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February 2007
Volume 10 / Number 2

Defining the Future

By Hunter Newby, VoIPeering

Packet Island Unveils New Micro-Appliance
By Patrick Barnard

Packet Island (news - alert) introduced its first VoIP “micro-appliance,” a nifty little device that lets network operators, service providers and VARs monitor and troubleshoot VoIP networks with speed and ease.

Housed in a 4” x 4.5” silver-colored, brushed aluminum case, the micro-appliance is based on Packet Island’s “PacketSmart” network monitoring and troubleshooting solution, which helps operators properly prioritize voice packets over other data. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution (which is hosted at a Tier 1 data center) is also used for pre-assessing networks for VoIP readiness.

Among its key features, the micro-appliance offers “fail-safe operation” (no network disruption even during power failure); the ability to work in front of NAT firewalls; the ability to work with mirrored switch ports; VLAN support; and an LCD display for easy use. Geared for the SMB market, the device also includes several firmware enhancements to further simplify “plugand- play” operation in a plethora of network environments.

“Deploying VoIP over pre-existing data networks is a big challenge that many of our VoIP service provider and VAR customers face today,” said Praveen Kumar, co-founder and president of Packet Island. “Troubleshooting VoIP quality problems adds even more complexity to this challenge, because of the need to understand the SMB customer’s internal network. Since our micro-appliance is essential in this troubleshooting process, we’ve taken extra effort to make it easily deployable in a vast variety of SMB network configurations.”


LCG Releases Worldlink Pro Web Conferencing Solution
By Patrick Barnard

Live Conference Group (LCG) has introduced a new Web-based video conferencing and collaboration solution called “Worldlink Pro.” (news - alert) The fully integrated solution combines audio, video, and Web conferencing into a single interface. With the appropriate hardware, including PCs, Web cams, and monitors, Worldlink Pro lets users “run sales and product information meetings, train large audiences, collaborate over critical business issues, communicate with dispersed groups, and record real time demonstrations locally, nationally and around the world through computer-to-computer technology.”

The software sports many essential features, including automated and full screen PowerPoint presenter; built-in hands free, full duplex VoIP technology; integrated VoIP; live meeting audio and video recording; and synchronized Web page scrolling. Session recordings can be stored and later accessed on an as needed basis.

Worldlink Pro comes with technical support and training provided by LCG. Best of all, companies can scale the solution to meet their specific needs — and pricing is based on the number and size of the meeting rooms needed.



Faster Access for Mobile Users from UTStarcom
By Erik Linask

UTStarcom (news - alert) has been developing handsets and other IP access products for more than a decade. Its popular PC5740 PC card has enabled millions of users to use access the Internet and business networks while on the train, at an airport, or from a hotel room. Building on the success of that card, UTStarcom has announced the availability in the United States of a faster and higher capacity version, the PC5750.

The PC5750 is a dual band (800/1900 MHz) CDMA2000 1xEV-DO wireless Type II PC card that is compatible with EV-DO Rev. A. The new card boasts a 30% increase in download speed — up to 3.1 Mbps — as well as a memory capacity of 64 MB Flash/32 MB RAM, which is eight times that of the company’s previous cards.

The PC5750 also includes the latest in security features, including a CDMA wireless technology authentication and identification security system, and Mobile Identification Number (MIN) and Electronic Serial Number (ESN). Combined, these features virtually guarantee unauthorized users will not be able to intercept valuable information.

With the lightweight PC card, which fits into a standard laptop PCMCIA slot, wireless customers do not have to wait to find a WiFi signal for connecting. Instead, they can connect to their wireless carrier’s data network — to check email, sure the Web, access their office network, and make VoIP calls — wherever they are.


Zultys-BandTel Partnership Back on Track
By Patrick Barnard

Like the Phoenix from the ashes, VoIP equipment maker Zultys Technologies (news - alert) is set to rise again. The company — which appears to be getting back on track after filing for bankruptcy in July 2006 and then being purchased by Pivot VoIP during a liquidation auction for about $2.65 million late last year — announced that it has re-established its relationship with SIP trunking solutions provider BandTel.

More exactly, BandTel (news - alert) announced that Zultys’ MX30 and MX250 IP PBX media exchange systems are now fully compatible with its fault-tolerant, scalable SIP Trunking architecture. The interoperability represents a re-birth of the fledgling relationship between the two companies — which both primarily serve VoIP service providers, valueadded resellers, contact centers and enterprise customers.

The interoperability between Zultys’ MX30 and MX 250 voice systems and BandTel’s SIP trunking architecture means BandTel’s enterprise and contact center customers can now use Zultys’ solutions to save money and gain new efficiencies. Conversely, it also enables Zultys’ channel partners to expand their VoIP capabilities, using BandTel’s SIP trunking solutions, and thus provide consumers with failsafe, cost-effective and flexible VoIP solutions.

