New Aastra Dect 6.0 Handset

March 26, 2007 by Garrett Smith

Aastra Continues IP Handset Innovation with New DECT 6.0 Wireless handset

At last week’s VON Conference and Expo, Aastra unveiled a new DECT 6.0 wireless solution. Aastra SIP-DECT is a mobility solution offering end users interference free and secure high- quality voice communications over a proven and powerful wireless technology platform.

The Aastra SIP-DECT solution is comprised of DECT Handsets and IP DECT Access Points that are managed by OpenMobility Manager (OMM) software and provisioned on a SIP based infrastructure as simple SIP extensions. The OMM administrates all handset and mobility activities (roaming, seamless handover and media stream) and can be installed on the IP DECT access point, on a ip phone system, or on a Linux-Server. The system utilizes the 1920 – 1930 MHz unlicensed PCS (UPCS) spectrum that has been recently approved for use in North America by the FCC providing exceptional RF coverage per access point.

The Aastra SIP-DECT solution is targeted for introduction on June 1st.

Linksys SPA8000 8 port Analog Telephone Adaptor

March 21, 2007 by Garrett Smith

Linksys SPA8000 8-port Analog Telephone Adaptor

The Linksys SPA8000 is the latest in the line of VoIP adapters from Linksys. The SPA8000 features eight RJ-11 FXS ports to connect analog telephones to IP-based data networks and includes a single multi-port RJ-21 50-pin connector offering an alternative connection choice when deploying the telephony gateway in varied environments. The device also has one 10/100Base-T RJ-45 Ethernet interface to connect to either a router or multi-layer switch.

Allthough the SPA8000 is a step-up in size for Linksys, who has until now played in the residential VoIP adapter sector, the greatest benefit of the SPA8000 is that it offers all the key features and capabilities with which service providers can provide customized services to their subscribers. The SPA8000 can be remotely provisioned and supports dynamic, in-service software upgrades. A secure profile upload saves providers the time, expense and hassle of managing and pre-configuring or re-configuring customer premise equipment (CPE) for deployment. The SPA8000 is “built” for large scale deployments needing a VoIP gateway.

Grandstream GXP-2020 Enterprise IP Phone

March 20, 2007 by Garrett Smith

Grandstream GXP-2020 Enterprise IP Phone

The Grandstream GXP2020 is an Enterprise SIP IP phone that sports a new stylish design and addresses the need for an elegant IP phone solution for the executive office at a highly competitive price. The Grandstream GXP 2020 provides excellent voice clarity, a comprehensive set of advanced call features, multi-language support, security protection, automated provisioning, and broad compatibility with leading SIP platforms.

Grandstream GXP-2020 Additional Features and Functionalty

The GXP2020 features 6 lines, 7 programmable keys, 4 dynamic context-sensitive soft keys, dual switched 10M/100Mbps auto-sensing Ethernet ports with integrated PoE, a backlit 320×160 high resolution graphic LCD with multi-level grey scales, SRTP and TLS (pending) for privacy protection, as well as secure and automated provisioning for mass deployment.

Grandstream GXP-2020 First Impressions

The GXP2020 is the second phone in the GXP Enterprise SIP Phone portfolio. The GXP-2020 represents a much needed upgrade in the looks department. Grandstream, which has been criticized as a maker of low-end, low quality products, has REALLY done a great job in the past year of changing that image. While their products remain value priced, their quality and corresponding return rates, are far superior to that of many of their competitiors. With an MSRP of $169.99, this phone will probably hit the streets in the $149.99 range, and with the overwhemling amount of features, and improved design, this phone will certainly give Polycom, Linksys, and even Cisco a run for their money.

