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Sangoma Update

BladeWare support for Sangoma’s analog boards is now in GA release. This adds station- and office-trunk support for Windows and Linux to BladeWare. Remember, these boards give you 2-24-ports of analog in just one PCI or PCI Express slot. Two interfaces are on each daughtercard, which is the mix-n-match granularity for FX/S and FX/O. A two-port board is just $272; an 8-port board is $652. Plus, each channel of fax requires a software license. The per-port license fee depends on your volume, but budget about $100 for each.

Support for the digital boards will be provided in Q1 by an enhanced version of the same BladeWare resource service manager (RSM) as is currently shipping. Robbed-bit, ISDN PRI, and ISDN BRI are offered. Single-, dual-, quad-, and octal-span E1/T1 boards require just one PCI or PCI Express slot in a 2-U enclosure.

The ISDN BRI board is interesting. It gives you 2-24 BRIs, for 4-48 lines, all in one slot.

To learn more about these products, visit MSP Portal.

Broadcast Fax with FaxFacts

In a strip last December, Dilbert disparaged fax as dated technology. As fax is over 100 years old, it’s a fair statement, but dated in this case just means ubiquitous deployment. And don’t disparage fax around the businesses that send tens of thousands of faxes every day. Yes, fax broadcast is still big, and one of the best packages around to help you do it is FaxFacts from Copia International, (Chicago, IL USA) running on Commetrex’ BladeWare.

So, what makes a fax server particularly good for broadcast? According to Steve Hersee, Copia’s CEO and founder, it’s control and measurement of the broadcast. FaxFacts supports simple fax blasting, used, for example, to make a company announcement. For more advanced, mission-critical faxing, FaxFacts offers personalized graphical cover sheets. Then, there is FaxFacts’ patented mail-merge option.

The product’s Smart Retry feature makes it easy for the user to tailor retry options for things such as busy, no answer, and SIT. Increasingly, IP-based fax broadcast is offering a lower-cost alternative to PSTN fax broadcast. But no IP carrier is ubiquitous; just look at the route maps on their Websites. So the Smart Retry mixed-mode feature allows you to retry using a T1/E1 board on the same system using the same FaxFacts BladeWare application that supports T.38 and G.711 pass-through fax.

And FaxFacts doesn’t try to lock you in to a proprietary database. Use Exchange, SalesForce, ACT, SQL, and any of several other popular databases. BladeWare allows FaxFacts to offer superior robustness, scalability, and feature set, at the lowest cost in the industry. So, if you have a fax-broadcast requirement, you should give our friends at www.copia.com a call at 630-388-6900.

Sandata Technologies & BladeWareVXi

Sandata Technologies, Inc., Port Washington, NY, provides over 1,000 home-healthcare companies, Santrax, a hosted on-site service-delivery tracking service. Santrax allows the in-home care givers to dial into the system to report the services provided, as well as certain test results. Back-end systems then provide functions such as reports, analysis, billing, and payroll.

Santrax uses Commetrex’ BladeWareVXi VoiceXML interpreter to reduce the development and maintenance costs of the many interactive scripts needed to service over 250,000 daily calls on 24 T spans.

According to Sheryl Cooper, Sandata VP & Product Manager of Time & Attendance, “With our large capacity and growth plans, we needed a VXML interpreter with great performance. We benchmarked BladeWareVXi, and found that Commetrex had made significant performance improvements to OpenVXi, on which it is based. Commetrex was also willing to provide us with the professional services we needed to adapt BladeWareVXi to our platform. We are very pleased with the Commetrex product and service.”

Commetrex’ Chief Marketing Officer, Tom Ray, commented, “Commetrex has invested significantly in the development of BladeWareVXi over the past two years. In particular, we have focused on increasing the performance and enhancing the usability of the product. We’re delighted that these efforts have resulted in the BladeWareVXi performance numbers achieved with Sandata Technologies. And, with our latest release, we have further distanced BladeWareVXi from its’ predecessor, OpenVXi.”

Sandata’s Website is at www.sandata.com.

SIP Forum FoIP Update

Prior to broad deployment of T.38 within service-provider and carrier networks, using T.38 was relatively easy—what Commetrex calls T.38 Phase I. In Phase I, which lasted about 10 years from T.38’s 1998 approval, you had a premises-based enterprise PSTN-IP gateway connected with an on-premises SIP peer, such as an ATA or a fax server. If you had a problem, it was relatively easy to resolve, as there were only two vendors involved. But Phase II is different.

Now, T.38 is widely deployed in carrier networks. But just because they offer it does not mean that it’s trouble free. VoIP service providers are frustrated at the support problems that come with T.38 deployment

Enter the SIP Forum FoIP Task Group.

We’ve made progress in developing recommendations to clear up some specification loose ends. We’ve developed recommendations for how to handle V.34 endpoints with Version 0 (non-V.34) gateways, for example. But now comes the biggest problem: How can we make T.38 reliable over multiple tandem networks? Most of the Task Group members are equipment vendors, but the problem lies within the carrier networks. The breakthrough occurred in December when the i3 Forum and the Task Group leadership had a conference call to explore cooperation in solving the problem with which we both are quite familiar.

The i3 Forum brings together the communications expertise of more than 30 telecommunications operators representing a combined subscriber base in excess of one billion customers in over 80 countries. The goal of the i3 Forum is to develop collaborative recommendations for an industry-wide transition of voice and related services, such as fax, to IP.

The i3 Forum invited the SIP Forum to send two representatives to its meeting in Rome on January 14 and 15. Commetrex’ CTO, Cliff Schornak, and Digium’s Director of Software Technologies, Kevin Fleming, represented the SIP Forum at the meeting. We’ll keep you apprised of the progress of the combined organizations.

If you’re interested in this work, please visit the SIP Forum at www.sipforum.org for more information.