP? No, but that isn’t going to stop people from calling it so.


Selecting a Home Security Surveillance System – Part Two

Protect Your Family and Home With Video Surveillance

In part one of this series, we began by defining what video surveillance is and mentioned two different types of video surveillance technology that can be used with a home security surveillance system. Before getting into the first video surveillance technology, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), please note that video surveillance is not a one size fits all proposition and in many (if not most) instances there exist multiple solutions. Don’t get “analysis paralysis” when it comes to a home security surveillance system – something is better than nothing.

With that, let roll into part two…


QoS For Small Networks

August 29, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Today we’re going to configure a Linksys Router for VoIP QoS. Most modern routers offer some sort of this feature. I just picked Linksys because it is so common. First, let’s explain what it is and what it does. So,what is QoS? It stands for Quality of Service and it is a way of prioritizing network traffic by what is deemed as most important. Obviously, this is what we want in any mixed network that has voice applications. It works by giving preference to traffic deemed most important. It can do this in a number of ways . (See screenshot below)


If you build it….

iLocus has an interesting story this morning concerning BT’s adoption of DECT enabled ATA devices.

DECT as a technology with obvious implications for consumer VoIP has been getting its fair share of press lately, and for good reason.

Relative mobility is a “must-have” for many residential phone users, and traditional ATAs which limit connectivity options to tethering traditional analog phones via FXS ports is getting pretty stale.

Many VoIP service providers, including Vonage, have at one time or another offered SIP enabled WiFi phones as a mobility option for their residential users, but have quickly dumped WiFi technology because of the inherent technology issues and support overhead that currently plagues them.

I have been trying to coax a handful of established VoIP CPE manufacturers to develop and release a low-cost, DECT enabled ATA device for the US marketplace for almost 2 years, and nobody has stepped up to the plate to deliver it just yet.

How about a device similar to the Linksys SPA-3102, but with more ethernet ports onboard.

An IAD device with (1) integrated FXS port, (1) onboard FXO port, (1) WAN port and router, a 4 port switch, and integrated DECT base station to which you can wirelessly connect up to 3 DECT handsets.

There you have a very versatile, relatively “plug and play” device that can serve as a primary WAN router for DSL or Cable customers (make it easy to disable the router/DHCP functionality so the device can happily co-exist with an ISP provided access router) , has a traditional FXS port for an analog phone or fax over IP… an FXO port for PSTN failover if the WAN goes down….a 4 port switch to share the internet connection with other devices on the LAN…..and finally a DECT radio to manage up to 3 mobile handsets. Now make the whole package available to consumers and service providers at an MSRP of around $99.95 and $39.95 for each additional DECT handset (up to 3 total).

I think you’d have a winner there. VoIP CPE manufacturers, feel free to take that idea and run with it.

Selecting A Home Security Surveillance System – Part One

August 27, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Protecting Your Family and Home With Video Surveillance

Is it any less safe today then it was 20 years ago?

Statistics show that crimes nationwide have actually decreased over the last twenty years (at least in the US), yet most folks feel like this world is less safe with each day. Whether this is due to the media or an increased sensitivity to crime, one’s personal security and safety is a growing concern for millions of people and thus people around the globe are looking to home security surveillance systems to protect their family and property.


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