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A new patent troll.

SIP Trunking

In the last few weeks a large sleeping troll has come out of hibernation and seems set on disrupting the whole voip market.

Quote

“BT is engaged in licensing an extensive range of standards related patents that address the key features of SIP Trunking providers and VOIP operators providers.

BT’s Patents address a wide range of fundamental capabilities now in widespread deployment, such as:

  • Setting up a call
  • Breaking out to other networks
  • Managing resources efficiently
  • Registering terminal to a network
  • Cost effective call completion
  • Monitoring and alerting of IP call quality”

Well that pretty much covers all of the workings of a SIP network. A full list of the patents is here  .

But its not Just BT, AT&T also have claims over SIP as well see here for a list.

It seems that some of the major patent holders see more money in the licencing of the now ubiquitous SIP protocol than maybe supplying it to customer. Which is a shame as the only ones who will make any money will be the Lawyers in the end.

More to follow on this I’m sure….

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Blog

Zen like pondering about telephony and Asterisk

Categories
Blog Calls and Lines Connectivity

Superfast Fibre Lite

I am very excited to announced that in conjunction with Gradwell.com the availability of ‘Superfast Fibre Lite’ FTTC service for only £25 + VAT per month!

Key facts

  • £25.00 + VAT per month
  • Data Limited 200GB
  • Line download speed of 15Mpbs up to 38Mbps
  • ‘Up speed’ of 5Mbps*
  • Next generation internet – does not rely on old infrastructure
  • Installation £80 + VAT (Router £39.50 + VAT inc. delivery)

 

Benefits of using Superfast fibre lite (FTTC) from Gradwell

  • It’s very fast – Minimum line download speed of 15Mpbs* up to 38Mbps*, which is twice as fast as an EFM 4 pair leased line and nearly three times as fast as Gradwell’s Premier Plus Broadband. You will receive ‘up speed’ of 5Mbps*
  • You can download and upload files in seconds, which allows you to quickly back-up your programs and data.
  • No delay in loading web pages, especially those with videos and images, which means your employees can work quickly
  • Improved performance on Virtual Private Networks (VPN) making uploading and downloading of files more efficient; making remote working and working from home a more viable option for employees
  • Improved download and upload speeds when using multimedia, conferencing facilities and live streaming services allowing them to become useful, cost-effective tools to communicate with suppliers and prospects
  • Room for growth, as your connectivity can grow with you and will be better equipped to cope with future growth in features such as high definition streaming.
  • These benefits depend on using FTTC with a good working router and computer or laptop.
    • *Mbps means Megabits per second which is a measure of data transfer speed

To discuss this in more detail or to request a quote, please give me a call on 01225580025 or email supportdesk@cyber-cottage.co.uk

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Blog

Yealink T20P the new entry level IP phone

Yealink T20P is the entry level phone, of the Yealink VoIP desk phone range.

The Yealink T20P provides an entry level phone for the Yealink range of VoIP phones. The T20P boasts features beyond what you may expect from the lowest specification of the range. Ideal for use for the home or as a small office phone.

The T20P telephone offers power over ethernet (PoE), two SIP accounts, two line keys and a clear 2x 16 line LCD screen. A cost effective entry level enterprise IP phone with 2 lines.

Strong provisioning is in place for the Yealink range, making the models perfect for ITSP’s or large scale deployments.

Features

T20P-large

  • 2 SIP Accounts
  • 2 Line, 2×16 LCD Display
  • 2 Programmable Keys
  • 5 Hard Function Keys
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE)
  • 3 Way Conference Calls
  • Speakerphone
  • Call Hold, Waiting and Transfer.
  • Wall mountable
  • Compatible with a range of corded headsets:

 

RRP £69.99 +vat , (Contact us for volume and Special pricing)

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Blog Case Studies Knowledge Base

Simple CRM integration.

CRM’s have changed a lot since the days of ACT and Goldmine costing many thousands of pounds, for example a 3 user licence for Goldmine is $2700 and $430 a year, compare that to a SaaS solution, for example Capsule is $12 a month you can see why users are flocking to reasonably prices web solutions.
Capsule being web based is accessible anywhere you want on PC, Tablet or smartphone, it also integrates with other services such as LinkedIn, Twitter or if you wanted Facebook. It integrates with other SaaS products such as Kashflow and Mailchimp to name but a few allowing accounting direct mailing and contacts to all be linked.

capsule-logo-on-blackSo why did we suddenly show interest in these again. Well we were contacted by business who used another CRM package and wished to migrate to Capsule but wanted to be able to call direct from the application. This feature is not available at the moment with Capsule, But we have previously used a Firefox plugin called greasemonkey that can rewrite pages and convert numbers it recognises into clickable links. On investigation there is a similar product for Chrome called Tampermonkey and they are compatible scriptwise. With minor changes to our CyJax dialer script we got this working on elastix as well as a modified version for users of Gradwell‘s hosted VoIP solution. With this script now installed Capsule allows simple click dialing of contacts from the database.

