VoIP Fraud is now Microsoft's Problem

An interesting article here describes the problems that large companies face as they try to diversify – specifically the move of Microsoft from software towards IP telephony.

While both areas are highly regulated, moving into the world of Voice over Internet Protocol through their highly publicized purchase of Skype certainly presents new challenges.

Hence the slew of articles about Microsoft enabling the ability to eavesdrop on VoIP conversations. While this was initially interpreted by some as a sort of Orwellian invasion of privacy, in fact this is a legal requirement.

Law enforcement needs to be able to have access to VoIP call transcripts for the purposes of terrorism prevention. VoIP solutions have many good aspects but they can also be used for nefarious purposes as it is much harder to track the original of a VoIP call. This is in danger of making the infamous wiretapping way of police work (as depicted in the excellent drama series The Wire) obsolete.

IP telephony calls are so hard to trace that India, which has seen a boom in VoIP used by criminals and terrorists, made efforts to ban some smartphones last year.

While Microsoft is now facing the same challenges, it will have to come up with a very innovative solution to the problem.

3CX and Grandstream Announce Strategic Partnership

Tighter Integration Between Products to Deliver Best in Class SME Phone System

3CX, the international developer of the award-winning 3CX Phone System for Windows and Grandstream, a leading designer and manufacturer of next generation IP Voice and Video products for broadband networks, recently announced a strategic partnership. Under the terms of the agreement, 3CX will become one of the preferred PBX partners of Grandstream, and 3CX will fully certify and integrate Grandstream’s broad portfolio of IP phones, gateways and multimedia phones, allowing for customers to easily provision and manage Grandstream phones from the 3CX Management console. With the integration, initial configuration and setup of a complete phone system will be much easier and ongoing management will be reduced. 3CX and Grandstream will also commit to advanced feature development and providing end-to-end support to customers, giving companies peace of mind that the complete solution is supported by both companies.

“We are pleased to establish a partnership with 3CX to promote the combination of the market leading software-based 3CX Phone System and the award-winning Grandstream IP phones and multimedia phones. This best-in-class product combination creates an excellent value and innovative solution for the SME market,” said David Li, CEO of Grandstream Networks.

“The combined 3CX & Grandstream solution is very easy to install and manage for customers, and is a great replacement for outdated proprietary phone systems. Because both products are standards-based, customers do not get tied in with one particular vendor and companies can buy best of breed, with full confidence in the complete solution,” said Nick Galea, CEO at 3CX.

The partnership has already resulted in benefits for customers and resellers: 3CX has shipped enhanced Grandstream phone support in Service Pack 4 of 3CX Phone System 9. It is now possible to provision and manage Grandstream phones from the 3CX management console, including the ability to upgrade the firmware network wide via the 3CX management console.

Grandstream has also launched a special reseller program which allows resellers and distributors to get rebates for selling Grandstream phones with 3CX solutions. 3CX was hereby one of the first suppliers to sign on with Grandstream’s reseller program as a result of the completion of extensive testing and 3CX getting full certification to Grandstream’s entire endpoints product line.

About 3CX

3CX is the developer of 3CX Phone System – an open standard unified communications platform for Windows that works with standard SIP phones and replaces a proprietary PBX. 3CX is more manageable and can deliver substantial cost savings besides increasing productivity. 3CX Phone System has earned numerous awards; Windows Server Certification, Windowsnetworking.com Gold Award, Windows IT Pro magazine 2008 and a Best Buy Award by Computer Shopper Magazine. For more information visit: http://www.3cx.com.

About Grandstream

Grandstream Networks is an award-winning designer and manufacturer of next generation IP voice & video products for broadband networks. Grandstream’s products deliver superb sound and picture quality, rich telephony features, full compliance with industry standards, and broad interoperability with most service providers and 3rd party SIP based VoIP products. Grandstream is consistently recognized in the VoIP industry for their innovation, affordability and superior value in their products. Grandstream Networks is a private company headquartered in Brookline, MA with offices in Los Angeles, Dallas and China. For more information, please visit www.grandstream.com.

Why VoIP is Changing the Way We Work

Voice over Internet Protocol is changing the way we work, and I am living proof of that.

An interesting article in the BBC finance section a while ago highlighted how more and more businesses are running virtual offices with employees all around the world collaborating through unified communications.

So even though I am freelance I can talk to clients in the Caribbean via Skype, and work on a project with them at the same time via Google Docs.

Although there will always be important aspects to face to face contact, in truth this new way of working can benefit everyone. There is no need to waste huge amounts of time and money hopping on trains or planes all the time, to say nothing of the negative effect that all those carbon emissions have on the planet.

Businesses benefit hugely because they get rid of the massive amount of costs and responsibilities that come about with employing someone full time, especially all those extra taxes and employer contributions.

Studies have also shown that remote workers are in fact more productive. They get to manage their own time and in doing so are more efficient with it on the whole. Many feel that they have something extra to prove by not being in an office and so work doubly hard.

VoIP and unified communications are definitely changing the way we work and it is time for everyone to embrace it or face being left behind.

Mobile VoIP - Skype coming to iPad

Skype is now being worked on as an application for the iPad2 and iPad. The news will make remote communication even easier and is a huge boost for the world of mobile VoIP.

Skype is already available on most smartphones so that if you have used up your contract minutes allowance, but still have some internet credit you can make free calls. It is, of course, especially useful for calling people who live abroad at an affordable rate.