Polycom IP 550 Desktop IP Phone

Polycom IP550 four line desktop IP Phone

The Polycom IP 550 desktop phone is a four-line SIP phone that delivers calls of unprecedented richness and clarity and supports a comprehensive range of cutting-edge features. The SoundPoint IP550 desktop phone features Polycom’s revolutionary HD Voice™ technology, which bringslife-like richness and clarity to every call.1,5 Polycom HD Voice technology incorporates wideband audio for over twice the voice clarity; Polycom’s patented Acoustic Clarity Technology for crystal-clear, noise- and echo-free sound, plus best-in-class system design for high-fidelity, faithful voice reproduction.

In addition, the Polycom IP550 has a backlit 320 x 160-pixel graphical grayscale LCD, shared call/bridged line appearance, busy lamp field (BLF), presence, buddy lists and XHTML micro-browser for Web applications.

The Polycom IP 550 is the obvious next step from Polycom’s benchmark IP phone the IP 501. In addiing the HD Voice capability, backlit display (finally!!!), and XHTMl capabilities, the Polycom IP550 is poised for the next stage of VoIP calling. With an MSRP of $369.99, the phone is certainly pricey, but will probably be found in the $339.99 range , “on the streets.” For that price and with HD Voice, not widely support, you are best to wait for other options, unless of course, you are working with an unlimited budget.

Polycom IP330 Business IP Phone

Polycom IP 330 Small Medium Enterprise IP Phone

The new Polycom IP330 is a two-line VoIP phone that deliver superb sound quality as well as a wide range of supported business telephony features. The SoundPoint IP330 phone, with its dual-port10/100 Ethernet switch for LAN and PC connection, presents a cost-effective solution for cubicle workers as well as call center operators who use a “hard” phone in conjunction with a “soft” client running on the PC.

In addition to having two lines and a single 10/100 ethernet port, the IP330 features a full-duplex speakerphone, an easy-to-read, 102 x 33-pixel graphical LCD, support of shared lines, presence, 3-way local conferencing, and distinctive call treatment, in addition to XHTML micro-browser for Web applications.

The Polycom IP330 is definitely on par with the LInksys SPA-942, and with an MSRP of $179.99, this should hit the streets at around $159.99, making it an affordable solution for the small medium enterprise.

Polycom IP320 Business IP Phone

Polycom IP320 IP Phone the Newest IP Phone from Polycom

Introducing the new Polycom IP 320 a two-line IP phone that delivers superb sound quality as well as a wide range of supported business telephony features. The SoundPoint IP 320 phone, has a single 10/100 Ethernet port, therefore its application targets include common areas, such as lobbies, hallways, and break rooms, as well as various wall-mounted deployments.

In addition to having two lines and a single 10/100 ethernet port, the IP320 features a full-duplex speakerphone, an easy-to-read, 102 x 33-pixel graphical LCD, support of shared lines, presence, 3-way local conferencing, and distinctive call treatment, in addition to XHTML micro-browser for Web applications. The IP320 also works with a wide variety of open source IP phone systems.

The Polycom IP320 is definitely on par with the LInksys SPA-941, and with an MSRP of $139.99, this should hit the streets at around $119.99, making it an affordable solution for the small medium enterprise.

Fonality Releases trixbox Appliance

March 19, 2007 by Garrett Smith

Fonality Heats Up the Asterisk Appliance Space With the trixbox Appliance

trixbox applianceWith rival, and Asterisk creator, Digium already releasing their Asterisk appliance in the form of their Asterisk Developer’s Kit, Fonality has thrown their hat into the appliance space with their trixbox appliance. The trixbox Appliance comes pre-installed with the trixbox software platform and is an industrial grade rack-mountable server with dual hard disk and dual power supply redundancy options. It is aimed at businesses with five to 500 employees and can be purchased for use with VoIP, E1/T1 or up to 48 analog lines. Created for trixbox and Asterisk resellers, as well as IT professionals, the trixbox Appliance costs $999 and delivers the industry’s best price performance value for a PBX.

trixbox Enterprise Appliance Provides Affordability and Reliability for Businesses up to 500 Employees