On Asterisk we have automated the updating of the contacts history notes with details of the Call, The notes are linked to the Case or opportunity that you were working on if you dialled out from case notes. Also we can track incoming calls** so that they show up in Capsule, at the moment they show up as a task as you cannot create a History note with out an owner but this hopefully will change if the Capsule API is extended . This means no more trying to remember when you called someone its all there.

We have recently extended this to now log callback requests from callers who dont want to wait in a queue. This additional feature is important as it lets people keep track of the callback requests dialing them, assigning them to a contact and adding further detail.

** To Track incoming calls required changes to the freepbx module in Elastix so that a macro is called on answer, Details on setting this support and patching Elastix is available  here

The scripts are available for free download at userscripts.org you will see that these are only scripts for your browser, If you want the server script for your ippbx please contact us to discuss this.

 

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Blog

The snow is coming – and don’t we all just love a snow day?

sledgingWell the school kids might, but for those of us with businesses to run, customers to service, and targets to achieve, the prospect of a heavy snowfall and not being able to reach the office can fill us with dread

The thought of a growing backlog of work can be stressful, but missed sales opportunities can spell disaster. In fact, in recent years, blizzard conditions have been said to cost the UK economy as much as £1.2 billion per day.

Fortunately help is at hand, with cyber-cottage.co.uk VoIP phone services, you can beat the weather by having extensions at home, routing calls to mobiles, using hunt groups and flexible voicemail (delivered to your mobile or email inbox).

You keep your normal business phone number, and what’s more, our business customers find that by switching to cyber-cottage.co.uk, they save their businesses money.

If you have any concerns at all about being cut off from your business during heavy weather, then I know that cyber-cottage.co.uk phone services will make your life easier, save you money, and prevent you from being cut off from your customers.

If any of the above could have an impact on your business then I would be very keen to discuss how we can help, and can reach me on 01225580025 for a no pressure chat about your options (whatever the weather).

For example over the cold snap in Jan 2013 we very quickly enabled a number that could be used by a large school so that parents could text in and the group of people receive the text content by email. This meant parents didnt have to call and wait to be answered or be able to send in an email. At school it meant that the message got to all the relevant people and not having someone huddled round one mobile phone and forwarding messages on.

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Blog

Asterisk

What is Asterisk

 

Asterisk is an open source framework for building communications applications. Asterisk turns an ordinary computer into a communications server. Asterisk powers IP PBX systems, VoIP gateways, conference servers and other custom solutions. It is used by small businesses, large businesses, call centers, carriers and government agencies, worldwide. Asterisk is free and open source. Asterisk is sponsored by Digium.

Image

Today, there are more than one million Asterisk-based communications systems in use, in more than 170 countries. Asterisk is used by almost the entire Fortune 1000 list of customers. Most often deployed by system integrators and developers, Asterisk can become the basis for a complete business phone system, or used to enhance or extend and existing system, or to bridge a gap between systems.

To see an introductory video click on Tux the penguin

Asterisk as a switch (PBX)

Asterisk can be configured as the core of an IP or hybrid PBX, switching calls, managing routes, enabling features, and connecting callers with the outside world over IP, analog (POTS), and digital (T1/E1) connections.

Asterisk runs on a wide variety of operating systems including Linux, Mac OS X, OpenBSD, FreeBSD and Sun Solaris and provides all of the features you would expect from a PBX including many advanced features that are often associated with high end (and high cost) proprietary PBXs. Asterisk’s architecture is designed for maximum flexibility and supports Voice over IP in many protocols, and can interoperate with almost all standards-based telephony equipment using relatively inexpensive hardware.

Asterisk as a gateway

It can also be built out as the heart of a media gateway, bridging the legacy PSTN to the expanding world of IP telephony. Asterisk’s modular architecture allows it to convert between a wide range of communications protocols and media codecs.

Asterisk as a feature/media server

Need an IVR? Asterisk’s got you covered. How about a conference bridge? Yep. It’s in there. What about an automated attendant? Asterisk does that too. How about a replacement for your aging legacy voicemail system? Can do. Unified messaging? No problem. Need a telephony interface for your web site? Ok.

Asterisk in the call center

Asterisk has been adopted by call centers around the world based on its flexibility. Call center and contact center developers have built complete ACD systems based on Asterisk. Asterisk has also added new life to existing call center solutions by adding remote IP agent capabilities, advanced skills-based routing, predictive and bulk dialing, and more.

Asterisk in the network

Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSPs), competitive local exchange carriers (CLECS) and even first-tier incumbents have discovered the power of open source communications with Asterisk. Feature servers, hosted services clusters, voicemail systems, pre-paid calling solutions, all based on Asterisk have helped reduce costs and enabled flexibility.

Asterisk everywhere

Asterisk has become the basis for thousands of communications solutions. If you need to communicate, Asterisk is your answer.

Supported hardware

Asterisk® needs no additional hardware for Voice over IP. For interconnection with digital and analog telephony equipment, Asterisk® supports a number of hardware devices, most notably all of the hardware manufactured by Digium®, the creator of Asterisk®.

