AastraLink Pro 160 VoIP PBX Review

April 18, 2008 by Garrett Smith

AastraLink Pro 160 VoIP PBX Review

Aastra Telecom’s first SIP-based IP PBX

Aastra Telecom has announced that it will be releasing its first SIP-based IP PBX in early May; the AastraLink Pro 160. I recently had the option of attending a technical webinar on this product, and I have to say, I’m very pleased by its offerings in its initial deployment. The AastraLink Pro 160 is designed and targeted at applications for 25 phone system users or less, but allows for up to 9 AastraLink Pro units to be interconnected via IAX trunks to accompany remote offices, multiple locations, and larger applications with more users. The unit is strictly hardware based, and blankets Asterisk, however there is no access to the root command line interface–there’s simply no need to. The AastraLink Pro 160 is accompanied by a user-friendly Web GUI interface where all configurations such as the configuration of IP endpoints, PSTN trunks, SIP trunks, and call feature functionalities, can all be performed. The AastraLink Pro 160 is designed specifically for LAN environments, and works best with Aastra SIP-based units such as the 51i, 53i, 55i, 57i, 57i CT, and the newly released models, 9143, 9480i, 9480i CT, because the PBX has built-in auto-provisioning features that will auto-seek any of the units mentioned above on the same LAN and provision the units for inter-office voice connectivity. Simply plug the Aastra IP Phones into the LAN, and let the AastraLink Pro 160 do the rest.

AastraLink Pro 160

-Support for up to 50 extensions when SIP Trunking is facilitated.

-Expandability to link up to 9 AastraLink Pro units via IAX trunking for your remote and multiple location applications.

-No user or application license fees.

-Auto-provisioning tool that allows the system to work seamlessly with Aastra IP Phones. Simply plug the phones into the LAN, and let the AastraLink Pro 160 do the rest.

-A built-in Auto Attendant that configures on initial setup.

-Ability to support open-sourced SIP IP endpoints other than Aastra phones, with phone configuration back to the AastraLink Pro 160 appliance.

The AastraLink Pro 160 is a pure hardware-based solution, no messing around with Asterisk root configuration files, and zaptel configurations for those in-house installers. There’s simply no need to! The unit contains the following hardware specifications that are designed to facilitate all of the feature functionalities of the product:

AastraLink Pro rear view

-6 analog RJ-11 FXO connections for PSTN and POTS connectivity with G.168 echo cancellation on board.

-2 analog RJ-11 FXS Connections to directly connect a fax or analog telephone up to. A cool feature with this is that the hardware has the ability to auto-switch FXO connectivity from Port 1 FXO to Port 1 FXS device in times when the network may be down. This is most noted as PSTN failover or emergency backup services, so you still have a way to communicate with the outside world in times where your network may be down. (you can also use a VoIP gateway)

-1 LAN port for connectivity to the LAN. This is strictly a LAN device and is recommended always that your LAN is segmented for voice or data in some way to reduce possible QOS issues. The LAN connectivity is also used to facilitate SIP trunking and IAX trunking between multiple AastraLink Pro 160 appliances. In these types of instances, ensure your LAN connectivity has access to your WAN to facilitate this. Aastra recommends the user of Netgear switches, and Netgear/Linksys routers specifically supporting UPnP.

-1 WAN port, which is designed for future use.

-2 audio stereo input jacks to allow for in and out circuitry for Music on Hold (MOH) and external paging.

Aastralink Pro Front View, AastraLink Pro 160 IP PBX

Look for this product to become available on Voipsupply.com in early May of this year. This is a perfect application for small to medium sized deployments, and is an in-house installer’s dream regarding setup procedures. More information on the upcoming release and more feature specifications can found here.

Digium Visits VoIP Supply

April 17, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Voip Supply hosts day long seminar with Digium

Here at VoIP Supply it’s important that we stay on the cutting edge of voip technology, and we are able to do that by having companies such as Digium come in and conduct day-long training seminars. We can then pass along additional knowledge to our customer base. Chris Langford and Gayle Magee from Digium were here this past Monday bringing everyone up to speed on the the latest Digium offerings.

The Digium presentation covered three main topics: PCI Cards, Digium Appliances and the Switchvox PBX.

