ECG Blog 200 OK

Quality: Required. QoS: Never. (Quality VoIP Across the Public Internet.)

1. Introduction Customers want quality voice and video. This can be readily provided using engineered links -- i.e., paths that prioritize, reserve, or otherwise guarantee that the real-time voice and video packets will be delivered within the required timing constraints. But because of the wonderful cost reductions of Internet bandwidth, customers would prefer to get the quality voice and vide...


Grass Is Greener In The Other Market: Metaswitch and Broadsoft

Two of my favorite companies, BroadSoft and Metaswitch, are showing that they're interested in the other guy's turf. At the recent Metaswitch Forum in New Orleans, the talk was about the "NFV" standard for managing telecom software, and about Business Services. Metaswitch's customer base -- independent telcos -- has long been strong in TDM voice (PRI, CAS T1) residential (analog service via GR-...


Ten Years In VoIP History

I started my current job on the US Memorial Day, 2003. In 2003: The Cisco 7960 was the Cadillac VoIP Phone. (Cisco appears to have stopped supporting the SIP stack on the Cisco 7900 series phone.) Polycom's SoundPoint IP phones came from behind, and are clearly the dominant phones in the industry. The only robust way to deliver "Digital Voice" service over a Cable Company's HFC network requir...


Killing VoIP Theft: Werewolf, or Hydra?

At the SIP Forum’s SIPNOC 2013 meeting in Herndon Virginia, I'll be presenting on how to kill VoIP Theft. Is it more like a Werewolf, or more like a Hydra? The Bad Guys are stealing service from any VoIP service provider they can. The attacks come through several vectors, but typically they (a) discover SIP credentials, then do direct SIP registration; or (b) compromise a customer VoIP devic...


SIPNOC 2013: Taking the Custom out of Customer

At the SIP Forum’s SIPNOC 2013 event in Herndon, Virginia, April 22-25 2013, Mark Lindsey from ECG will be explaining how VoIP Service Providers can engineer less to build better customer deployments. Engineers live to build things, and solve new problems. But if every customer becomes an opportunity to design afresh, then no two customers will be alike. The service provider that prides itse...


Where is the Demarc in Hosted VoIP PBX?

In telecom, the "demarc" represents the point in the network where the responsibility differs; it is the interface between the service provider and the customer. Traditional Analog POTS: The Demarc is often a test port on the side of the building. If something is broken between the test port and the customer's phone, then it's the customer's responsibility to fix it. Otherwise, it's the servic...


Upcoming Changes in BroadSoft Provisioning and Call Control Interfaces

The Sonoran Desert: Location of the BroadSoft Connections Conferences for 10 years. I'm involved in the maintenance of a Call Control Client for BroadWorks, Attaché, and a Provisioning Library for BroadWorks, Alpaca. This makes me very interested in changes BroadSoft makes to their interfaces. At present, BroadSoft supports a number of interfaces: OCI-P for Provisioning OCI-C for Call Control...


Making VoIP Geo-Redundancy Actually Work Well

Geographic Fault Tolerance for VoIP Carriers is a hot topic. The dream is to offer a telecom service that functions properly, even if half of the equipment is detonated. Fortunately, a VoIP Carrier far more likely to experience a simple network outage due to backhoe fade, or lose a building due to flooding, than they are to be attacked by gamma rays. Reliability is a key goal of professional Vo...


Interest High in VoIP Security at SIPNOC 2012

Large Financial Losses Dominate Concern June 2012, Hyatt Dulles, Sterling, Virginia, USA: Carrier VoIP Security was the first technical topic discussed at the SIPForum's SIPNOC 2012 conference. A standing-room-only crowd of engineers attended an informal Birds-of-Feather (BOF) session on the latest in VoIP Security Threats and Prevention techniques. Dollars Lost, Interest Gained Why the huge i...


Gamblers and Preppies

In VoIP Carrier networks, as in other complex systems, there are two types of problems. I'll call these "Preppy" problems, and "Gambling" problems. Preppy problems occur when you're at the limits of achievable quality within the tolerable costs. -- A physical device fails.-- A generally good algorithm has a memory leak.-- A hacker finds a way to exploit a defect in your firewall. -- VoIP throu...


FraudStopper Frequently Asked Questions

Here at ECG, we're very excited about FraudStopper, our toll-fraud detection system. It is the only Fraud Detection tool optimized for VoIP service providers running BroadWorks, Metaswitch, or similar platforms. You can get more details on FraudStopper on the FraudStopper page.   Here are some of the common questions we're getting. What kind of fraud does FraudStopper stop? Fra...


Meaningless telecom statistics are a pain in the asr.

In the 1960s, General Telephone and Electronics Corporation, GTE, employed my father to visit their Central Offices in Georgia to connect measurement equipment to their telephone switches. The purpose was to monitor the system for evidence of problems. They came up with all kinds of measurements in that era; one of the most enduring was Answer-Seizure Ratio, ASR. The ASR is 100*(number of call...


GrandStream GXP-2100: A step in the right direction

I once frustrated the Grandstream marketing folks at a tradeshow. The year was around 2007, and the show was SuperComm. (I think.) My exposure to GrandStream was the BudgeTone and the HandyTone. We had tested both devices, and made them work, but neither of them was something we could recommend. I asked the booth-staffers whether they had any business phones. They pointed at something with nov...


What's Driving SBC Growth?

Seven years ago I sat down in a cramped office outside Boston. I was visiting Acme Packet, and the question on everyone's mind was this: How long will this "SBC" thing hold out? You see, in 2004, everybody I talked to about the Acme Packet thought it was a temporary fix to a technical oversight. Maybe the SIP people would modify the standard to accommodate NAT and Firewalls better. Or perhaps ...


VoIP Fraud Could Kill Your Company — FraudStopper Kills the Fraud

Metaswitch Forum 2011, Las Vegas, NV, Oct. 3, 2011 -- ECG, a VoIP network design and integration consultancy, announces the success of FraudStopper, a new toll-fraud detection system optimized for VoIP providers. FraudStopper was deployed in June 2011 at a nationwide CLEC based in New York City. The system has successfully detected numerous incidents of attempted theft of service, saving the...