Introducing the Headset Compatibility Matrix

September 24, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Note: See the updated blog post: VoIP Phone and Headset Compatibility Guide is Now Available!

What Do You Know About Headsets?

Have you ever had the misfortune of purchasing a headset only to find out that it doesn’t work with your telephone, IP Phone, cellular phone or computer?

We have.

Ever find yourself wondering what headset best fits your business needs?

We have.

IP PHone HEadsets

You’ve probably asked yourself numerous questions like:

  • Do I want a corded or wireless headset?
  • Do I like the over the head or over the ear headset style?
  • Do I want monaural or binaural?
  • What is Noise Cancellation and how will it benefit me and my employees?
  • Do I need a handset lifter with my wireless headset?
  • Do I want Bluetooth or DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology) wireless technology on my wireless headset?
  • What headsets are compatible with my IP Phones?
  • If I go with a corded headset, what is the proper Quick Disconnect (QD) cord to work with my headset and IP Phone?

That’s why we have created the VoIP Supply Headset Compatibility Matrix for IP Phones – the answer to your Headset compatibility problems.

Headset Matrix For IP Phones

sheet1

(Click to Download Headset Matrix)

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Counterpath Announces X-Pro for Asterisk

According to Digium’s Steven Sokol, one of the primary organizers of Astricon, softphone gurus Counterpath…..makers of the popular X-Lite SIP softphone….have a new product release coming geared specifically toward Asterisk.

X-Pro for Asterisk

It’s called X-Pro for Asterisk. Details are sketchy at this point. I could find no mention of it on Counterpath’s website, other than the recently created X-Pro for Asterisk section on Counterpath’s forum.

More details as they become available.

Ask Mr. Andrews: Please Help, I’m a Newb!

September 9, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Q: Dear Mr. Andrews – I am new to Asterisk and VoIP enabled PBXes in general…can you point to any resources that will help me expand my knowledge?

A: The wonderful thing about technologies like Asterisk, FreeSwitch, trixbox and other “open source” platforms is the sense of community and opportunities for open exchange of ideas and general knowledge transfer that they foster.

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Truphone Wins Best For iPhone, Where Are The Others?

September 8, 2008 by Garrett Smith

The London Times has named Truphone, the “BEST (MOBILE VOIP) FOR THE IPHONE” Beating out other Mobile VoiP services such as Skype, Coms.net, NimBuzz and fring. Our own Cory Andrews reviewed the Truphone for iPhone application when it first hit the streets and while he had a bit of difficulty getting it to work at first, he reported that the application worked as advertised.

What I find most interesting about this article is not the fact that Truphone is a great service for the iPhone (it is), but the fact that there are not any other Mobile VoIP service applications out there challenging Truphone in the iPhone VoIP space is surprising. Sure there are a lot of Mobile VoIP applications for a jailbroke iPhone or Mobile VoIP applications that you can access via the iPhone’s web browser, but upon checking today, the Truphone application is the only iPhone VoIP application available through the iPhone Application store.

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Sangoma U100 Review

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 2.6.24.3 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 proxy1.Atlanta.talk4free.com:5070 with the proxy your MJ registers to and change host=67.90.138.70 to host=YourProxyIPHere.
Replace XXXXXpasswordXXXXX with your password. Currently a 20 character string consisting of numbers and letters. Mine is all uppercase.

~~~~~sip.conf~~~~~

register => EXXXXXXXXXX01:[email protected]:5070

[magicjack]
context=incoming
username=EXXXXXXXXXX01
type=friend
secret=XXXXXpasswordXXXXX
port=5070
nat=yes
insecure=very
host=67.90.138.70
fromuser=EXXXXXXXXXX01
dtmfmode=inband
qualify=2000

~~~~~sip.conf~~~~~

~~~~~extensions.conf~~~~~

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

[MagicJackOutgoing]
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

[sip]
include => MagicJackOutgoing

~~~~~extensions.conf~~~~~

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.

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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.

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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…

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