The news was confirmed by Skype Vice President Rick Osterloh. The new app will have everything you normally expect from Skype, including video chat, except for the file sharing feature – because of a conflict with the Apple system.

So it seems that Microsoft is not going to hog Skype for itself. It is also a nice move from Apple because in theory Skype is a direct competitor to their new Facetime video chat product.

Meanwhile Microsoft has a new patent which allows for the eavesdropping on Skype calls. It’s all very confusing so I will leave it to Kurt Bakke to explain it.
The Skype app should be out by the end of June.

Lightyear Network Solutions Offers VoIP in the Cloud

Hosted VoIP and cloud computing are the two standards which business service provider Lightyear Network Solutions has chosen to take it into the future.

The company is on the verge of rolling out VoIP in the cloud to small and medium sized businesses.

That will allow their customers to keep and integrate their existing traditional PBX (if preferred) with VoIP solutions for business.
Despite losing company founder Sherman Henderson recently the company is determined to plough on by increasing its portfolio and expanding its network services.

The new CEO Stephen M. Lochmueller told Fiercevoip: "We are pleased to announce the launch of our new product, which further enhances our extensive portfolio. Hosted VoIP is part of our strategic plan to make the cloud valuable and affordable for SMBs.”

Lightyear Network Solutions already has a strong customer base in the USA.
Hosted VoIP allows them to increasingly offer flexible and scalable solutions which can save companies costs and deliver fixed mobile convergence.

O2 Secure Wireless enters the Mobile VoIP Market

O2 Secure Wireless is entering the mobile VoIP Market with an unlimited VoIP service to provide talk, text and data at low prices.

Now that the VoIP market is worth an estimated $50 billion per year (and rapidly expanding), O2 Secure Wireless has sensed an opportunity in the market and created the O2USA brand.

The website and product is still in its rudimentary stages but you can visit it for an idea of the plans that they offer. However having tried to look for shops in locations (I entered 90210 as it was the only American postcode I could think of having grown up on the TV series) the search facility returned no results.

Once the glitches are ironed out, O2USA will work on both the Sprint and Verizon networks, two of the most popular mobile VoIP networks in America. O2 already has a strong infrastructure in the USA and other regions nearby such as the Caribbean.

Val Kazia, the Chief Executive Officer of O2 Secure Wireless, said: "O2 Secure Wireless is clearly in a highly desirable position to enter this sector. The potential to make the O2 trademark a nationally recognized name is unlimited.”

Nevertheless O2 had to put a warning about future looking statements under the Safe Harbour Act, presumably because the necessary regulation for this product is still being undertaken.

Google Paints VoIP IP Telephony Chrome

The news that Google is working to install VoIP IP Telephony into its Chrome browser has passed relatively unnoticed this week but it could be one of the most seismic shifts to hit the way we work and communicate.

Currently using VoIP services requires pulling up a piece of hardware or software, or just clicking on your preinstalled Skype button.
Imagine the amount of time that could be saved by just accessing VoIP numbers directly through your browser?

Not only does that benefit users, but it fits into Google’s idea of personalized search. Having access to your call information as well as your search information will give Google even more targeted information about you.

There are two ways to look at that. Firstly it will either be useful as searching for exactly what you want will become quicker and more efficient. On the other hand it is quite scary to think about quite how much information Google now has about us, everything from when we were born to where we like to shop.

Yet the search giant will not mull over these important concerns and instead is plowing ahead with its open source VoIP IP Telephony project which will incorporate audio and video. Known as WebRTC, Chrome VoIP will now give access to real-time chat on our browser thanks to the collaboration of Google and their VoIP acquisition GIPS.

Speaking to TMCnet, Google programmer Henrik Andreasson said: "Our goal is to enable Chrome with Real-Time Communications capabilities via simple Javascript application programming interfaces.”

There is no word as yet as to when the project will be completed for roll out.

VoIP Charges are a case of ‘tail wagging dog’

The Federal Communications Committee (FCC) in America is letting the tail wag the dog, according to search giant Google.

Proposed plans to charge Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) on a per minute basis in the same way as regular telephony could be a huge blow to the industry says Google.

The have accused the USA telecoms regulator of trying to stifle what is a rapidly expanding industry with possible call termination charges.

Currently one of the factors which makes VoIP so appealing is that information can be routed over the internet free of charge (once the internet subscription has been set up).

Up until now an ESP exemption has meant that VoIP traffic is free of charge. While telecommunications companies have railed against this disadvantage, VoIP providers have claimed that information, and this is basically what is being sent over the VoIP lines, should be free on the internet.

The Google lawyer Donna N. Lampert wrote to the FCC to persuade them to see the bigger picture – VoIP traffic is a very small part of the overall IP traffic which Google deals with.

Yet VoIP services like Skype have long been trying to monetise what is essentially a free service. Although Skype has millions of users only a small fraction of them are paying subscribers.

The Google figures show that VoIP calls now account for 21,000 terabytes a month compared to the 36,000 terabytes used for conventional calls.

Regular telephone traffic is certainly declining and it is clear that there will have to be a shift in the way it is administered as a result.

BNS Appointed as 3CX UK Distributor

3CX, the award winning maker of the 3CX phone system for Windows, has now partnered with a UK business phone system distributor.

BNS has a track record of success in the industry as it is the main distributor for Grandstream IP telephony products in the United Kingdom.

