Thursday, April 27, 2006

Welcome Copper Customers

When this blog first started at the beginning of the year we covered the very basics of VoIP and have kind of moved on from there. But for those of you who maybe brand new to VoIP I will repost the FAQ posts I had done earlier. Do not let the technology scare you. Plenty of people are using it. Hope these help. Be sure to check out VoIP Discounts for the best deals on ECR Voice.

What is Voice Over IP?
Voice Over IP (VoIP) allows you to make telephone calls using a computer network, over a data network like the Internet. VoIP converts the voice signal from your telephone into a digital signal that travels over the internet then converts it back at the other end so you can speak to anyone with a regular phone number. When placing a VoIP call using a phone with an adapter, you'll hear a dial tone and dial just as you always have. VoIP may also allow you to make a call directly from a computer using a conventional telephone or a microphone.
What are the advantages of Voice over IP?
The obvious answer is price. You can often get VoIP service and your broadband service for less than your regular phone bill alone. Also, you get many of the features that the phone services nickel and dime you for, for free.! This is in most cases, some service still try to make an extra buck on some features so be sure to ask. Voice over IP service can also give you features just not available with standard phone service. Some examples are voice mail to email and the ability to take your phone number with you. Take your phone number with you? That's right. Simply take your phone adapter with you and plug it into a highspeed connection in your hotel, friend, or family's house and you phone number is hooked up there with you.
Can I keep my number?
Okay now we start this week with some the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about VoIP. Probably the number one concern with most people who are thinking about switching to a Voice Over IP provider is "Can I keep my number?" The answer is yes!! Usually most providers will assign you a temporary number to your box at first. Then you will simply fill out a form for the new provider who will use that to get the number from you existing phone company. This is called porting your number. If you are planning to port your number to NOT cancel your existing service right away. Wait until you get confirmation from your VoIP provider that they have ported your number. Otherwise your current phone company may give you number away to someone else. It is pretty much the same process if you are afraid you may go back to the standard land line after VoIP. So there are no worries, if you take the proper steps, about losing your number.
If I plug my phone into my box, does that mean I have only one phone I can answer?
There are two ways to get around this. The first one takes a little doing. You take the phone line from the back of your voip box and plug it directly into the wall jack. You then go outside to the box coming in from the phone company and disconnect their line coming in. Then just like that all your jacks are now ready for VoIP service. The second answer is a little easier. You get expandable cordless phones. Only the base phone needs to be plugged into a jack. The rest need only an outlet and satellite the phone service off the base phone. This is a great and easy way to expand your phones to anywhere in the house.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Gizmo Project Now Includes VoIP Conferencing

Gizmo Project uses your Internet connection to make calls to other computers. With the click of a mouse, you’re connected to friends, family, and colleagues anywhere on earth. You talk clearly for as long as you want — for free.

As business uptake of Web-based calling grows, among the features users are increasingly looking for is conference capability. To address this demand, Gizmo Project has enhanced its VoIP services by tapping Vapps, a provider of VoIP conference calling solutions, for its conferencing platform in order to offer free worldwide conference calling services to Gizmo users.

Vapps provides a carrier-class system for service providers and large enterprises to deliver high-quality reservationless, attended and operator assisted conferencing solutions. The solution is based on the company’s Conference Bridge 1000 (CB1000), a SIP-based conferencing platform that offers customized conferencing on a customer by customer basis both on legacy TDM and newer IP-based telecom systems.

“We chose Vapps’ conference calling platform because of the incredible simplicity the service brings to Gizmo users,” said Michael Robertson, founder of Project Gizmo. “Traditional conference calling has never been as easy as simply typing in a Web address and connecting up to 500 users in minutes.”

With the Vapps VoIP conference calling solution, Gizmo subscribers can connect multiple users over the Internet for cost-effective and reliable conference calls. All the features of a traditional conference calling service are available through Gizmo’s Web site.

Developed by SIPphone, Gizmo Project is capable of delivering its VoIP service via broadband or dial-up connections. Gizmo also offers inexpensive add-ons like Call In and Call Out, which allow users to connect via a landline handset.

“The addition of our advanced conference calling platform to Gizmo's package of service offerings gives consumers a one-stop-shop for Internet calling,” said Ben Lilienthal, CEO and co-founder of Vapps.

