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New Gear: Grandstream’s HT812 Analog Terminal Adapter

In the earliest days of consumer VoIP services the venerable Cisco ATA-186 was the way to connect a traditional analog telephone to one of those new-fangled Vonage accounts and save some loot. It didn’t take too long before our strategy evolved from an analog terminal adapter (ATA) plus a an analog phone or a cordless phone, to SIP desk phones and SIP/DECT cordless phones.

As such, it’s been years since an ATA held any interest at all…until last week. Last week I received a couple of notices about a new pair of ATA’s from Grandstream, the HT802 and HT812.

Grandstream HT812

The first thing I saw was a promotional email from VoIP Supply for the HT812. It described the HT812 as a two-port FXS with a built-in router and Gigabit Ethernet.

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Opus Codec Appears in Broadcast STL System

Intraplex-IP-Link-100-and-200-angle-transparentToday’s news dump included an article on GatesAir, now a freestanding entity, it was once the transmission division of what was then known as Harris Broadcast. The company makes radio and TV transmitters, as well as related equipment, which includes studio-to-transmitter (aka STL) links. According to the Broadcast Beat article they have sold and installed one of their Intraplex IP STLs to WRLY-LP, a low power radio station in Raleigh, NC.

A broadcaster with a transmitter that is not located right at their main building (not co-sited) needs an extremely reliable means of sending their broadcast signal from the studio to the transmitter location. They also need some way to get some transmitter telemetry back from the remote location so that they can monitor the health of the transmitter. Their on-air presence via the transmitter is, after all, their bread and butter.

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Obi Hai Ships OBi1032 IP Phone

OBi1032-SIP-PhoneObi Hai has been around a long while. Their niche has been ATA-like devices that were sufficiently sophisticated to provide hardware access to Google Voice. As was discussed when they appeared on VUC, the founders of the company were in involved in the earliest days of VoIP. More specifically, they were behind the development of Cisco ATA 186, the very first ATA.

In years past I’ve watched as others have expressed their enthusiasm for the OBi Hai ATAs, especially those who were trying to leverage Google Voice. GV has never been a significant factor in my working life.

Further, I’ve long held that ATA’s  fail to offer many of the advantages of a bone fide IP phone. I do admit that OBi Hai was quite aggressive about extending the capabilities of the humble ATA beyond the demands of the typical ITSP. Nonetheless, ATAs have held little interest for me in recent years.

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LifeSize On WebRTC

LifeSize_Icon_SeriesLast week LifeSize had a webinar on the topic of WebRTC. I took an hour to listen to what they had to say and pose a couple of questions. Their target audience appeared to be people who might have heard some of the hype about WebRTC, but were not otherwise familiar with this new phenomenon. Suffice it to say that the material covered was introductory.

The webinar started with a pre-recorded video of Casey King, LifeSize CTO and Simon Dudley, who is described as LifeSize video evangelist. Their pre-recorded conversation was followed by an audio-only live segment where they answered questions arising from the audience, which was reported to be over 1000 people.

If you care to view the event after the fact you’ll find a recording of the webinar here.

During the live event I posed a couple of questions in the text chat. I asked if they had any plans to support the Opus audio codec and VP8 video codec. These are core aspects of WebRTC, although the debate about whether VP8 or H.264 should be “mandatory” rages on.

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