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Austin Is Cool!

With its hip music scene, UT, and now ITEXPO, Austin is one cool town. But this September Commetrex is going to heat it up with its announcement of Smart ATA, the industry’s only ATA with T.38 that actually has a call-success rate that’s on par with PSTN fax. It could actually do better than the PSTN if there were no PSTN on the called side, but, based on conversations we’ve had with hundreds of service providers, equaling the PSTN will meet subscriber expectations, and is far better than anything on the market today.

So, if you are an ITSP and find that IP fax is problematic, you owe it to yourself to make reservations for ITEXPO West 2011, and on September 13 head to booth 722 to find out how you can make fax-related trouble tickets a thing of the past. You’ll also have two opportunities to hear Commetrex’ CEO Mike Coffee participate in a panel discussion on FoIP:

  • Unified Communications: FoIP Panel, Tuesday 9/13, 1:00 p.m.
  • Next Generation Faxing in Today’s Enterprise IP Environment, Tuesday 9/13, 2:30 p.m.

At the last two ITEXPOs (LA and Miami Beach), Commetrex has touted its patent-pending Smart FoIP. We told anyone who would listen that we were adding Smart FoIP to BladeWare to make it the highest-connect-rate fax media server. But now we’ve developed an ATA with Smart FoIP to give ITSPs what they need to allow subscribers to turn their legacy fax terminals and phones into IP appliances. With Smart FoIP, your subscribers will press send, walk away, and when they return, the fax has been sent … no ifs, ands, or buts.

If you’re incredulous, we don’t blame you, so come by our booth and let’s talk about trialing Smart ATA in your network so you can see for yourself.

Can’t wait ’til then? Call one of the listed inventors: Mike Coffee at 770-407-6021 or Cliff Schornak at 770-407-6026. There’s also a bunch of information on our Website.

Global Online Fax Community

What do you know about fax technology? Everything? Nothing? Well there’s a new source for everything fax: The Fax Global Online Community (GOC) on TMCnet.com. It just launched on June 28 and Commetrex is the sponsor.

For starters, we have our latest news there, but we’ll be adding tons of information about fax technology. And it’s not just about Commetrex, you’ll soon find info from other companies in the industry as well. The goal is for this online community to be the go-to source for all types of fax information, both historical and current.

So check out the site today – and be sure to bookmark it. If there’s anything you want to know about fax, this will be the place to find it.

To learn more about the Fax Community, contact Marilyn Troup, Commetrex’ new MarCom Director, at 770-407-6032 or marilyn_troup@commetrex.com.

FoIP Needs ENUM!

Two years ago we did some serious outbound testing with the cooperation of Copia International, one of our enterprise-fax server OEMs. Copia’s CopiaFacts is a full-function server for the enterprise, and it is feature-rich when it comes to mission-critical fax broadcast. So we were able to gather some very beneficial data as Copia performs evals for broadcast customers. Two years ago, Smart FoIP fell out of the data. Now, we’re doing it again, but this time we’re doing it as part of our work with the SIP Forum FoIP Task Group.

We’ve reported on several occasions how we installed CopiaFacts servers, based, of course, on BladeWare, in 13 global carrier locations in Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America. The results were sobering: Taking all failures into account, we only saw a nominal 50% completion rate. Whoa! What’s going on here? We knew carrier-based FoIP was “problematic”, but this is beyond that.

Yes, we fixed some BladeWare problems all this testing exposed, and yes, there were plenty of configuration problems in the on-ramp network, but the big problem appears to be trying to use SS-7, a call-routing system devised for the PSTN, to route calls that really needed IP-specific routing. That’s because the SS-7 network will throw an FoIP call that was transiting networks in T.38 mode into a TDM (PSTN) network without a second thought. Although this can work, nearly half the time is doesn’t. So, what’s the answer? Commetrex’ view is that the carriers need to move to ENUM as soon as possible.

Our testing over international routes has clearly shown that FoIP needs intelligent routing. This means each carrier’s routing algorithms must select a path that is not only IP, but supports T.38. ENUM is the first step to take as it will identify the destination IP network. Then, it’s up to the carriers involved to route the call over interconnects that have been proven to effectively support FoIP.

What’s ENUM? If you don’t know and want to find out, check out the next article.

For more info on FoIP, BladeWare or any other Commetrex solution, shoot us an email at sales@commetrex.com.

ENUM? What’s ENUM?

ENUM takes a telephone number, converts it to a domain name, and uses the IETF domain-name system (DNS) to find the IP address to use to reach the number. So it unifies the PSTN E.164 numbering and the Internet’s DNS. An originating carrier, then, can use its internal routing algorithms to route the call over IP networks, preferably over IP networks that support T.38 if it’s a fax call. But how does the on-ramp network know it’s fax call?

Now, you may be aware that FoIP transaction success over IP-carrier networks is maximized if it begins as a G.711 call, as would a voice call. If the called gateway detects that a fax terminal has answered, it will signal the calling gateway to switch to T.38. This is fine, but this only happens after the carriers have routed the call. What to do?

The FoIP Task Group is looking at recommending that the originating SIP network element set “user=fax” or, possibly, “m=image” if it knows that the calling user agent is a fax endpoint. If it’s not sure, no problem since a route suitable for FoIP is going to be great for VoIP.

For more info on FoIP, BladeWare or any other Commetrex solution, shoot us an email at sales@commetrex.com.

Big IP Carriers

Okay, in previous issues of this newsletter, we’ve pointed out that FoIP within the confines of the enterprise IP network works well (FoIP Phase I) — at least with Commetrex technology it does. And we just pointed out above that international FoIP routes that involve inter-carrier interconnect that may include TDM legs is, to say the least, problematic. But what about FoIP that uses SIP trunking to an ITSP that hands off to a national IP carrier? That’s a different story.

The large-footprint IP carriers (e.g., Level3, Global Crossing) that serve North America now have 3-6 years of experience to draw on in offering FoIP service. They have their networks upgraded to support T.38, have configuration and peering figured out, and generally do a good job. We should know because we’ve done so much testing between BladeWare-based servers peering with motivated ITSPs that will specifically route BladeWare’s calls to qualified IP carriers.

You will hear that FoIP isn’t ready for mission-critical broadcast, but we’re here to tell you it isn’t so, in North America, anyway. Fax-broadcast service providers can get rates under $0.05 per minute, halving their per-minute cost compared with TDM. For this to pay, you need to have connect rates reasonably close to TDM connect rates, but we are getting connect rates on a par with TDM. How do we do it? With outstanding G.711 pass-through support with patent-pending PCM clock synchronization, Smart FoIP control of T.38 re-Invites, and industry-benchmark T.38 performance.

For more info on Smart FoIP or any other Commetrex solution, call us at 770-407-7775 or email us at sales@commetrex.com.