The trixbox Appliance is powered by Intel and comes with pre-configured Sangoma line cards with industry-leading Octasic echo-cancellation hardware inside. Broad support for the appliance has been announced by a growing trixbox ecosystem that includes phone manufacturers Polycom, Aastra, and Grandstream, as well as VoIP service providers VoicePulse and Teliax. The trixbox Appliance includes trixbox 2.2, a new release of the popular distribution that integrates Asterisk with Apache, MySQL, SugarCRM and PHP. Included in this release is the new open source Asterisk GUI (graphical user interface), a component of the AsteriskNow™ distribution, which gives customers an additional trixbox GUI option, showing users arround the world that trixbox is much more than just another slick GUI on top of Asterisk.

IP PBX Solutions for Your Business

March 16, 2007 by Arthur Miller

FINDING THE RIGHT IP PBX FOR YOUR BUISINESS

Voipsupply offers a variety of different IP PBX platforms. The platforms serve a wide array of customers and range from sophisticated enterprise solutions like Cisco CallManager Express to branded asterisk solutions for small to mid sized offices, or even small and home office do-it-yourself bundles that feature open source free pbx software like Trixbox. All platforms offered have optional provisioning and support available. Several of the platforms are also supported free of charge by the respective manufacturer.

Provisioning, “the dirty work” can be applied on a general level or detailed level depending on what features you need for your PBX. Christopher Heinrich, head of provisioning states,

“The majority of customers who wish to have their IP PBX provisioned send a document containing the desired extensions of the phones and the names associated with those extensions. We also have customers who prefer to set this up at a later date but need assistance setting up call groups prior to shipment.”

The majority of platforms available, in particular asterisk-branded solutions such as Fonality or Switchvox can be shipped at a nearly plug-and-play level, even allowing old extensions from prior phone systems to be used again for a smooth transition into your new system.

Support is also broken down into a general or granular level which usually depends on the technical level of the consumer. Support ranges from a 48 hour e-mail response time to a specific engineer dedicated to assisting you over the phone with any questions you have on usability or implementation. Pbxselect also works with local installers around the U.S. and Canada that, “connect the dots” after the systems ship for customer installation and training.

A sampling of the platforms offered:

  • Switchvox – This is a commercial IP phone system built off Asterisk, with an intuitive GUI and lots of other features built in. It comes in (2) versions, SOHO and SMB. The SMB version also has a desktop user utility, a JavaScript application, that allows users to see the presence of other extensions logged into the system, and allows you to drag and drop calls to extensions or voicemail boxes. You can also find third party applications that hook into their API. One current application uses Google maps to automatically populate an address and picture of the location calling you based on the area code and dial number of the incoming call – neat stuff!
  • Fonality – Also a commercial IP phone system built off Asterisk. It is slightly more expensive than Switchvox but the graphical user interface is a lot more depth. See below for a few links/demos:

    The HUD demo is very worth checking out, I suggest you try it!

  • Rhino Ceros / Trixbox – This is a bundled open source VoIP PBX has put together with Rhino Equipment, which runs of their server and TDM hardware, in conjunction with Trixbox. This system is by far the most flexible in our offering. It ships out of the box ready, with the Rhino PCI card and works with all SIP compliant IP Phones. If you care to spend time fine tuning the system you can get very advanced features for a very low cost.
  • Talkswitch – This is a key system replacement that includes both PSTN and VoIP capabilities. Works with analog and SIP phones, very simple to set up and administer. The best thing about Talkswitch is that you can use the system in multiple locations *without* needing to have a service provider in the mix – the PBX’s will simply connect to each other over the broadband connections at each office.
  • Cisco Callmanager Express – Pbxselect is a Cisco Authorized Premier Partner with Callmanager Express specialization. Many hundreds of successful systems have been deployed using Cisco Callmanager Express; more detail on this solution is probably not needed due to its immense popularity.