Together with 3CX they will offer affordable VoIP solutions to the small and medium sized business market in the UK.

Now BNS will offer the complete range of 3CX and Grandstream products. 3CX recently selected Grandstream as the preferred business phone system for 3CX phone version 10 after successful interoperability testing.

By offering 3CX products, BNS can now offer a business phone system with high call quality and a local Total Cost of Ownership. Many of them rely on a SIP Trunking solution to deliver optimum quality. BNS will also offer full support and training on usage of the 3CX products that they are selling.

Lee Sinclair, the Sales Director of BNS Distribution Ltd, UK, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as a 3CX distributor in the UK.

"Due to the recent strategic partnership between 3CX and Grandstream we are now able to provide a feature rich SIP solution to our reseller channel. With PnP provisioning, resellers are able to take advantage of seamless integration with 3CX and Grandstream.

"Regardless of your business telephony requirements, BNS, together with a 3CX and Grandstream bundle, will ensure the highest quality.”

OneStream Networks Releases SIP Trunking

OneStream Networks has now released a SIP Trunking Service which is compatible with Avaya VoIP solutions.

Onestream provides IP telephony to Value Added Resellers (VARs) and small and medium sized emterprises.

OneStream Networks is a gold member of the Avaya DevConnect program which develops, markets and sells third-party products which are Avaya interoperable.

The president of OneStream Networks Trey Smith said: “The partnership between OneStream Networks and Avaya can help enterprise customers unlock the full potential of their Avaya unified communications and network investment.”

“Our joint commitment to flexible, standards-based platforms enables the reliable integration of unified communications, call processing, instant messaging, presence detection and mobility in one platform. These elements combine to enhance the enterprise communications experience, regardless of location or device."

OneStream will now be able to offer such features as number portability through the Avaya Aura Session Manager core.

Skype Account Hacked

Right, I know a lot of people hate Microsoft but this is getting ridiculous.

Today my Skype account was hacked and the malicious party rinsed that and my paypal account of nearly 100 Euros.

Every time I log into Skype it shows that someone is making calls to weird looking numbers that start +20169 and +996504 (anyone with info on these numnbers please do tell). So far about 30 calls ahve been made to these numbers even though I have changed my password.

Paypal stopped the unauthorised Skype payment agreement that had been set up. I have since had emails from Skype saying that they are looking into it and have charged back the payments. Yet my account is still appearing empty.

Then I received the following email which looks suspicious:

Hello Robert,

Thank you for contacting Skype Customer Service.
We understand your concerns regarding the charges on your account. We are happy to help you with that.

Upon checking ou records, we can seen that your order on Jun 16, 2011 with Order Number: , is €25,000 Skype credit. Also, the status of this order is charged_back not delivered.

You can review all your orders and their status in the My Account section of our store:
Also, according to the information provided to us by the payment provider, one of the orders has been charged back, credits reversed and your account blocked in order to verify the payment.

We automatically block users with a charge back status to protect the assets of our customers. A charge back may indicate unauthorized use of a Skype account. In most cases, this is a result of an error in the payment process and the issue should be resolved with the payment provider.

If the chargedback order was placed via Click and Buy or Paypal
Please contact their customer support to review the payment and account detail on their side. In most cases the error in payment process (for example, insufficient funds on your Paypal account) can be corrected and the chargeback status reversed.

When the issues are resolved on the side of the payment provider, your Skype account will become active again without needing any further action on our behalf.

If the credits were ordered with a credit card
Please contact the financial institution to learn why a payment dispute was initiated.

We also need to verify the credit card details before we can re-activate the Skype account. We request the following information from you:
the first six and the last four digits of the credit card used to make your Skype purchase (NOTE: Please do NOT send your full credit card number)
the name of the cardholder written on the card
the issuing country of the card
If you believe that your Skype account has been accessed by a third party and the payments have been placed without your authorization
Please reply to this email and we will start an investigation into this matter.
Should you need more assistance, feel free to contact us again.
Best regards,

Pauline Ann R.
Skype Customer Service

I have blanked out the order number for safety. So this email is asking for credit card details and mentions a chargeback of 25,000 Euros. Very dodgy! Of course phoning Skype and speaking to a real person is nigh on impossible. Please comment if anyone has had a similar experience. Skype is now officially dead to me!

Polycom Keeps VoIP Solutions Waiting

While Polycom has updated its UC Intelligent Core platform to include high definition video and telepresence, the VoIP options on the new product will not be released until the end of the fourth quarter.

The platform has massive capacity with the ability to support 25,000 calls at one time and as many as 75,000 end point devices.

To see the immersive telepresence equipment you can go to Orlando, Florida, for the Infocomm 2011 conference. There the product, which Polycom claims is five times more powerful that its nearest competitor, will be demonstrated.

Although excited customer will have to wait to the end of 2011 for the VoIP installations, the price is already known and they are expected to cost $879.

Another exciting development is Polycom’s cloud-based video content management solutions - the Accordent Capture Station (ACS) v 5.1 and the Accordent Media Management System (AMMS) v 4.5 which make video solutions easy.

It is even possible to integrate HTML5 on the Accordent Capture Station to get rich media on the latest smartphones which can include affordable VoIP calling.

This is all part of the Polycom UC Everywhere campaign to bring the benefits of unified communications to SMBs and SMEs.

