IP Telephony – Voice over IP (VoIP)

At its simplest, IP Telephony is just a way to carry voice from one place to another. What makes it so revolutionary is not so much due to any technical advantages, but simply that it is based on inexpensive and popular networking standards. You can buy the hardware at your local computer store. The details […]

IP Telephony – The Emergence Of Data Networks

The technologies that run the internet were first developed in the 60s. The network could be built as a mesh of nodes, and information could be sent in more than one direction—routing. Also, connections between nodes could be shared with all the types of traffic passing through. This is analogous to the highway networks of […]

IP Telephony – Some History

Humans love to talk. Any discussion of IP Telephony needs to always keep first and foremost the understanding that the primary purpose for telephones is to allow us to talk to each other. It seems obvious, but this simple fact sometimes gets lost in technical details. Our vocal cords, tongue, lips and teeth allow us […]

The Best Phone Systems for Small Business Operations

The best phone systems for small business operations are generally those systems which offer lots of configuration flexibility (i.e. lots of useful features to choose from), but can be delivered as a simple solution. Traditionally, phone systems for smaller businesses lacked the features available to larger businesses (which of course also had larger budgets). This […]

What is a PBX system?

If one asks the question: What is a PBX System? One will typically get the answer: A Private Branch Exchange. What is more important of course is understanding what it does. The PBX emerged from a desire of businesses to reduce the cost of telephone services, coupled with a need for more control over how […]

Video Conferencing: Still not replacing the telephone

I’ve never been much of a fan of videoconferencing. While shows like Star Trek have set the expectation in us that ‘in the future, this is how people will communicate’, I don’t see any signs that we’ll ever be replacing all phones (or travel) with video. I have noted two problems with videoconferencing in the […]

Best Phone for Business

When you are looking to purchase phones for your business, you have to ask yourself one question first: Can I accept being locked into a single equipment manufacturer for the next 5-10 years? If the answer is ‘no’, then you need to ensure that the phones you purchase are standards-compliant. In the past, the model […]

Phone Systems For Small Business

Small businesses require flexible, feature-rich telephone services. In the past, this was a costly part of setting up a small business. Usually you would either have to spend thousands of dollars on a complex, proprietary PBX, or you would have to make do with a basic service from the phone company that might not cost […]

What Is VoIP: The Cultural Shift

Voice over IP is a significant technology, however it’s not because it represents any sort of technical advance over traditional voice, but rather because it is disruptive, and changes the game. In the past, telecom technology was a tightly-controlled, old-boys club, monopolized by large companies able to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars required […]

What Is VoIP?: The Basics

Remember the old phone network? You made a call, owned that connection for as long as you wanted it. Then this thing called VoIP came along. Promises of free phone calls, and all sorts of enhanced features, and all you needed was a PhD in Network Design to make it work (or maybe not work). […]

The Future of IVR

People hate talking to Bionic Betty. The IVR has become something that is universally disliked. Still, it has a future, and here’s why. When IVR systems first came into being, the costs to implement such a thing were astronomical. In order to justify the massive capital outlay such projects required, the ROI was often calculated […]

The Tipping Point for VoIP

VoIP technology makes it easy to interconnect between systems. It is likely that many VoIP enabled companies don’t even realize that all the technology already exists to route calls across internet connections using the same numbering plan the PSTN uses. Initiatives such as ENUM have already developed the protocols to handle this, and if you […]

Open source telecom: quietly taking over

Those of us head-down in this business of open source and emerging telecom will sometimes lose sight of the big picture. So busy with the day-to-day routine of running our respective businesses, we need to raise our eyes from the grindstone every now and then and have a look at the landscape. A study recently […]

Nortel and SipFoundry – label me sceptical

The recent announcement that Nortel purchased Pingtel and SipFoundry has left me with mixed emotions. On the one hand, it is good to see that the big boys in the telecom industry are taking open source telecom seriously. Congratulations to the SipFoundry team for having produced something of such obvious quality that they were the […]

YATE Conferencing Server – too easy!

I just finished getting YATE up and running as a conference server. Despite the lean documentation, I was impressed by how little I had to do to get it working. I would expect that implementing more powerful features such as admin control and scheduling is going to require a bit more work, but it was […]

ClueCon is done for another year

I just got home from ClueCon 2008 last night. It’s the second time for me to be at that conference, and I was just as pleased as I was the first time. This is the conference where all the best brains in open source telecom go, so if you want to meet as many of […]

Asterisk, Freeswitch, YATE, sipXecs . . . what to choose?

It seems that recently a lot of open source projects have emerged with excellent pedigree. In a nutshell, Mighty Asterisk has got some competition. FreeSwitch has recently released their first non-beta version (which is already 1.0.1), and their community is exploding. FreeSwitch has performance capabilities that are very impressive, and if you are a developer […]

Freeswitch and Lua: this is getting interesting

As someone who only knows one programming language (REXX), I was always paralyzed by trying to figure out what one to learn next. Perl, PHP, Ruby, Python; I’ve tried them all, and while I basically get what’s going on, I find that the time required to actually do anything useful is simply more than I’m […]

ClueCon is coming up

I am looking forward to ClueCon in a few weeks. They always have a good mix of smart people there, and they’re not afraid to take of the gloves and say what they’re really thinking. If you are into open source telecom development, you need to be at ClueCon.

FreeSwitch is gaining traction

I’ve been keeping a half an eye on the FreeSwitch project since it started, and a big change I have noticed in the last few weeks is that activity on the mailing list has really begun to heat up. It should be interesting to see what sorts of things people are doing with this new […]