Erik Linask is Associate Editor of INTERNET TELEPHONY. Most recently, he was Managing Editor at Global Custodian, an international securities services publication. To see more of his articles, please visit
Erik Linask’s columnist page.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Citel Enables Gradual Enterprise VoIP Migration

By Johanne Torres
TMCnet Contributing Editor

Citel introduced today the EXTender IP6000, a system that enables enterprises with multiple locations to gradually migrate their telecommunications to an IP telephony-based network.

With the EXTender products in place, businesses will be able to connect remote call centers, home workers, and branch offices to a central digital PBX over an IP network. The system offers reduced telecom operating costs, single voicemail and call center applications, central reception, and four-digit dialing throughout the enterprise.

As the business prepares to complete the migration to SIP, the EXTender IP6000 can be software-upgraded to accommodate the premises or service provider hosted IP PBX, integrating the existing handset and wiring infrastructure at each location. This process allows businesses to experience a smoother migration to SIP telephony in the future, without having to replace existing infrastructure.

"Although the market for new telephony infrastructure is shifting rapidly toward IP, many enterprises with existing PBX infrastructure require a more solid business case for immediate migration to VoIP," said Mike Robinson, CEO of Citel in a statement. "The EXTender IP6000 addresses this reality across a multitude of PBX platforms. This solution provides an immediately cost-effective and productivity enhancing business case as the first step, followed by a simple, flexible path to complete the migration to IP telephony in the future."

Monday, April 24, 2006

Congrats Tom!!!!

Tom's Hacked photo of Megan Lyn

Proud Dad (Tom K.) and his new girl Megan Lyn

Trouble in the tropics: Belize telco accused of blocking VoIP

For the last few months, VoIP users in Belize have been up in arms at what they perceive to be an organized effort by Belize Telecommunications Limited to block outgoing calls over Vonage, Skype and other Internet phone service providers.

Online forums have bristled with frustrated posts. The Vonage Forum has a busy thread on the subject. And last Friday, the Belize Free Internet Consortium posted this:

Have you been a regular user of Skype, Vonage, SpeakEasy, VerizonSpeak and others? Noticed that lately you've been experiencing trouble connecting and utilizing these services? Silent moments, repeated sounds, buzzes?Here's the good news: it's almost certainly fixable. The bad news? WE MUST lobby the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to fix it.VoIP customers around the world are discovering that their calls cannot be connected because telecom companies (like BTL) are blocking the movement of such traffic across the net.

It turns out that BTL has jammed the signal on VoIP (voice over internet protocol). They have gone as far as jamming chat and messenger programs like GoogleTalk, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Voice and other. What this means, simply, is that BTL is mandating what you should and should not do with your internet connection.

This continues to create a monopoly which BTL should no longer have and forces us to continue to pay exorbitant prices per minute for international calls. It is unwarranted for Belizeans to be held hostage by one company who already makes a substantial profit with fixed lines, cellular services, Internet fee and various other services.

The BTIA would like your assistance in surveying the effects of BTL's actions on providing your products and services. Once we have ascertained the extent of effect, we will forward an official position to the PUC.

Well, on Wednesday, the Belize PUC will hold a hearing on the matter. Expect to hear from some very influential people, such as Andrew Godoy, director of the Belize Tourism Industry Association. “The Board is appalled by the actions of BTL,” Godoy tells the San Pedro, Belize Sun. "We have heard from many of our constituents and this is negatively impacting their business."

Friday, April 14, 2006

Make VoIP Tracking A Breeze

eTelemetry Introduces Locate911, A Low-Cost e911 Compliance Solution

More and more businesses are deploying VoIP telephony because of perceived cost and productivity benefits. Under FCC rules, each business must know where those VoIP phones are and who is assigned to each phone at all times. So if you’re contemplating VoIP and want to minimize the tasks for compliance with the FCC’s e911 mandate, a look at a product called Locate911 is advised.

Locate911 is a plug-and-play appliance from eTelemetry that provides real-time VoIP location tracking by automatically linking the VoIP phone to building/room and person.

Contact info is dynamically pulled from the organization’s system of record and may be shared with your call management system or other enterprise solutions via XML Web services. This provides the accurate ALI (Automatic Location Identification) the FCC requires for e911 compliance.

Managers can lock a phone to a specific location (for example, the phone will not work if it is moved)—or they can configure Locate911 to email the assigned end user when the device is moved. The end user must then approve the move and verify the location of the IP phone before the phone will work again. In this way, IP phone losses are reduced, and the location of the phone is always known without devoting staff time to the effort of tracking assets and administering changes manually.