John Antanaitis, the VP of product marketing at Polycom, said: "The crux of it is using visual collaboration to allow organizations to make faster decisions and be more productive.”

Knowing your VoIP Solutions

It is often taken for granted that installing VoIP solutions will save customers time and money, but in actual fact getting Return on Investment depends on a number of factors.

Firstly if you are planning to install a business VoIP phone, think about how it will integrate into your existing Public Switched Telephone Network.

Sure using VoIP to VoIP calling is a low cost option but in cases where you may have to call a regular landline it might not work out cheaper. Therefore you should work out what you want your Phone Branch Exchange to do before ripping out all the existing cabling.

However daunting the installation and management of your phone system can seem it is actually possible to use bundled VoIP to customise your experience. Many VoIP companies offer 24 hour support and there is no need to waste hours on training for what is an easy to use interface.

The real key with VoIP is having a fast and reliable internet connection. With really fast broadband VoIP can actually deliver BETTER call quality than traditional analogue phones, but conversely a poor connection can create all sorts of problems.

Importantly whether you actually save money on VoIP depends on how expensive your broadband is. Normally it should save you money because you are getting two services (calling and surfing) for the price of one but it all depends on the package so shop around.

iCloud Communications Sues Apple

The VoIP provider iCloud Communications is suing the technology giant Apple for trademark infringement.

iCloud Communications claims that Apple is taking its name for its cloud computing service that allows you to store your content online and then wirelessly transmit it to devices.

iCloud Communications is also contending that there is a broader theft of intellectual property as iCloud Communications streams content through the internet to allow Voice over Internet Protocol. Apple iCloud also works by streaming internet data through cloud computing.

At least in respect of the first claim it seems that iCloud Communications has a claim. Their VoIP Solution existed long before the Apple product (which was announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference) and iCloud Communications has said that the release of Apple iCloud has affected their business negatively.

The second claim will be a difficult one to prove in court. Essentially they are very different products with one being used to stream and store music and the other used to make low cost Voice over Internet Phone calls.

Amsterdam Internet Exchange Prepares for 4G VoIP

The Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) is boosting bandwidth to drive Voice over Internet Protocol by providing Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

AMS-IX is a public peering company and sees the SLAs as the roadmap to guaranteed better service during the transition to VoIP on 4G networks.

While Mobile network operators have IP connections with each other, 4G networks will use IP packets for everything, which will produce a huge amount of data which needs to be dealt with.

Therefore AMS-IX has brought out the Inter-IPX IP Packet Exchange which allows mobile network operators to conform to GSMA standards. Data transmission of the customer packets will start next month.

It is somewhat unchartered territory and many companies which have their own peering agreements will look to see how the AMS-IX experiment goes.

What is certain is that they will have to deal with a huge volume of traffic once the world switches to 4G.

Skype VoIP Service Goes Down Again

VoIP service Skype is once again experiencing problems after users saw the software crash on their computers on Tuesday, June 7.

Skype, which is now owned by technology giant Microsoft, was quick to downplay the problem, saying that it was a configuration issue. They have now released an automatic update to fix the glitch.

It is only ten days since Skype last went down. That time the VoIP service issued advice on how to fix the problem by deleting a "shared.xml" file which had been corrupted. Automated Mac and Windows updates soon followed.

However quick the problems are getting fixed this will hardly inspire confidence in Skype. While problems in a free VoIP service may be tolerated, Skype clearly has some way to go before offering the reliability required by enterprise VoIP.

Furthermore Skype has just been threatened by a Russian computer programmer who unravelled its coding secrets to create an open source version of Skype which he is offering for free.

Right now Microsoft must be wondering where it will be getting Return On Investment from.

Russian Genius Creates Open Source Skype

A Russian computer programmer has just reverse-engineered Skype’s proprietary VoIP protocols.

Claiming that good products cannot remain hidden forever, Efim Bushmanov has taken the time to unravel the code with makes multi-billion dollar Skype service tick.

The computer genius denies any malicious intent and instead invites Microsoft, which recently bought Skype for $8.5 billion, to work with him rather than against him.

Rather than being party to copyright violations he says that he sees an open source future for VoIP. That involved making Skype compatible for Linux users who have been waiting patiently for Skype to do that for some time now.

Mr Bushmanov told Eweek Europe “Skype presents a lot of security challenges I was simply curious to see what was inside.”

The Russian, who lives in a remote part of the country north of Moscow, has become a hot topic on the worldwide web after releasing the Skype protocols on his blog.

Nevertheless he praises Skype as a good product which has more polish than open source software.

Hosted VoIP Users made Nervous by Skype Failure

Enterprise managers who want to use Voice over Internet Protocol as a hosted solution may look nervously at the recent problems faced by Skype, according to Information Week.

Despite being bought out by technology giant Microsoft in a vast $8.5 billion deal, a recent outage meant many Skype users were unable to log into their accounts or make phone calls.

Although the rapidly resolved problem was put down to a software glitch, it will make enterprises think twice about using the commercial version of Skype for VoIP calls and video conferencing.

Whatever the size of business, companies can ill afford communications breakdowns such as this one and dropped calls and poor service can lead to a decrease in revenue, or even worse an altoghether failure to land a big contract.

Customers need confidence in the enterprise and that can only be gained through a secure and reliable unified communications infrastructure.

