Peace In VoIPland: Bridging the SIP & Skype Kingdoms

opensky_logoLast year a number of people lead a charge to get Skype to open their network to greater interoperability with the open standards-based VoIP world. Gizmo5’s Michael Robertson, ever the instigator, was perhaps the most vocal of the group. Various others weighed in with opinions, including such notables as Dan York, Andy Abramson, Phil Wolff, Alec Saunder & others. At the time it sounded not unlike Mr Reagan telling Mr Gorbachev to “tear down these walls.”

Then word came out of Astricon that Digium had forged a partnership with Skype. The result would be “Skype For Asterisk,” a channel module allowing the integration of Skype into the leading open source IP-PBX platform. A great cheer went up all around VoIP-land. There was much rejoicing.

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FWD’s Dan Berninger On HDVoice

GigaOm has a nice guest post by FWD’s Dan Berninger. Dan describes the benefits of wideband voice encoding, as well as the obstacles to its more widespread acceptance. He rightly points to internet connected devices as being the only way to reap the benefits of wideband voice.

I’m happy to say that in the past year members of VUC have started adopting wideband telephony. From the time when I first reviewed the Polycom IP550 & IP650 to now more and more people are wideband capable, having decided to invest in the hardware themselves. We will soon have access to the Siemens Gigaset range in the US, which include some wideband capable DECT devices. And finally, we have a fully interoperable soft phone in Counterpath’s Eyebeam v1.5 for Windows.

We are making progress toward wideband IP telephony.

Verizon Hub: A Work In Progress

verizonhubI decided to have a look a what Verizon Wireless has to say about their fancy new Hub home phone.  A stated previously, I’m an enthusiast and early adopter, so I could be compelled to change wireless carriers if the Hub was really something special. In fact, I want something like this in my home, that is, if it can deliver upon even half of the promise that I envision.

So I cruised on over to their web site and read all there was to read. Saw all there was to see.

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Nerd Vittles Asks “Why Wait For An Asterisk to Skype Gateway?”

Ward Mundy over at Nerd Vittles has a great post describing how to build your own Asterisk-to-Skype gateway using the readily available SIP-To-Sis software. They note that this is the core of the recently launched Gizmo5 OpenSky service. If you have a local instance of Asterisk and like DIY then this is a great overview of getting it built.

Initial Success With Eyebeam Build 51814

counterpath1A short while ago I was informed that Counterpath had issued a new release of their Eyebeam soft phone for Windows. This release, v1.5.19.4 Build 51814 available from their support forum, was supposed to address the interoperability issues I encountered last fall when passing G.722 calls between Eyebeam and a Polycom hard phone.

I downloaded the program and took it with me on a business trip the following week. Upon initial installation I found that the program overwrote the version that I had been issued by ZipDX. I suppose this makes sense as both were in the v1.5 branch. However, the license key that ZipDX had provided would not enable the new release. I contacted Counterpath and they very quickly provided me a license key to enable the new release.

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A Talk In The Clouds: Asterisk on EC2

asterisk-on-awsOver the past year there has been a building of interest in running Asterisk on cloud infrastructure such as Amazon’s EC2. Here’s a compilation of sources on the topic:

There’s a considerable information in the combination of these sources. It now appears that running Asterisk on a cloud platform is moving from experimental to useful, even desirable in some circumstances.

In truth, it’s not really my cup of tea, a little beyond my SOHO scope. But it does seem to be a source of great enthusiasm in some circles.

Update 2/18/2009: Eric from has create a complete Asterisk image (AMI) on Amazon EC2 including timers. Here are the details.

P.S. – The title of this post is a reference to “A Walk In The Clouds” which is one of my mother-in-laws favorite films. We both like Keanu Reeves.