Installation is quick and easy. When the appliance is connected and VoIP phone documentation is loaded, Locate911 automatically discovers all phone locations. The data is available on a searchable, exportable database that includes the phone IP address, MAC address, network switch and port, physical location, and all contact information for the assigned user.

The Locate911 price is $2,995 with unlimited licenses.

Competing products include Redsky Technology's E911 Manager (www.redskytech.com) and Cisco Systems’ CallManager Emergency Responder (www.cisco.com), which only works with CallManager and Cisco’s equipment. Both products handle traditional as well as VoIP telephony but do not provide asset tracking capability (no locking down or asset change verification), and each is significantly more expensive than Locate911. Total costs for a 100-license E911 Manager installation are close to $10,000. Costs for a 100-license Emergency Responder installation are about $4,600, not counting fees for auditing and installation.

by Alan Petraske

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Low awareness of voice over IP costs smaller firms dear

Over three-quarters of managers at smaller firms have limited or no understanding of voice over IP (VoIP) technology. This lack of knowledge could collectively be costing them up to £1bn ($1.7bn)a year in unnecessary call and equipment costs.

A survey of 522 small to medium-sized enterprises by communications specialist Inclarity in February found that of those questioned, the 12 percent making voice calls over the internet had seen their annual communications bills fall by 23 percent.

IT costs had fallen by 13 percent, largely through the convergence of separate voice and data networks that yielded savings on the cost of equipment, said Inclarity marketing manager David Larkin.

The majority of respondents were using VoIP solutions from providers such as Viatel and Vonage. Larkin believes that the relatively poor quality of peer-to-peer consumer services such as Skype have caused many managers to think twice about deploying any form of the technology.

"Worries about security and performance have to be addressed. Skype and other services have been good at raising awareness [about VoIP] but they also cloud the true business quality of VoIP," he said.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Demand for VoIP to double by nearly 2 million people

Its no surprise to see that a new report has found that the use of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is set to double in the next 12 months.

Currently about 1.8 million people in the UK use or have tried VoIP, this figure is set to double with 1.8 million NEW users expected to take up the service in the next 12 months.

Its suggested that this doubling of demand is driven by people having such positive experiences using VoIP technology. Continental associate director
James Myring said that “Most users are quite satisfied and will use it more in the future”.

The report also looked into the most popular VoIP providers and again its no surprise to see the top slot with 48% of all called being made using Skype (bought by eBay for £2.9bn last year) and second place going to Microsoft’s MSN Messenger.

Skype’s dominance in this market will not be left unchallenged by BT, who will be concerned about losing market share from its fixed line business and will no doubt market its own VoIP on a large scale.

Most VoIP calls are free to other users as long as the recipients use the same software, calls to different VoIP providers, landlines and mobile phones are chargeable at rates of around 2p per minute.

With the quality of the service growing and better VoIP phones coming on to the market, its no surprise to see the use of VoIP grow so much so fast.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bootcamp - Mac and Windows !!!

This is not directly VoIP related but Bootcamp seems to be the biggest technology news of the day...

More and more people are buying and loving Macs. To make this choice simply irresistible, Apple will include technology in the next major release of Mac OS X, Leopard, that lets you install and run the Windows XP operating system on your Mac. Called Boot Camp (for now), you can download a public beta today.

As elegant as it gets

Boot Camp lets you install Windows XP without moving your Mac data, though you will need to bring your own copy to the table, as Apple Computer does not sell or support Microsoft Windows.(1) Boot Camp will burn a CD of all the required drivers for Windows so you don't have to scrounge around the Internet looking for them.

Once you’ve completed Boot Camp, simply hold down the option key at startup to choose between Mac OS X and Windows. (That’s the “alt” key for you longtime Windows users.) After starting up, your Mac runs Windows completely natively. Simply restart to come back to Mac.

What you’ll need:

Mac OS X Tiger v10.4.6 (check Software Update)
The latest Firmware update (check
Support Downloads)
10GB free hard disk space
An
Intel-based Mac
A blank recordable CD
A printer for the instructions (You’ll want to print them before installing Windows, really.)
A bona fide installation disc for Microsoft Windows XP, Service Pack 2, Home or Professional (No multi-disc, upgrade or Media Center versions.)