A special thanks to Gayle and Chris for coming into town and keeping us up to speed, and thanks for the t-shirts!

Special Pricing at VoIPSupply.com and FREE Ground Shipping at IPCameraSupply.com

April 16, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Special Pricing at VoipSupply.com!

Are you ready to save big on voip this spring? VoIPSupply.com is offering a huge selection of top rated products at new, limited time low prices. Not only are we providing top notch customer service and care but record low prices for the voip industry.

If you’re in the market for a new voip phone, now’s the time to buy. Our price breaks are being offered across the board on Aastra, Cisco, Grandstream, Linksys, Polycom, ip phones and even Audiocodes analog gateways! A few of our more popular products that we’re offering price breaks on include the Aastra 9133i IP Phone, Cisco CP-7940G IP Phone, Grandstream GS-386 Analog Adapter, and the Linksys PAP2T-NA Adapter to name a few.

IPCameraSupply.com Free Ground Shipping!

Why stop with IP Phones when you can get free ground shipping on IP Cameras and dvr cards! Our IPCameraSupply.com store is offering FREE ground shipping on popular Axis ip cameras and Geovision dvr cards. The very popular Axis 207 IP camera is one of many Axis IP cameras for which we’re offering free ground shipping. Check out the site to see our full line of Axis ip cameras and Geovision dvr cards.

These incredible low prices and free ground shipping offers will not be around forever. If you’ve been in the market, now’s the best time to get those VoIP deals you’re looking for. Bear in mind, VoIPSupply.com and Ip Camera Supply offer more than just competitive pricing and shipping promotions. We assist our customers from beginning to end with friendly, qualified technicians and sales associates. We’ve been making voip happen since 2002, and we can make it happen for you!

Technology and VoIP Jobs In Buffalo, NY… Yes they are here!

April 15, 2008 by Garrett Smith

No one will mistake Buffalo, NY for Silicon Valley, but over the last few years, the region has become something of a hot bed for technology companies.

And this has caused a land grab for the area’s top tech talent.

Although the Western New York area is home to over a half dozen colleges and universities, many technology companies are finding it increasingly hard to find IT staff.

In Sunday’s Buffalo News, VoIP Supply was profiled as one local company that is not only flourishing, but doing it all with local talent. As an employee here for the last five years, I can tell you that it has been thrill to see a little five man operation turn into over 70, with aspirations to be well over 80 by the end of the year. While the growth in headcount is great, the greatest part about the growth is that most of the people who have come into the doors here have been friends (and or family members) and those who were not will soon become.

So many times in business we all forget about what really matters; people. A few weeks ago, I had a candid conversation with our CEO, Benjamin Sayers. We were talking about the vision for the business and it had nothing to do with size, revenues or profits, but what he said was “creating an awesome work environment where everyone looks forward to coming to work, feels challenged, appreciated and has the ability to learn, grow and succeed in whichever path they might choose.” If that does not define people over profits, I am not sure what does.

Over the last week, fresh off our recognition as the Best Place to Work in Western New York and the story above in the Buffalo News, I have had the opportunity to first hand see what can happen when a organization is created that puts people first and profits second. Sure we aren’t perfect, but it will never be because of a lack of trying.

To the 70 current employees, I’d like to say thanks for all that you do here and to anyone who is looking to be part of an enjoyable, dynamic, high energy culture, check out the employment opportunities we have here; it’s well worth the five minutes.

Technology and VoIP Jobs In Buffalo, NY…Yes they are here!

No one will mistake Buffalo, NY for Silicon Valley, but over the last few years, the region has become something of a hot bed for technology companies.

And this has caused a land grab for the area’s top tech talent.

Although the Western New York area is home to over a half dozen colleges and universities, many technology companies are finding it increasingly hard to find IT staff.

In Sunday’s Buffalo News, VoIP Supply was profiled as one local company that is not only flourishing, but doing it all with local talent. As an employee here for the last five years, I can tell you that it has been thrill to see a little five man operation turn into over 70, with aspirations to be well over 80 by the end of the year. While the growth in headcount is great, the greatest part about the growth is that most of the people who have come into the doors here have been friends (and or family members) and those who were not will soon become.