Features

Asterisk-based telephony solutions offer a rich and flexible feature set. Asterisk® offers both classical PBX functionality and advanced features which interoperates with traditional standards-based telephony systems and Voice over IP systems.

Supported protocols

Asterisk® supports a wide range of protocols for the handling and transmission of voice over traditional telephony interfaces including H.323, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), Media Gateway Control Protocol (MGCP), and Skinny Client Control Protocol (SCCP).

Using the Inter-Asterisk eXchange (IAX™) Voice over IP protocol Asterisk® merges voice and data traffic seamlessly across disparate networks. The use of Packet Voice allows Asterisk® to send data such as URL information and images in-line with voice traffic, allowing advanced integration of information.

Asterisk® provides a central switching core, with four APIs for modular loading of telephony applications, hardware interfaces, file format handling, and codecs. It allows for transparent switching between all supported interfaces, allowing it to tie together a diverse mixture of telephony systems into a single switching network.

Categories
Blog

Sip attacks and what Data-centre operators can do

More and more we are seeing SIP brute force attacks from hosted servers. These aren’t really hacking attempts as in many cases they just try the same user and password Millions of times.

We block these attacks automatically on out servers but that doesn’t stop the traffic, They carry on till we get the Data-centre to shut-down the server. Which can be difficult.

We have seen attacks recently from Germany on the increase in particular one data-center based in Berlin. The staff here DO NOT respond in a timely manner to abuse reports and it has taken upto 4 days to get the servers shut down. They claim that if they shut the server down it infringes their customers rights. we have pointed out to them that they clearly state in their AUP(below) that the server cannot be used for this purpose.

“a. Utilize the Services to cause denial of service attacks against ***** or other network hosts or Internet users or to otherwise degrade or impair the operation of ******s servers and facilities or the servers and facilities of other network hosts or Internet users;”

And if they do, the server will be shut down. So why don’t some data-centres respond? This is an interesting one, At the data-centre in Berlin the attacks always started round the same time on a Sunday Morning on a clean dedicated server and had all the finger prints of  human not Bot activity, as with bots we see them try a few times and then give up. With these attacks they are started and keep going even when we are dropping all the packets, in this case the Bot moves on.

When the attack is finally stopped we get no explanation or in the case of it taking many days to stop , No apologies or explanations for taking so long.

I do think its time for Data-centre operators to take their AUP’s seriously and enforce what they say.

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Blog

10, 20 and 30 years on.

This week has been full of memories spread over the last 30 years.

So 30 years ago, in Sept 1981 I had left school that summer and had started work at what is now known as BT, What brought back memories was that I recently went to a year of 1981 school reunion, Not the type that you see in the Cinema but a good old fashioned drink, Judging by some of the Facebook comments after, some may have drunk a tiny bit too much, But hey that’s what makes these things fun. This brought back many memories from school including the feeling of impending terror as we heard the clicking of Mrs Alcocks heels heading towards us. But also the good times, School trips, Bunking off and Under-age drinking in the very same pub that We met in for the reunion.. It was really strange and really great to see people Ive not seen in 30 years, and in many cases see how little people have changed.

I will now step forward 10 years to September 1991, I had now left BT which by now had gone through many changes, and was now cycling across Nepal,

My Bike in Nepal Travelling across SE Asia by as many different means as possible, including a Smuggling Boat from Singapore to Sumatra before finally arriving in New Zealand. This was a great and in many ways a care free time for me, Cycling where I wanted when I wanted.

image

Moving forward to 2001 I was now married and We didn’t know it but the World was about to change. The week started as normal, I was in Ipswich at NTL’s Network Operations Centre training staff. The 11th started as normal The mornings training had gone well, but then just before 2pm there call from the NOC, We rushed in to see the feed from Sky on the screen and people standing transfixed, staring at a burning tower on the screen, We continued to stand transfixed as the second plane hit. The day continued in a surreal manner as companies called in asking why they could get though to their US offices. In many cases this was just congestion because the lines were busy but in some cases this was for what was by now a far more obvious and chilling reason.

That was 10 years ago and it heralded a change in the world order, and its fair to say not for the better, We are in a recession again as it was when I left school in 1981, War unrest and intolerance abound as it did in Kosovo and the Gulf in the early 1990’s.

So what has those 30 years brought us for the better, Well the one massive thing has been the growth of the Internet and communications, This has allowed people to get and keep in touch in a way they never would have been able to back in 1981 or even for that matter in 1991. Social media has made the World a smaller place, You can Tweet or post on Facebook as soon as something happens and its read on the other side of the world almost as it happens. Perhaps a Tweet is finally proof of the “Butterfly effect”* be it a 21st century one:

*”The phrase refers to the idea that a butterfly’s wings might create tiny changes in theatmosphere that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado or delay, accelerate or even prevent the occurrence of a tornado in another location. The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale alterations of events”

This effect was most recently seen in the Middle east where dictators have been overthrown and people liberated.

So maybe in the next 10 years the flapping of those tiny wings will bring peace and stability again to this world,

Lets all hope so.