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Commetrex and Sangoma Team Up!

Interfacing HMP media servers to the PSTN just got a whole lot less expensive. Commetrex’ BladeWare now supports the Sangoma line of PSTN PCI and PCI Express interface boards. The boards will be marketed as the MSP product line, which includes 2-24-port analog with mix-and- match support for both station and office trunks, single, dual, and quad E1/T1/J1 with PRI support. BRI support provides 2-24 ports on Linux.

For years, Commetrex has shipped a limited range of PCI telephony boards, including the DSP-based MSP-320, so this announcement marks a major shift in the company’s strategy. We have landed some significant design wins in the IP enterprise- fax market with BladeWare’s high function and performance with an unbeatable price. But every one of these OEMs would like to enjoy similar competitive advantage when a TDM interface is required. They have a worldwide customer base; systems range from two to hundreds of ports. This means not just analog and E1/T1 boards, but ISDN PRI and BRI for the EU market. And then, there’s worldwide homologations.

Now, we’re venturing into T.38 Phase II. With SIP trunking obviating the need for the enterprise gateway, users and vendors are looking for end-to-end T.38 transport from deep within the enterprise to the access service provider, through the backbone IP provider to the IP-PSTN gateway. This presents the system integrator with a lot of moving parts that, since we are still at the front end of Phase II, have never been tested. Users, OEMs, and service providers need T.38 pioneer, such as Commetrex, to help them put the pieces together.

As we received IP design wins, we knew we had to get there, and get there fast to meet our FoIP customer’s PSTN-interface requirements. Then, the Sangoma folks told us that not only did they already have the products our customers need, but that they could sell them to us for less than we could produce them ourselves. We were sold. Another consideration was Sangoma’s support for Windows. There are multiple vendors for PCM- interface boards, but many only support Linux. Sangoma’s support for Linux and Windows, their simplified APIs, and strong tech support made the decision even easier.

Over three dozen boards are available in a variety of configurations. Example board prices are $272.00 for a two-line analog; 12-line analog is $993.00; single-span MSP E/T is $497.00; quad- span is $1410.00. A beta release will be available in August.

For more information or to sign up for the beta test (with discounts), contact Sales or Tom Ray at 770-407-6025.

Voice Is Coming to BladeWare!

We are adding voice to BladeWare to support your IVR and messaging applications, and some fax applications need voice prompts. Look for a beta release in Q3 that supports the Sangoma boards described above. We’ll also be adding voice support to the SIP RSM in Q4. So you should have PSTN voice in BladeWare 2.0 towards the end of Q3 and SIP support for it in Q4. Playback will be full-featured with pause-resume, jump ahead-back, loader-softer, and faster-slower.

For more information contact Sales or Bruce Adams at 770-407-6020.

BladeWare 1.5

The biggest new feature in BladeWare 1.5, scheduled for mid-Q3, will be V.34 support for G.711 pass- through fax and terminating T.38 (what we call Multi- Modal Terminating Fax or MMTF). This means BladeWare’s TerminatingT38 supports T.38 V3. SIP registration and authentication will be there, support for fax footers as well as headers, and a better logger, which will allow you to use it in a production environment, will be included.

There will also be a new feature that has significant maintainability ramifications. A BladeWare user’s application will be able to continue running even if BladeWare, or a service within BladeWare, is taken down for maintenance. (Remember, BladeWare is a distributed system, so your applications have their own process space or even their own machine(s).) For example you will be able to take media resources in and out of service without shutting down your application or the balance of the system. And if the application implements your proprietary admin console, it can run independently of the balance of the system.

Over the next several months, BladeWare’s administrative and maintainability features will improve. The keystone event will be release 2.0, planned for late Q3, which will have a powerful browser-based control console. From it, you will be able to move BladeWare between its operational levels:

  • Level 0 – Not Running: (The initial and final state) OTF is not running. The only thing that can be done is to start BladeWare.
  • Level 1 – Configurable: Here, BladeWare supports configuration and administration.
  • Level 2 – Mandatory Services Running: In this state, the Mandatory Services, such as the Authentication Server, are started.
  • Level 3 – Optional Services Running: Here, optional services, such as the SIP RSM are started.
  • Level 4 – Clients Enabled: This state is functionally equivalent to Level 3 except that now BladeWare can handle client-application connections.
  • Level 5 – Calls Enabled: At Level 5, client applications can place and accept calls.

Want to learn more about BladeWare, contact Sales or Mike Coffee at 770-407-6021.

What Is PowerFax for BladeWare?

PowerFax for BladeWare is the product that adds Commetrex’ industry-leading fax technology to the BladeWare platform.

Perhaps we shouldn’t assume you know what BladeWare, is. It’s our HMP telephony middleware. Today, it is shipping with support for IP fax, both TerminatingT38 and G.711 pass through, which uses our fax modems, now including V.34. In early Q3 we will begin shipping support for several Sangoma boards, as explained above, giving the BladeWare user PSTN analog and digital access, as well as voice play-record.

But it gets even better as the differences between these network-interface resources are transparent to your BladeWare, application. Moreover, SIP and PSTN support run on the same system and at the same time. Routing rules, maintained independently of your application for inbound and outbound calls, are used to determine which application receives a call and which resource handles an outbound call.

PowerFax for BladeWare is the integrated fax resource for BladeWare that makes all this happen. And it’s all the access your application needs to support IP networks and the PSTN.

For more information on PowerFax for BladeWare, send an e-mail to Sales and we’ll send you a comprehensive product bulletin.

The SIP Forum’s (www.sipforum.org) FoIP Task Group

If any of you have tried to deploy T.38-based fax in multi-network environments, you’ve probably encountered more than one obstacle. To address these problems and offer solutions, the SIP Forum has chartered the FoIP Task Group (TG). From the SIP Forum Website:

The proposed charter of the SIP Forum FoIP task group is to investigate ongoing issues with the deployment of fax services, specifically ITU T.38, in SIP networks. SIP networks cannot adequately replace analog PSTN in enterprises unless essential services, such as fax, are accommodated.

Many real-time IP-fax problems are occurring with increasing frequency due to the evolution and maturation of enterprise and carrier networks. Today, capex by both is largely confined to IP infrastructure, creating demand for SIP trunking, which reduces the need for gateways. The absence of gateways and substitution of SIP trunking and peering, then, boosts demand for effective support of fax in access-provider and backbone IP networks. This move to a more seamless interconnection of the enterprise and wide-area networks creates new interoperability requirements and challenges.

Previously, when IP stopped at the enterprise edge, T.38 interoperability was relatively simple, as it was only required between the ATA or fax server and the enterprise gateway. But with direct SIP connections, T.38 interoperability is required between the enterprise and access provider, and between the access and long-haul providers. And all of the links in this chain must provide effective T.38 support. It’s the addition of all these “moving parts” that present today’s challenges.

If you are interested in SIP, you should be a member of the SIP Forum. So join up! And if you’d like to see more effective support of real-time fax in IP networks, monitor the work of the FoIP Task Group. Better yet, volunteer to participate. We need you.

Want to learn more about the SIP Forum? Contact Marketing or Mike Coffee at 770-407-6021.