So many times in business we all forget about what really matters; people. A few weeks ago, I had a candid conversation with our CEO, Benjamin Sayers. We were talking about the vision for the business and it had nothing to do with size, revenues or profits, but what he said was “creating an awesome work environment where everyone looks forward to coming to work, feels challenged, appreciated and has the ability to learn, grow and succeed in whichever path they might choose.” If that does not define people over profits, I am not sure what does.

Over the last week, fresh off our recognition as the Best Place to Work in Western New York and the story above in the Buffalo News, I have had the opportunity to first hand see what can happen when a organization is created that puts people first and profits second. Sure we aren’t perfect, but it will never be because of a lack of trying.

To the 70 current employees, I’d like to say thanks for all that you do here and to anyone who is looking to be part of an enjoyable, dynamic, high energy culture, check out the employment opportunities we have here; it’s well worth the five minutes.

Press Release

Save $100 When You Buy a GN Netcom Headset Handset Combo

Another great Voip Supply Promo this week!

This week VoIP Supply has a great promotion featuring GN Netcom products. You can save $100 when purchasing a GN9330 and GN1000 combo. The GN 1000 Remote Handset Lifter answers and ends calls remotely, allowing you to roam free around the office. The GN9330 Wireless Headset is the perfect pairing and provides noise cancelling sound with a lifter. It is also WiFi-friendly. Your voice will always be transmitted clearly, even as you are moving through a noisy area. The headset allows a nine-hour talk time without recharging, ensuring you are always ready for every call.

So make sure to check out VoIP Supply, because these essential VoIP items won’t last long. Get a great deal by saving $100 when purchasing this great combo.

Where’s VoIP Going? A Look At VoIP Industry Trends

April 13, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Where is the VoIP industry going?

Of late, it is the question I field most often.

I am not sure if it is because as the market mature, seeing what’s next is increasingly important, or if it is because as the marketplace matures, what worked yesterday is no longer working today (or will work tomorrow). Whatever the case may be, I thought it would be fitting to address where the VoIP industry is going, in a short and sweet high-level digest.

VoIP, in general

The buzz surrounding VoIP has worn off. Overall interest in the VoIP technology is trending downward due to this, although the market is still growing. People have wised up to the fact that VoIP is just another transport mechanism for voice and therefore what is currently hot is the applications and business enhancements that come as a result of using IP for voice transport. The first adopter’s have come and went. This new wave of interested parties are no longer looking to just save a buck, but in almost all cases, is looking at VoIP as a way to “improve” or solve a problem. If you are a VAR, Manufacturer or Service Provider, go there.

VoIP Service

Consolidation, bundled offerings and tighter margins are the name of the game in the service provider marketplace. Over the past few years, hundreds of providers have sprung up and many are now fighting for their lives. Without control of the pipe or a true differentiator, many are now looking to merge or get acquired by other providers. For those who were lucky enough to see that survival could come in the form of bundling multiple services, the trend will continue as getting “multiple services delivered through one pipe from one provider” is the ultimate goal for many service providers. Expect this pursuit and these offerings to continue to come pouring into the marketplace. It won’t be easy though, many, if not most, of the service providers who have entered the marketplace over the last few years, have aided the race to zero and as more struggle to survive, I expect service providers to continue to operate on thinner and thinner margins. Innovate, collaborate or die.

VoIP Hardware

There is not much new here, except in the handset space. The latest here is a move towards pushing applications down to the handsets, applications that improve or make business processes more efficient. While these applications have not yet hit mass adoption by end users, manufacturers are spending big (and talking big) when it comes to this new functionality. In addition to applications, as the pipes get cheaper and larger, more and more vendors (such as Polycom) are creating handsets that can handle larger codec’s that will increase call quality and better the user experience. HD Voice will be big, soon.

Open Source

Open source companies are growing up and therefore there has been an overlaying theme of monetization occurring. Monetization of the technology, the community, the websites and of course the ecosystem. This shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing, just because these companies are open source does not necessarily mean they should not be pursuing revenues and profitability. They are in business to make money, as is everyone. If your business was impacted as a result of these efforts, should have had the foresight to see where they were going; it was inevitable.