Aastra Telecom Podcast

Aastra Telecom’s New Line of IP Phones Have Been a Huge Hit!

Aastra’s latest line of IP Phones have been flying off the VoIP Supply shelf these past few weeks and this week Jon Arnold, in his Canadian IP Thought Leaders series, features Aastra Telecom’s Executive Vice President Yves Laliberte. Aastra is based in Toronto, and is one of the leading business telephone OEMs, for both legacy and IP markets. Yves addressed the current state of the market, and compared the differing paths that enterprises and SMBs are taking as they adopt IP.

He also focused on the importance of Open Source and SIP for enabling more flexible and feature rich solutions than were possible in the TDM world. Finally, Jon and Yves talked about the road ahead, and how Unified Communications and FMC will be driving the market, and how that will impact vendors like Aastra.

Marketing VoIP Services To Non-Technical Consumers

Not All Consumers Understand VoIP

But you do not HAVE to make them fully understand the technology in order to get them to interested enough to purchase your VoIP service. You do, however, have to give them enough information and understanding of Voice over IP in order for them to be confident in making a buying decision. Here are some tips you can use, as a VoIP Service Provider, to help bolster your marketing efforts in order to increase your subscriber base.

VoIP Service Provider Marketing Tips

  • Speak The Customers Language – Do not use tech speak. Keep acronyms to a minimum. If you had to tell a ten year old what it is that your company does, how would you describe it?
  • Don’t Use High Speed or Broadband Internet to Describe an Internet Connection – 90% of consumers do not know what broadband means or if their service is high speed, after all, even dial-up services promote a higher-speed product. Instead, use DSL or Cable to describe the Internet connection necessary to use the service.
  • Sell Devices That Mimic The Traditional Calling ExperienceVoIP adapters, while cheap, add a foreign device to the calling experience. Rather than wasting your time explaining what an analog telephone adaptor does, sell them and cordless IP phone. Customers are familiar with cordless phones and people like things that they are familiar with. It will save the time and headache of explain why you need and ata and how to install it. If you insist on having a VoIP adapter, make sure you offer one that has PSTN failover, like a Linksys SPA-3102 or Grandstream GS-488.
  • Explain What Happens When Their Internet Connection Goes Down – Do not just make this a bullet point in the fine print. Use it as an opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competition by explaining the issues and making sure your customers have a “back-up” plan such as a cellular phone or PSTN line for failover. Sure you might lose a customer or two, but the ones you gain will trust you. Trust build loyalty. Loyalty breeds lifetime customers.
  • Show Them More Than Price – If the sole decision was price, then they would have switched year ago. Most non-technical customers needs reasons other than price savings to go through the “hassle” of switching their phone service. Promote the convenience of voicemail to email, how they can use a second number so others can call them for free, educate them on the benefits your features provide them.
  • Do Not Make Switching a Hassle – No one wants a hassle. Make the sign-up process easy, have knowledgeable staff answering your phones, have a number porting system that constantly updates the customer on what stage of the number porting process they are currently in. Make sure devices arrive on time.
  • Make Paper Invoices an Available Option – Believe it or not, many consumers WANT paper bills. Due to their “non-technical” nature, they may not be use to or comfortable with paying bills online. Do not make them do it “your way”, allow them to do it “their way.”
  • Stop Assuming and Start Talking – Stop assuming you know what customers know about Voice over IP. I “thought” I knew what people knew about VoIP, but it wasn’t until I started selling VoIP in a brick and mortar retail environment that I started to “get it.” From there, I actually paid a friend to go out and get people to fill out surveys about their knowledge of VoIP. What I found was that most people know little, are filled with mis-conceptions, and really do not care about VoIP. But do not take my word for it, go out and talk to lots of people about Voice over IP.

While it is one thing to identify points that VoIP service providers need to market to, it is another thing to execute on them. Execution, after all, is just as important as strategy. These points are merely a starting point for enhancing the marketing of your VoIP service – do with them what you will.