TMCnet - World's Largest Communications and Technology Community




Letters To The Editor
May 2000


In This Month's Mailbag:

Getting Burned At The Network Core

In response to Rich Tehrani's "3Com: Making The Most Of LAN Telephony" (Publisher's Outlook, April 2000):

It is a very strange coincidence that your review of LAN telephony appeared the week after 3Com announces a company restructuring. I have been a user and vocal advocate of 3Com products for about two years. The complete rebuilding of a hospital campus network was done with 3Com products end to end. The centerpiece of the network is a CoreBuilder 9000 switch. With last week's announcement, I count myself in the group of betrayed users 3Com left by the high-tech highway wayside. It's unfortunate, but your article lost a lot of credibility -- due to 3Com business choices and not your research. You -- along with a lot of users -- were deceived by a once good company. Now 3Com is just an also ran in the high-tech world.

As recently as two weeks ago, I was looking at using an NBX 100 system for a new clinic site. Today I won't touch a 3Com product without good cause. They may have one of the better telephony products on market, but if they can abandon customers once they can do it again... and I won't be burned twice.

As a network engineer with limited staff, I selected an end-to-end solution. This allowed me to maximize my resources while providing a state-of-the-art network for my users. Today I am forced to re-evaluate my network position. 3Com now directs high-end equipment customers to Extreme Networks, a four-year-old company that went IPO in Oct. 1999. My question is: Who will buy out Extreme and abandon their hardware platform? Relying on 3Com for network or telephony solutions is like playing with matches. You don't know when or how it will happen, you just know you're going to get your fingers burned.
-- Mark Church
Data/Voice Network Engineer, Stevens Healthcare

[return to the list]

The Future Of Video Chat

The following letter was received in response to Laura Guevin's March 10 online Points of Presence column "Is Seeing Enough To Believe Video Chat Will Succeed?":

In the long term, video chat is destined to succeed just as IP telephony has. The problems you experienced are similar to those experienced by early adopters of IP telephony, and just as in IP telephony those problems will disappear as the technology advances and is adopted by larger numbers of users (or when someone figures out how to turn a profit using it). Video conferencing never exploded (in my humble opinion) because it was ahead of it's time and also the infrastructure wasn't there for it. I've developed this belief through personal experience. In the past I've pitched Intel's ProShare technologies (the two higher-end versions, not the low-level consumer version). Now that IP telephony has paved the way and is pushing the build-up of the necessary infrastructure, video conferencing (that's the stuffy and "failed" label, "video chat" is so much more hip and cool!) will take it's place amongst the rest of the commonplace or even "everyday" communications technologies.

Video chat is here to stay. However, it remains to be seen how quickly it gets adopted by more than hobbyists and on a large scale. Faster than IP telephony? I don't think so. But not that far behind either.
-- Paul Wescott
NeTrue Communications, Inc., Fullerton, CA

[return to the list]

Setting The Review Record Straight

In response to the TMC Labs review of the Audibit S140 PC Handset (April, 2000):

Many thanks for the review, which was published on your Web site! It is a great review and we really appreciate you testing our product and publishing the review! There are, however, a couple of mistakes that I would like to inform about and hope that you could make a correction (Editor's note -- These corrections have been made on our Web site):

Then still a general comment. There was nothing mentioned in the article about the audio switching feature. It was written, "The handset comes with a plastic hook for 'hanging it up,' but really just stores it out of the way, as there are no moving parts on the unit." It is true that there are no moving parts, but the hook actually controls the audio switch with a built-in magnet: When the handset is on-hook, audio is connected to PC speakers, and when the handset is off-hook, audio is connected to the handset, and PC speakers are muted. This feature is pretty important, because most competing products do not have such a feature.
-- Mika Alamaki
Marketing Manager, Audibit Oy, Turku, Finland

[return to the list]

Telephony In Egypt

I commend you for your article ("Africa: Land Of Networking Opportunity,"). Finally someone has taken notice as to the potential of the African continent, with respect to communication infrastructure growth.

My only input is that those stats seemed to be for sub-saharan Africa only? North Africa has one of the fastest cellular telephony and Internet telephony growth markets in the world -- Egypt!

Obviously as a telephony and converged services company we are looking at the African market with intense interest; and certainly we see North, East and South Africa having the greatest appeal due to their political stability {relatively speaking!}

Keep up the PIONEERING work Laura!
-- Mohamed Bakheit

Laura Guevin responds:
You are correct: Egypt is certainly a fast-growing market for fixed-line and cellular service. According to the ITU, Egypt Telecom brought in the third highest revenues for public telecom operators in Africa in 1997 and had 3.4 million subscribers, trailing only Vodacom and the top-ranking Telkom in South Africa, which had 4.6 million subscribers. The government is also working to add more land lines, and the country now has three cellular providers. Egypt Telecom also works with Digitcom out of California to offer Internet telephony service between the U.S. and Egypt

I liked your article, especially since I have returned recently to Australia following a two-year stint in Africa for a USA telecom company. Some of the names in your story are very familiar...

Whilst there are many opportunities on the continent, the pervading problem I observed/dealt with surrounded attitudes of various folk in government departments. My comments, in general, are that many countries derive substantial revenue from the provision of telco services. Many also provide a poor (by first world standards) quality of service and inadequate deployment of networks. Therefore, competition in the western sense of providing consumer choice and consumer benefit is not an active consideration. In fact, I can cite national legislation precluding competition and enshrining a monopoly status to the incumbent (government) telco!

Often, the link between "donor money" and "government partnership" is manifest. Further, I observed three forms of Africa. First, the *Francophone countries*, then the *Sub-Saharan economies*, followed by the *Southern African* group dominated by the country, South Africa. Each has differing directions to resolving their problems.

These days, I telephone friends in Central Africa and feel elated IF the call gets through on the third attempt AND the call is bi-directional! The continent has a long way to go to recover from the economic devastation of European colonialism, but that history is another (long) story...
-- Robert Kopp
Business Development Manager
VisibleVoice Pty Ltd

[return to the list]

Technology Marketing Corporation

2 Trap Falls Road Suite 106, Shelton, CT 06484 USA
Ph: +1-203-852-6800, 800-243-6002

General comments: [email protected].
Comments about this site: [email protected].


© 2024 Technology Marketing Corporation. All rights reserved | Privacy Policy