“By merging our fail-safe architecture and high Quality of Service with Zultys’ powerful IP communications systems, we can provide customers with a cost-saving solution and enhance our VAR’s service offerings while simultaneously increasing their profit margins,” said Chris Dunk, CEO of BandTel.


Polycom Enhances Meetings with HD Telepresence Solutions
By Stefania Viscusi

In a bid to make meetings more life-like and productive, Polycom has announced the Polycom (news - alert) RealPresecnce Experience High Definition (RPX HD) telepresence solutions.

The solution makes both the audio and visual aspect of communications clearer and more personal and is able to display on lower bandwidths. With a full cinematic view of the other room, including wall displays (8-16 ft. wide) in each room and utilizing special blending of images from multiple HD cameras as well as EyeConnect technology, so people are looking directly at the person they are speaking to, the technology makes it as though users are in the same room during a meeting. This is especially important when mergers and acquisitions occur or meetings where face-to-face interactions are necessary.

Microphones in the ceiling of the rooms and acoustic walls combined with Polycom’s Siren22 StereoSurround sound technology help perfect sound delivered during the meetings and enhance the lifelike aspect by directing sound as it does in the actual room.

With the solution, users are also able to send multimedia content to attendees virtually via personal content monitors integrated into the conference table. “Polycom RPX HD systems erase the distances between teams, making them highly efficient and productive,” said Robert Hagery, chairman and CEO at Polycom. “Polycom RPX HD provides video conferencing customers with an interoperable telepresence solution that uses bandwidth efficiently, adds value to their existing investments, and a solution that can call the million other video conferencing systems in use today.”


Panasonic Intros 2-Line Hybrid Landline/VoIP Cordless Phone
By Johanne Torres

Electronics manufacturing giant Panasonic announced its Globarange hybrid 2-Line cordless telephone with VoIP broadband technology, a device which will provide free calling between users globally.

Panasonic’s (quote - news - alert) Globarange phone is a Hybrid 2-Line, which allows calls to be made and received via both the VoIP line and regular landline connection from any of up to eight cordless handsets. The new device seems to be a good option for users wanting to keep a landline service for 911 access or fax compatibilities.

“Our Globarange phones offer a new option for consumers by unifying both technologies. With Globarange, users can seamlessly make and receive calls as well as screen and record incoming messages on either line from a single handset,” said Panasonic’s telephone national marketing manager Wayne Borg.

Globarange’s phone base is comprised of a standard phone jack for regular phone service, as well as an Ethernet jack to connect to Broadband service. The device needs not to be connected to a PC in order to work like any other phone.


VoIP Users Should Be Alarmed
By Erik Linask

NextAlarm, (news - alert) which enables alarm systems to work over broadband connections — which has traditionally been an issue for alarm system owners without a POTS line — has widened its reach. Its new VoIPAlarm program allows resellers to private label the NextAlarm service — both its front-end ATA as well as its back-end monitoring infrastructure — so the end user gains the benefits of NextAlarm’s services without having to switch service providers (or alarm systems, as NextAlarm is compatible with most existing systems).

NextAlarm has also enhanced its services with its new V-Notify service, which is essentially an inbound customer access service combined with an industry first, an outbound IVR system that contacts the user at a specified phone number when an event occurs, whether it’s an emergency or non-emergency event. Then — and this is particularly useful for the company’s NetAlarm customers — the system provides the option of connecting the user directly to local emergency services.

“Our goal at NextAlarm has always been to put the customer in control of their security systems and give them more options to choose from,” said Alex Elliot, NextAlarm’s founder and CEO. “Our new automated IVR system certainly helps give the customer control over their home’s business’ security system.”

The inbound feature allows users to dial in from any phone to access their system. They can hear whether their system is armed or disarmed; they can enable or cancel test mode; and they can listen to their recent alarm activity. In addition, ABN customers can actually interact with their system to arm, disarm, listen in to a room, and more.

These features are offered as an electronic system that is not only cheaper for the user, but also offers considerably more control over who gets contacted and how, and under what circumstances. In fact, in addition to the traditional emergency notification features, NextAlarm’s IP-based system enables additional functionality, such as presence monitoring.


Sphere Partners With CXtec to Expand Distribution of Sphericall IP PBX
By Mae Kowalke

Sphere Communications (news - alert) announced a partnership with network equipment provider CXtec, (news - alert) which will expand distribution of Sphere’s Sphericall product to the education, healthcare, and enterprise markets. CXtec chose Spehre’s product to expand its networking solutions portfolio thanks to Sphericall’s multi-vendor compatibility, which makes it very adaptable to customer needs.

