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Celebrating One Year Of Blogging

Funny how things just sort of happen. In looking back through some emails I just discovered that it was one year ago today that I started writing this blog. At least that’s when I setup my account at WordPress.com. The first real post came perhaps a few days later.

This blog was back then an effort to set down in one place the answers to questions that I was fielding in a variety of public forums online. It was in essence born out of frustration that the same set of questions kept returning, each time meeting with answers from a different group of respondents, and with some variability in the nature of the answers. So I wanted to simply document what I have done. My own experience working from a home office full time over the past 10+ years.

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Polycom’s New SoundPoint IP450

It looks like our friends at Polycom have released a new phone, the SoundPoint IP450. This new model offers three line appearances and a new high-resolution, backlit gray-scale LCD. It also offers both wideband voice and the availability of the…

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A Little More Graphic Appreciation For Boingo

Today I was tasked with making a trip to the Los Angeles area. So I found myself on the way to the airport at 8am, counting my blessings that I didn’t need to take the extremely early first flight out of Houston, but rather the more sensible 9:30am departure. I get to the airport an hour before the flight and breeze through the security process with 45 minutes to get to my gate.

Normally I’d go to the President’s Club lounge for coffee, a bagel and a last minute check of email. Unlike many other airlines Continental provides free wifi in their lounges. Of course, you pay annually for the lounge membership.

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Wideband Telephony: Seeing What You Hear

As expected the VUC call on Nov 7 about wideband VoIP proved very interesting. It was well attended with a dozen participants on the ZipDX wideband bridge and another twenty on the Talkshoe narrowband conference bridge. Our guest, David Frankel of ZipDX, did a good job of introducing wideband telephony, it’s advantages and some of the issues surrounding its implementation.

We recorded the call in several places so that we have both wideband and narrowband recordings available for comparison after the fact. History has shown that many people download the conference recordings, even many months after the original conference date. It’s evidence of “the long tail” phenomenon that we hear about so often.

However, some people are very visual so I thought I’d bolster the archive recordings by doing some simple visual analysis of the spectral energy distribution in each type of call. Happily, Cool Edit Pro (now Adobe Audition) makes it really simple to generate both waveform and spectral views of an audio clip.

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First Look From Afar*: Aastra MBU 400 SIP/DECT System

Back in September Aastra made a few announcements, starting with a new SIP/DECT cordless phone solution targeting the SMB market. Designated the MBU 400 this new system is starting to show up in vendors catalogs. I recently found it listed at .E4 Strategies where availability is given as “Early November.” Furthermore, the retail price is given as $299 for the base and one handset with additional handsets $189 each.

Being a curious sort I downloaded the brochure and the manuals and gave them a quick look. The system certainly appears to be built on a platform from Denmark’s RTX Telecom. This is not at all surprising as they are a leader in the DECT space and OEM for many popular brand names. Snom’s m3 is built on RTX technology as is the as yet unreleased Polycom IP200W.

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How To Add a Cellular Trunk to Your VoIP System: Part 1

Originally published May 9, 2008 at www.smallnetbuilder.com

Our Asterisk based home/office phone system provides tremendous flexibility in handling our phone calls. It gave us the opportunity to migrate away from using analog phone lines from a traditional carrier. We now send and receive all calls via IP over our DSL. Of course, the monthly cost of our calling is a lot less. However, it’s not a prefect system – yet.

From the outset, we have worked to make the system more robust. This we have done in many ways, including providing various redundancies in hardware and configuration. Most recently, we have added a cellular trunk to ensure calling capability should our DSL service fail. The process involved in arriving at this decision has proven interesting.

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