Another side trend, in open source telephony, is the movement towards the “appliance.” I have been talking to open source companies in this space about an appliance based approach since 2005, when a conversation with a small business owner lead me to the thought that most people want a phone system, to look like a phone system (whatever that is) not a PC or a server. I am not crediting myself with the idea, but of late, everyone has their own appliance…and from what I have seen it has been could for their business (and their VAR’s). I don’t see too many more appliances hitting the street as the market is saturated, but I do see the appliances continuing to evolve and becoming a selling point for open source companies when recruiting resellers.

This was pretty brief and honestly, I could go on for hours, but I won’t. What I would like to do though, is open up the floor for others. Have a trend you would like to discuss? Leave a comment below!

FOIP-Fax Over IP Solution

April 11, 2008 by Arthur Miller

Rockbochs introducing Faxxbochs

RockBochs, Inc, creators of the popular Trixbox / Asterisk server Phonebochs, announced earlier this month its Fax over IP Solution, Faxxbochs.

About the Faxxbochs

“A truly reliable Fax over IP solution; This is not a simple ‘E-Fax’ service, but rather a solution that leverages your existing internet connection to provide a cost effective way to transmit and receive paper fax, provide fax to email functionality, automatic archival, with a full web-based management interface.” states Chad Behling, owner of RockBochs, Inc.

Read more about the offerings here:

Faxxbochs

April 2008 New Product Roundup

April 10, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Von and Voicecon Industry Shows recap

The shows have brought new products to the market and the foloowing is a brief recap on the new offerings rolling out.
Grandstream

Grandstream

Brookline, Mass.-based Grandstream Communications has thrown its hat into the IP PBX ring with the release of its GXE502X SIP PBX Appliance. The GXE502X comes in a 4FXO and 8FXO version, allowing easy integration of analog (POTS) PSTN trunks. The product also carries a price point which should make it appealing to small businesses with a limited budget. All the typical IP PBX features are present, including autoattendant, voicemail, configurable dial plan and one-touch provisioning SIP trunking support.

Grandstream port

Grandstream is also readying a 24 port FXS SIP gateway, the GXW4024….offering 24 analog connections for legacy PBX and analog endpoint integration with Asterisk and other SIP platforms.

Polycom

Polycom has introduced two new SIP conference phones, both supporting their new HDVoice wideband audio codec.

Polycom SIP Conference Phone

The Soundpoint IP6000 figures to replace the popular IP4000 model. The Soundpoint IP7000 incorporates a sleek new form factor, and a few features not found in the 4000/6000. Both conference phones also offer native support for 802.3af Power over Ethernet, which is an appreciated addition.

Digium

Digium

Digium has several new product additions. First off, they have released a new, small form factor solid state appliance to host their popular Switchvox SOHO and SMB Edition IP PBX software. The new AA60 supports Digium FXS/FXO TDM cards, and supports up to 10 concurrent calls. The AA60 is a directly replacement for the Switchvox midtower server, which is no longer available.

Digium PCI FXS FXO cards

Digium has also replaced their popular, low-density TDM400 series PCI FXS/FXO cards with the new TDM410 series. The form factor is very similar, but the cards are now available with optional Octasic hardware echo cancellation module.

Aastra

Aastra

Canadian firm Aastra is also readying an IP PBX appliance solution based upon Asterisk Open Source software. The Aastralink Pro 160 offers a wide range of PBX functions, supports SIP trunking, and offers up to six integrated FXO ports for PSTN Analog POTS integration.

VoIP Supply Wins ‘Best Place to Work’

April 9, 2008 by Ben Sayers

Best Places to Work
Yesterday VoIP Supply was awarded the Best Place to Work in Western New York (for companies with 51-100 employees).

This is a tremendous honor and a testament to the quality of staff employed at VoIP Supply. Growing at such a rapid pace, constantly adding more and more people and always having to change in order to set the pace and stay on top of our game is a challenge. Ensuring that the workplace is safe, fun, and enjoyable while maintaining a high level of morale makes that challenge that much more exciting.

So far this year we have added 23 new people (more than 50% growth), changed our ERP and CRM platforms, expanded into additional office space, refined and documented all company processes and procedures, and expanded into two additional markets (IP Surveillance and Voice Recordings).

I am proud to be part of an organization that can pull off all of these things, do it with a smile, and look forward to coming back in tomorrow. To all those at VoIP Supply, thank you for being part of this team.