Of particular significance to CXtec, Sphericall is certified interoperable with Polycom’s IP telephones, another product line that forms a key part of the company’s portfolio. When combined, Sphere and Polycom’s products deliver an integrated desktop unified communications solution.

“The ability to now deliver flexible business communications on top of integrated networking products, allows CXtec to provide complete solutions tailored to the needs of each customer,” Sphere president Graeme Robinson explained.

“The unified communications capabilities will increase our efficiency and improve our customer service,” said Tom Brown, director of finance and IT at Clyde Bergemann EEC, which is already experiencing the benefits of the combined solution. “Sphere’s flexibility and pricing model will allow us to grow our system as we grow our company.”


8x8 Launches FoIP Service
By Johanne Torres

8x8’s (news - alert) residential subscribers will now be able to send faxes over IP (FoIP). The voice and video provider officially launched the Packet8 Freedom Fax service for the residential market.

Freedom Fax subscribers can now send up to 300 minutes of outgoing faxes and receive unlimited minutes of incoming faxes for less than 10 bucks a month, with a one-time activation fee of $29.99. Additional U.S./Canada outgoing fax minutes cost 3.5 cents per minute with outgoing International faxes billed at Packet8 international rates.

The new service is based on the T.38 International Telecommunications Union (ITU) standard for sending faxes across IP networks in “real-time” mode. The company says its new service also offers increased fax transmission speeds.

According to 8x8, the Packet8 Freedom Fax level of transmission it’s much more reliable than other VoIP services which utilize the G.711 voice codec to transmit faxes. The company pointed out that G.711 codec, which has mainly been used for voice rather than data communication, is usually associated with latency and jitter.


IBM Unveils Virtual Fabric Architecture for BladeCenter
By Niladri Sekhar Nath

In a bid to help increase speed and efficiency of data transfer across blade servers and networks, IBM (quote - news - alert) has introduced ‘Virtual Fabric Architecture’ — the latest interconnect technologies and management tools for the BladeCenter H system.

Web 2.0, IPTV, online gaming, and business technologies such as quad-core processing and virtualization are fast becoming quite popular. Such services need high-bandwidth interconnect technologies to move data traffic across high-capacity networks. IBM BladeCenter H offers that much-needed increased bandwidth needed by providing businesses up to ten times the capacity to move data across their networks.

“IBM has installed more than half a million BladeCenter systems for customers and maintained a durable infrastructure platform by delivering new technology advances that remain compatible with IBM’s original design innovation,” said Doug Balog, vice president and business line executive, IBM BladeCenter. “With this announcement it is clear that IBM has uniquely architected all facets of I/O to work as a central nervous system for IBM BladeCenter, delivering the optimal interconnection between blades, chassis, switches and our client’s external networks.”


SpectraLink Extends WiFi Telephony with NetLink Softphone Application
By Johanne Torres

Wireless telephony provider SpectraLink (news - alert) announced it has extended its WiFi telephony capabilities to third-party mobile devices by introducing the NetLink Softphone (NetLink SP) application.

The NetLink SP application allows voice-enabled mobile devices to work as full-featured business phones integrated with an enterprise phone system. NetLink SP operates as a thin client, which works both over the wireless LAN and on the handheld device.

The mobile application runs on both Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0, and PocketPC operating systems. It works in conjunction with SpectraLink’s NetLink Telephony Gateway using SpectraLink Radio Protocol (SRP), a protocol which provides voice over converged wireless networks.

The NetLink Telephony Gateway’s digital interface technology extends the features and functions of a company’s telephone switch, such as call transfer, conferencing and voicemail integration, to the end-user device. The NetLink SP softphone also supports text messaging through SpectraLink’s Open Application Interface (OAI), integrating with applications such as customer service call boxes and inventory management systems.


Skype Founders Launch Joost Internet TV
By Johanne Torres

VoIP (define - news - alert) service provider Skype co-founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis introduced Joost, (news - alert) a new Internet-based television service. The new company, which was formerly known under the code name “The Venice Project,” is now currently available in private beta testing.

Joost can be accessed with a broadband Internet connection and offers broadcast-quality content to viewers for free. According to the company’s news release, Joost is powered by a secure, “piracyproof” Internet platform, which guarantees copyright protection for content owners and creators.

“People are looking for increased choice and flexibility in their TV experience, while the entertainment industry needs to retain control over their content,” said Fredrik de Wahl, chief executive officer of Joost in a statement. “With Joost, we’ve married that consumer desire with the industry’s interests.”

It looks as if the service will be concentrated on interactivity, as it will be a very community-driven environment where members pick and choose what they watch. Members will also be able to chat while they pull up and watch their favorite programs.




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