Darrel Bowman, the CEO of mynetworkcompany.com, said: "As we become more reliant on overall basic business functions, cloud-based applications, and storage, IT service providers need to vet cloud partners more thoroughly. This is done to ensure that they actually have the necessary redundancy for a cloud offering to be successful in the long-term."

It is therefore unlikely that Microsoft will let Skype fail and it has big plans for the service, giving it its own division within Microsoft and hoping to use it with devices such as the Windows Phone 7.

While Skype outages may be accepted on a free service that it used by consumers, they certainly will not be tolerated in a business capacity.

Pervasip VoIP Solutions Receive Boost

Pervasip, a provider of flexible back-office capabilities, high quality VoIP services and automated provisioning systems, has arranged a deal to clear its debt.

Despite having an estimated 300 million mobile VoIP users over the next three years, Pervasip needs help to foreclose on its assets.

The Pervasip CEO Paul Riss said: “We are pleased to have a friendly investor who wants to work with us to build value for our shareholders.”

The wholesale VoIP provider for SMBs is working with strategic investor NetCapital.com which has agreed to purchase all outstanding debt.

NetCapital said in a statement that it had been following Pervasip for years and waiting for the right time to invest.

Chairman John Fanning said: “Pervasip technology is a true example of how game-changing vision can be forged into a paradigm-breaking commercial product.”

Netcapital aims to help Pervasip grow through the introduction of additional technologies. These include wireless networks to fully take advantage of the boom in mobile VoIP.

Pervasip has also experienced high demand for video VoIP lines and offers Lomb and Bausch video phones.

Is VoIP Worth Paying For?

Voice over Internet Protocol has many attractions to small businesses and consumers but chief among these is the option to make cheap or free internet calls.

The big test of VoIP will be whether people are actually willing to pay for the service. One of the reasons why Skype is so popular is because it allows to you make free worldwide calls from PC to PC between Skype users. Now that Microsoft has bought Skype there is every chance that they will try to monetise the service.

But it is not only the big corporations that are looking to get their money's worth. The Federal communications Commission of America is eyeing the chance to levy a connection fee on VoIP.

So far VoIP has been free of the traditional charges that are levied on companies like Verizon, which allows VoIP companies such as Vonage to undercut their rates.

Verizon is obviously not happy with this state of affairs as reflected by its filing to the FCC: “The top priority remains the urgent need to decide the proper compensation rate for VoIP traffic. The commission should immediately set a single, low national default rate of $0.0007 per minute for this traffic.”

They have seen the decreasing use of Public Switched Telephone Networks, and with it a huge decrease in revenue.

As the FCC looks at moving toward a broadband-based network it has to focus on the return on investment.

Dale Hatfield, a former chief of the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology, told Politico: “You’ve got an antiquated telephone network out there. It should be gotten rid of, but there’s an awful lot of money being made on that network.”

On the other hand VoIP suppliers say that they provide information rather than communications and should not be subject to the same charges and rates as traditional communications companies.

4G Roll Out Boosts Mobile VoIP

A 4G network which will make VoIP calling faster and easier is due to roll out in the UK in 2012.

Already industry regulator Ofcom has been auctioning off network space to Mobile VoIP companies.

Right now many companies use the 3G network to give internet access to their range of popular smartphones such as the Android and iPhone OS.

4G is expected to cover 95% of the UK’s mobile VoIP service and provide fast speeds, efficient service and low cost calls. It will offer a secure IP telephony solution for all mobile devices including smartphones and laptops.

The news is not so good for fixed line telecommunications companies which are fighting against the tide – last year saw one million less fixed line users. The way this trend is going the landline could be completely obsolete in two decades.

Although 4G phones will be expensive to start with they will gradually become more affordable. And even though fixed line calls may remain cheaper the convenience of mobiles makes then a preferable option for many consumers.

Expect a worldwide movement to 4G next year as even countries as far afield as Sri Lanka have discussed the possibility of a total roll out. Wherever in the world they are based the opportunities for mobile VoIP providers are endless.

VoIP used in a Quarter of US Homes

If there were any doubt about the burgeoning popularity of Voice over Internet protocol then they will be put to bed by the new findings of the Pew Internet Think Tank, as reported by Tech Crunch.

Pew Internet found that one quarter of American adult internet users (19% of all American adults) have placed phone calls online. In fact 5% of internet users go online every day to place VoIP phone calls.

These figures are up significantly over the last few years as Pew found that in the early part of last decade only 1% of internet users placed VoIP calls per day.

Since then there has been a steady increase. By 2007 6% of all adults in the US were going online to make cheap VoIP calls.

The biggest percentage of internet users are in the demographic between 18 and 29, while one third of those with an income over $70,000 in the US have made a phone call online.

That VoIP tends to be the preserve of the affluent was shown by the fact that only 13% of people who earned less than $30,00 per year had used VoIP solutions.

This massive trend shows why VoIP service Skype was recently the subject of a huge bidding war between Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

Microsoft had to pay a staggering $8.5 billion to come out on top and many in the industry have questioned whether they can receive a return on investment for this.

These figures that show how popular VoIP is in the US give an indication of why Microsoft was so keen to get a piece of the action.

Skype goes over to the Dark Side

Being bought by Microsoft in a giant deal has not stopped Skype from suffering the same denial of service problems that it has had in the past. But it seems that this time Skype was able to resolve its issues much faster which is evidence of the greater backup that Microsoft has put at its disposal.

Following a global crash of Skype services on Friday, the company has however moved quickly to rectify the problem. While offering advice Skype worked on fixing the issue permanently.

