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Talking with Jim Becker, AMTELCO

By: Richard “Zippy” Grigonis

AMTELCO (, founded way back in 1976, has a vigorous business involving both call center and telephony innovations. They formed their XDS CTI (News - Alert) Boards Division ( in Madison, Wisconsin in 1980, which now designs, manufactures, and markets telephony interface boards, conferencing boards, multi-chassis interconnection boards, BRI boards, and analog port boards in various formats (MVIP, SCSA, H.100 PCI, and H.110 CompactPCI (News - Alert)).

AMTELCO XDS also modifies these boards for special applications. XDS technology can be found in many solutions for central offices, call centers, wireless switching platforms, and conferencing platforms.

AMTELCO’s success resulted in no small part from the efforts of Jim Becker, Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Director of the XDS division, who joined the company in 1985. Becker, working with other skilled XDS colleagues such as Paul Henning and Bill Curtin, cleverly steered clear of the crowded world of voice board makers and instead skillfully led the company through the development of telephone interfaces and switching that weren’t available from other vendors: its two and four-wire E&M tie line boards, then to its PC switching resources, multi-chassis interconnection, BRI ISDN boards specifically for central offices, mammoth conferencing boards and then on to e-business software.

AMTELCO XDS has now entered the world of open source telephony by announcing Asterisk (News - Alert) support for their AMTELCO XDS Boards. AMTELCO provides developers with channel drivers that enable developers to call upon AMTELCO’s high density and highly reliable analog and digital telephony boards in their Asterisk-based applications. AMTELCO software driver packages are distributed free of charge to XDS customers, with open source code for the driver and all supporting applications.

RG: What are the boards AMTELCO has adapted to open source telephony?

JB: AMTELCO XDS offers the H.100 PCI 4 and 8-span E1/T1 boards. The 4-span board supports 128 ports of conferencing, 128 full duplex voice record/playback channels, 128 ports of call analysis and two analog inputs for music-on-hold. The 8-span supports 256 full duplex voice record/playback channels, 256 ports of call analysis, and two analog inputs for music-on-hold. We also offer the H.100 8-Port E&M for interfacing to military and police radio applications, the 12 and 24 Port Loop Start and the 24-port Station Port boards. The E1/T1 along with the E&M and Loop Start boards are being used by several of our developers in open source applications.

RG: Will AMTELCO ever produce an open source-only product?

JB: We rely on input from our developers to help map out our product development. AMTELCO XDS does work with developers to provide custom application boards. Until now we have not had a request from them to produce a product solely for open source, but we are in preliminary discussions with one major developer to create such a product for a future project. At the present time our developers really like our open source solution. The AMTELCO XDS open source solution provides ease of implementation, excellent reliability and high density — all of which seem to be seem to be important to our developers.

RG: Do you expect open source to be big business? How do you see its future?

JB: Yes, we have seen a definite upswing in open source developments. There is a movement in the marketplace because of the versatility and low entry costs associated with open source. However, popular as it is, not all applications involve Asterisk. Such is the viability and popularity of open source that we have had requests from our developers for other open source platforms. As its name implies, open source technology is subject to diversification and evolution by its ever-growing community. That’s what makes it so dynamic and interesting.

RG: AMTELCO seems to be pretty good as spanning both TDM and IP worlds.

JB: Funny you should say that. We just introduced our new XDS VoIP board, an aggressively-priced H.100 and T1/E1 TDM-to-VoIP gateway. The XDS H.100 PCI VoIP board includes two 1-gigabit Ethernet ports, and four T1/E1 ports with PRI, ISDN 30, and Q.SIG protocols available. The board presently supports G.711, G.723, G.729A, G.729B, G.729A/B (News - Alert) and G.726. We like to build products that work in today’s hybrid network. IT


Open Source News
Sangoma Acquires Paraxip
Sangoma Technologies (News - Alert) Corporation announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire all of the shares of Paraxip Technologies Inc. for $4.8 million. Paraxip is a leading developer of IP connectivity software that empowers the deployment of IP Telephony applications. The integration of Paraxip’s SIP based NetBorder suite into Sangoma’s product line provides Sangoma with a growth path that includes the Unified Communications (News - Alert) market, IP contact centers, commercial interactive voice response solutions and other SIP-based telephony markets.
Pentaho First to Bring Business Intelligence Suite to iPhone (News - Alert)
Pentaho, the commercial open source alternative for business intelligence (BI), has announced the availability of a new Pentaho iPhone application, saying that it provides native iPhone web navigation of Pentaho BI content. The integration was developed using the iUI project, currently hosted on Google (News - Alert) Code. According to company officials, the new iPhone BI extension from Pentaho offers an intuitive way for business users to access and navigate business intelligence information.
Rumor: T-Mobile to Intro Google Android (News - Alert) Phone with 3G Wireless Network
Rumor has it that T-Mobile USA is planning to include a Google Android phone in its nationwide third-generation wireless network launch later this year. According to IT writers who track developments in the world of blogging, T-Mobile (News - Alert) is set to offer service in some 20-plus cities starting October 1.

T-Mobile began offering 3G service in New York City in May. Company officials said then that they’d introduce the service in other markets by the end of the year. T-Mobile also has said it will be offering an Android handset later this year, which many believe will be the HTC (News - Alert) Dream. But until now, the 3G network launch and the availability of the Android handset were not linked.
NetGEAR Launches Open Source Wireless G Router
NETGEAR has launched the Open Source Wireless-G Router (WGR614L), a full-featured wireless router designed to serve as a reliable, high-performance platform to support a broad range of applications created by the open source community. The “Works with Windows Vista” certified high-performance WGR614L features a 240 MHz MIPS32 CPU core with 16 KB of instruction cache, 16 KB of data cache, and 1 KB of pre-fetch cache. The Router incorporates 4 MB of flash memory and 16 MB of RAM. The WGR614L integrates an external 2 dBi antenna, and a second internal diversity antenna to provide enhanced performance and range. The WGR614L currently supports free open source Linux-based Tomato and DD-WRT firmware and will soon support OpenWRT.
SMB Market is Fertile Ground for Open Source Telephony Vendors
The SMB sector is a natural target market for open source telephony applications in terms of both scale and cost, according to a new report published by Frost & Sullivan, entitled “European Open Source Telephony Market.” In comparison to larger businesses, small businesses are less cautious and more open to new solutions, the report notes. The report finds that in the European Union (EU), which has approximately 20 million SMBs, the SMB sector holds enormous potential for open source telephony vendors. The report suggests that solutions targeted at the SMB sector should be affordable and have functionalities relevant for SMBs.
Openmoko Ships Open Source Mobile Phone
Openmoko announced today that it’s signed agreements with five distributors for the “Neo Freerunner” open source mobile phone. Openmoko is starting to ship the next-generation Neo Freerunner to Pulster, Golden Delicious Computers and TRIsoft, located in Germany, Bearstech in France, and IDA (News - Alert) Systems, based in India. The new Openmoko phone will ship with a basic developer platform, company officials say. Subsequent software can be downloaded from the Openmoko developer site. Distributors will offer either the 850 MHz or 900 MHz models of the Neo Freerunner to accommodate telecommunications frequencies, according to the company.


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