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)

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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…..plus 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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VoIP History 101 from iLocus

If anyone is interested in a history lesson concerning the technology that drives our business, iLocus recently published a well written piece that will give you some historical perspective.

While it does not go into great depths to describe the core origins of voice over packet networks from a technical perspective, it does a great job of shedding light on ten companies who did the heavy lifting to bring the technology to where it is today, and may help you better understand where it is going.

Highlights include:

1 – The application that started it all, Internet Phone from VocalTec. VocalTec also brought us the very first IP>PSTN Gateway and the RAS gatekeeper element. Mad props!

2 – Level 3 pioneers the softswitch and ushers in the transition from H.323 to MGCP.

3 – ITXC articulates the wholesale model for VoIP and lays the foundation for QoS and interoperability.

4 – Sonus develops scalable IP Voice gateways.

5 – 3GPP drafts the IMS blueprint which directly promotes the proliferation of VoIP.

6 – Cisco created demand for VoIP in the Enterprise market and nurtured ATA/CPE development to support residential VoIP deployment.

7 – Skype shakes up the industry in many ways.

8 – Softbank BB serves as the first major test lab for residential VoIP.

9 – Nextone brings us distributed session border controller (SBC) architecture and SIP > H.323 internetworking.

10 – Spectralink brings mobility to VoIP.

Ask Mr. Andrews: What is a DID?

Q: Dear Mr. Andrews, What is a DID?

A: The term “DID” stands for “Direct Inward Dial”, and describes a feature offered by traditional telephone operators. For example, my direct number at work “716-250-3402” is a DID number, which we essentially “rent’ from our provider. Telephony companies allocate a range of DID numbers within each local exchange and area code, and dole them out to their customers in much the same manner as one might be assigned an email address or a website domain. (i.e DID numbers are “unique”)
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Nokia Dumps VoIP (Update)

August 26, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Yesterday I wrote a post entitled, “Nokia Dumps VoIP” that highlighted the fact that Nokia had withheld the native Nokia SIP client, the one which has been present in the bulk of Nokia’s previous models, in two upcoming N series phones, the N78 and the N96. Apparently my focus on the fact that Nokia was dumping VoIP on these models struck a cord with Nokia’s PR firm, Communicano, as I was asked to more clearly present the fact surrounding this news.

Since I respect Andy and his team I would like to clearly present the facts from Nokia here, as well as my thoughts and some additional commentary from others within the space about this announcement so that you be the judge on what is really happening here.

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First Look: Sangoma U100 USB FXO Interface Device

August 25, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Just received a new Beta product that Sangoma has developed called the U100, which is essentially a 2 Port, USB-based, Zaptel compliant FXO interface.

Sangoma U100 USB FXO

This new product allows you to integrate up to (2) analog POTS lines with an Asterisk based IP PBX or appliance, without the need to install a physical hardware PCI card. You simply attach the U100 to your server or appliance via the included USB cable, and from there install the device in a similar manner to a traditional TDM card, using Sangoma’s 3.5.X Beta Driver.

I have one of our engineers playing with the U100 this week, and will post a followup concerning the installation process and some real-world usage of the product. Stay tuned.

More from: Asterisk Garrett Smith

How Asterisk Users Can Take Advantage of ENUM with Gizmo5

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece on ENUM, what it is, and why it is important to the continued development of VoIP.

Today the folks over at NerdVittles have an informative piece on how Asterisk users can leverage ENUM for toll-bypass, by way of Gizmo5’s (previously SIPPhone.com) ENUM peering agreements with a wide range of carriers, including:

Access One, Airadigm, Allegiance, Alltel, Cablevision Lightpath, Cat Communications, Cbeyond, Cellcom, Cellular Properties, Centennial Wireless, Choice One, Cincinnati Bell Wireless, Cinergy Communications, Cingular, CityNet, Cleveland Unlimited, Comcast Digital Voice, Commpartners, Conversent Communications, Cox Communications, CP Telecom, CTC Communications, Dobson Cell, Eureka, Globalcom, Heartland Communications, Illinois Valley, ITC Deltacom, LDMI, McLeod, Metro PCS, Mpower, Nationsline, Nextel, Nextera Communications, Paetec, RCN, Sprint PCS, Talk America, Telnet Worldwide, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and XO.

Ward even includes some sample code on setting up a FreePBX trunk for Gizmo5. NerdVittles is a must read for anyone out there looking to keep their finger on the pulse of the Asterisk community.

More from: Asterisk Garrett Smith