It involved problems with calls made on Skype's Voice over Internet Protocol system and users of various different OS' all reported the same problem. These circulated around the Twittersphere before Skype released a software update. Unfortunately the update only made things worse with people totally unable to log into Skype.

Skype's advice to Linux, OS X and Windows users was to delete a file called shared.xml. But the massive traffic to its website as people looked for advice also made the Skype website crash.

After that the problem was resolved quickly with a software bug detected which had caused the servers to overload.

Could it be that Skype's new affiliation with Microsoft will attract unwanted attention from the dark side, i.e computer hackers who don't like the massive Microsoft monopoly?

Alcazar Networks Delivers Contact Center VoIP Solutions

A VoIP company has just offered to make dialler termination easier with good connectivity and high dialler check rates.

Alcazar networks is offering more than just wholesale termination becasue the call center market is so competitive.

John Chisca, the VP of Alcazar Networks, told TMCnet: "In wholesale VoIP termination services challenges such as call quality, rates and service availability issues are pushing call centers and service providers to the limit.

He believes that Alcazar Networks Inc. now offers a full VoIP solution with high call quality and a local support desk.

That meets the demands of contact and call centers which need upmost reliability without any flaws to deliver the level of service that customers require.

Alcazar is offering its current service due to high demand from call centers. That includes a toll free termination compensation of $48 for companies that terminate over 100,000 minutes per month.

Mr Chisca explained: “Very few companies offer compensation on the termination. If they do, they are looking for high volume termination from 500,000 to sometimes two million minutes a month minimum to give compensation."

Tone Software Compliant with Avaya Aura Communication Manager 6.0

Tone Software, a global provider of VoIP Solutions and Unified Communications Solutions, has now had ReliaTel rated compliant with Avaya's IP Telephony solutions.

Amit Kapoor, the director of strategic technology advancement for Tone, said: "ReliaTel enables enterprises, service providers and Value Added Resellers to effectively manage their converged communications service all the way from the SIP trunks entering the LAN to the softphones on the desktops."

ReliaTel provides real time VoIP QoS and QoE end-to-end analysis including service level management for converged environments. It also offers trunk performance reporting for the Avaya Communications Manager through the SAT interface. It has now successfully been compliance-tested for compatibility with Avaya Aura Communication Manager 6.0.

That ensures high VoIP calling quality and the ability to converge the network infrastructure. It is an invaluable tool for IT support teams.

Tone Software is a Gold member of the Avaya DevConnect program which develops, markets and sells interoperable third-party.

The idea behind the project is allow businesses to communicate more effectively. That fulfills strategic obejectives to increase investment and drive business success. Avaya is one of the most successful unified communications and VoIP solutions providers and delivers contact centers and data solutions worldwide.

T-Mobile Re-Releases VoIP Calling App

If part of the unified communications revolution is the transition of social networking sites such as Facebook to include VoIP, then news of the T-Mobile App will be of interest.

T-Mobile released their Bobsled VoIP calling app for Facebook recently, but had to recall it almost immediately due to concerns about the branding.

Specifically there were worries that consumers would think Bobsled was a Facebook product, when it is not. However, T-Mobile merely stated design issues when the recall happened. That is becasue the app looked like something that Facebook had designed and violated their terms of use policies.

Now people can make free calls to their friends from their computers using the free Bobsled app. It remains to be seen what changes, if any, Bobsled has made to their product, or whether they were all design and cosmetic changes.

VoIP Solutions Market is Strong

Although the market in Voice over Internet Protocol products has been booming recently, VoIP was not completely immune to the recession, as no industry is in trying times.

It fact the IP telephony market worldwide dropped by 4% from the end of 2010 down to $2.52 billion in the first quarter of 2011.

Diane Myers, the directing analyst for VOIP and IMS at Infonetics, said: “The global PBX market was dragged down by slowing TDM PBX sales as businesses continued to shift to IP.“

But the news is good again with signs of stability in the sales of VoIP products and PBXes as more and more companies use Unified communications.
In fact the quarter of 2011 is up 8.5% compared to the first quarter of 2010.

Avaya is still the main player in the PBX market while Cisco is dominating the unified communications market. Meanwhile Time Warner, Cox and Comcast have made a huge advance on the bundled VOIP market and digital voice industry. They are now covering over 12 million US households.

Link a Door Phone to 3CX Phone System

3CX, the maker of the 3CX phone system for Windows, has just released a handy guide to linking a Door phone to your telephone system.

Firstly you should disable outbound calls for security purposes. Then create an extension in the 3CX Management Console for the door phone. The image below shows what the back of the phone should look like when you take the case off.

Then you connect the Network UTP cable to the Ethernet connection (Number 13 on the image above). Ideally you should connect it to a POE Network Switch. Alternatively, you would need to also connect a 12v power supply to the power block (Number 22). For more details on how to connect this and the specifications for the power supply please refer to the 3CX user manual or contact AlphaTech support.

Look for the DIP switch which is located in the middle of the circuit board (Number 14). The switch settings are as shown below:

•On the DIP switch, set all switches to ON except switch number 2, which must be set to OFF.
•Close the box and switch on the device.
•The Default IP address of the door phone as set by the manufacturer is If you are installing with your PC in a different subnet, it will be necessary to set up a network card with an IP address in the same subnet range so you can connect to the device and make the necessary changes.
•Launch your web browser enter the IP address of the Door Phone (
•In the page that loads up, click on the link ‘Setup’
•Enter user name and password (by default the name is ‘admin’ and the password is ’1234′)
•The Device config page will now load up.

•Click on “Network Settings” and set up the settings as required for your Network . When done click on ‘Save and restart’ and then connect using the new IP address.

•Click on “SIP parameters” and configure the settings as follows:
SIP proxy server
1.Address: IP of 3CX server
2.Port: the 3CX sip port (default 5060)
SIP registrar server
1.Address: IP of 3CX server
2.Port: the 3CX sip port (default 5060)
Account module
1.Name: Extension Number configured in 3CX Phone System to be used for the door phone
2.Password: Authentication Password of the Door Phone Extension Number
3.Auth. Id: Authentication ID of the Door Phone Extension Number
4.Expiration [sec]: 600
•Click on ‘Save changes’

•Click on sip ‘Setting Audio’ and set priority 1 to G711u, priority 1 to G711a and priority 3 to G729. Click on ‘Save changes’.

•Click on Memory numbers and in Button 1 and Button 2 put in the numbers of the extensions you want to ring when the door bell is pressed. For multiple extensions to ring, set up a Ring All ring group and insert the Ring Group number instead of an Extension Number. Click on ‘Save changes’.

•The doorbell can now be used with 3CX. When the doorbell is pressed, the configured extension (or ring group) will ring and can be answered by answering the phone of the ringing extension.

•To open the door set up the door lock with the relay as specified in the manual and also set up the correct opening codes in Fermax config Relays section.

Unblocking VoIP Solutions

Blocked VoIP networks could be a thing of the past thanks to REVE Systems which now offers the iTel Byte Saver.

If you are having a problem with your IP network then this mobile VoIP provider which is based in Singapore offers an Unblock expert so that uninterrupted VoIP calling is assured.

Therefore any firewall can be surmounted via HTTP tunnelling and bandwidth usage is consequently shortened. The result is high quality VoIP calling for a low cost.

For security from Pin hacking there is also the iTel Pin Protector so that calls can only be made from your approved handsets. It does this by allowing you to register and approve an IMEI number of your wireless device.

VoIP Pal Creates iPad2 App

Voip-Pal.Com has just put its new PointsPhone Mobile(TM) App for the iPad 2 into beta testing.

The company is a leading provider of Voice over Internet Protocol services for global calls on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Voip-Pal.Com aims to provide a fast and reliable service and now the beta can be downloaded immediately.

It taps into the success of the iPad and almost guaranteed success of the iPad2. Especially as some industry experts believe that tablets will eventually outsell laptops. Apple in particular has 80% of the tablet market.

Yet as successful as the tablet iPad is, it needs an app such as VoIP-Pal to become a telephone. With VoIP-Pal it is then possible to make calls at two pence per minute and there are all sorts of special features such as the ability to email a digital copy of voice messages. The app can work over a Wi-Fi connection.

Dennis Chang, the President of Voip-Pal, said: "Apple has revolutionized the personal computing world with its introduction of the original iPad last year."

“By downloading our App, the iPad 2 is turned instantly into a telephone. The same VoIP technology that turns your smartphone into a cost-effective telephone, can now be used on the iPad 2 for both domestic and international calls."

BroadSoft Finalist in American Business Awards

BroadSoft, the multimedia software provider of unified commmunications and Voice over Internet Protocol technology, has been named a finalist for the Management Team of the Year in the 2011 American Business Awards.

The American Business Awards is a massive recognition ceremony held in New York City. They find nominees through recommendations from other private and public organizations and have received 2,800 nominations for the 9th annual ceremony. The award will be presented on June 20.

BroadSoft Inc, which produces real-time communications for cable, fixed-line and mobile IP networks, was recognized for "key business and financial accomplishments during 2010 that included an Initial Public Offering, a strategic acquisition and global expansion."

BroadSoft is a global provider of VoIP applications, and it has more than 450 customers in 65 countries. Their CEO Michael Tessler said that the company had done exceptionally well to not only survive the trying economic times but thrive. He thanked all of his staff and employees across 19 countries for their hard work.

A popular BroadSoft product is MobileMxD, an integrated suite of Consumer and UC services which is optimized for smartphones, tablet devices and 4G networks.

BroadSoft has also recently branched into cloud computing with BroadCloud® - a hosted infrastructure for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) unified communications.

T-Pad SIP Trunking Solution

As more and more companies get in on the Voice over Internet Protocol action for low cost internet calling, T-Pad has released a 'state of the art' SIP Trunking Solution.

T-Pad is a business telephone systems provider. By allowing high speed internet connectivity and data transferal over one telephony line there are huge cost savings for customers and business partners.

The Tpad Sales Director Simon Jones said: "T-Pad SIP Trunking saves money but also makes the workforce more mobile to increase productivity."

The idea is that employees can make phone calls any time, any where, and also be reached through a single number that is accessible at multiple locations to accelerate customer service.

According to the size of the company, T-Pad offers different packages with suitability for large corporations and small-to-medium sized enterprises.

The aim is to provide a complete solution for the routing of data and the upload and download of information. Video conferencing, instant messaging and number accessibility are just some of the other unified communications features which are offered through T-Pad Sip Trunking.

To offer the higest quality internet network T-Pad works with Supanet for an excellent IP network.

Nokia denies Rumours of Microsoft Sale

Not content with their mammoth buyout of VoIP service Skype, rumours were circling that Microsoft wanted to purchase the handset maker Nokia as well.

However the Finnish phone company has now refuted those claims which came from a well-known leaker of Nokia info called Eldar Murtazin.

But the PR agent for Nokia, Mark Squires, said via his Twitter account: "We typically don't comment on rumors. But we have to say that Eldar's rumours are getting obviously less accurate with every passing moment."

Mr Murtazin had suggested that the company was in talks with the Redmond software company to acquire the Nokia mobile division.

Commenting on the Microsoft sale he used his blog to say: "Next week Nokia will start the negotiations about the sale of its phone unit to Microsoft.”

"For now the results of the negotiations won't be public, but the deal might close before the end of 2011. Both companies are in a big hurry."

Nokia has already teamed up with Microsoft as an assigned handset for the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 OS. To do so it had to break ties with Symbian with which it had a long standing contract.

Whatever the case about the rumours it is certain that Microsoft is making an increasingly big play to be a leader in the VoIP market.

3CX and Arithon offer Integrated VoIP

The Recruitment Software provider Arithon
has joined the 3CX Partner program. 3CX's time and money saving solutions are said to be perfect for recruiters who spend a lot of time on the phone.

3CX is an award winning developer of business phone systems and VoIP telephony software products for Windows.
Arithon will now offer Version 10 of 3CX's next generation IP PBXs.

Roderick Smyth, the CEO of Arithon explained that 3CX allowed SMBs and SMEs to have the same range of free advanced enterprise VoIP features that are available to big companies.

He said: "Using the 3CX VoIP phone system will allow our customers to lower their communications costs and integrate seamlessly with Arithon. Therefore we can enhance our customer and partner service."

Furthermore 3CX is leading the way in the unified communciations space as far as smartphones and apps are considered. The version 10 3CX Myphone offers an assistant module so that users can integrate with the Arithon database. Among other features it automatically provides pop-up caller ID.

RIM Releases MVS5

Research In Motion is releasing the unified communications and business phone system Blackberry Mobile Voice System 5.

Blackberry is already making strong forays into the VoIP market with the
AudioCodes partnership recently sealed.

The AudioCodes COO Lior Aldema said: “Enterprise mobility is a strategic opportunity that AudioCodes continues to pursue.

“Our ability to enable deployments of BlackBerry MVS5 for legacy PBX and new IP-PBX environments demonstrates the important role AudioCodes plays in this explosive market.”

Blackberry Mobile Voice System 5 can be accessed on both Nortel and Avaya handsets as well as the Cisco Unified Communications Manager. It has an architecture that extends to VoIP and SIP gateways with third party applications.

That will allow BlackBerry calls over both WiFi and cellular networks. The networks can be handed off manually, automatically or with a prompt.

That means whether you are remote or at your desk you can enjoy extension dialling, single number reach and other great features.

Microsoft Can Boost VoIP Technology

While the decision of Microsoft to buy Skype for between $5-8 billion this week is a direct challenge to rivals like Cisco and Google, the companies this move may affect the most are the telecomms providers.

Being able to make low cost internet calls has already had a huge affect on landline companies and the big US providers like Verizon and At&T have accordingly geared their offerings towards the mobile market.

An editorial piece by NASDAQ sets this out as a potential driving force behind an increased take up of VoIP and a decline in landline services.

Furthermore now that Microsoft owns Skype will it still let Windows 7 Phone rivals like the iPhone and the Google Android offer the Skype download free on their service?

And if we are encouraged to use Skype subscriptions as opposed to landline calling, is there a chance that Microsoft will start charging more for Skype use in order to recoup the huge sums that they already spent on acquiring Skype?

These questions and many more will be answered over the next couple of years during which we can certainly expect to see VOIP technology hit new heights.

Microsoft Snaps Up Skype

With rumours that Google and Facebook were circling around Skype like Great White sharks looking for their next meal, another big fish came in from under their noses.

Bill Gates' huge computer corporation outbid the others to take the Voice over Internet Protocol Company for a staggering $5.2 billion.

Microsoft has long been trying to get in on the voice communications business but struggled at first with the unsuccessful market impact of their Kin phone.

Microsoft then followed this up with the Windows Phone 7, but that model will have a hard time trying to compete with the wildly popular Apple iPhone and Google Android smartphones.

Yet while other companies have been feeling the global economic pinch, there are no such problems from Microsoft which this week reported revenue in excess of $16 billion.

That means that the loss of $156 million from the failed launch of the Kin Phone last year was not a terminal problem.

We wait now to see what the future holds for Microsoft and Skype. Analysts predict that one move might be to allow an in-game chat service for users of the Xbox gaming console. Surely though this would be the very least of the powerful VoIP capacity which Skype offers.

Skype was just preparing itself for an Initial Public Offering with a rapidly amassed 170 million paying subscribers and a valuation of over $1 billion.

It seems that the bidding war forced Microsoft to pay five times that much, but the company has made a strong statement to its rivals that it intends to be the dominant player for many years to come.

However some Microsoft investors remain skeptical of acquiring a service which has always struggled to monetise itself.

Forrester Research analyst Andrew Bartels said: "It doesn't make sense at all as a financial investment. There is no way Microsoft that is going to generate enough revenue and profit from Skype to compensate for this huge outlay."