VoIP Supply - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog Page 7
For those of us who work forty-plus hours a week, we tend to fall into work routines. For some of us, those routines start as soon as we get to the office. Maybe it’s checking your emails, or maybe it’s grabbing a cup of coffee before settling into our workspace.
But if your job has you on the phone when you first show up to work, then your routine could be returning voicemails, making outcalls or even immediately taking incoming calls to get a jump start on your day.
Whatever the case may be, if using your phone is ingrained in your routine, then you are going to notice a difference if it’s not working properly! Right?
So what happens if you find yourself in a situation where your phone is not working properly? Most people would be referred to the IT department, and we all know the bud of almost every IT joke is “Did you try turning it off and on again?” But if your phone is malfunctioning, unplugging and plugging it back in won’t always do the trick, so I thought writing this How-To blog on how to restart your phone might come in handy!
How to Restart the Polycom VVX 410
As an example, we will use the Polycom VVX 410. Restarting this phone is actually quite simple and could help restore your phone’s proper functionality. All you have to do is:
- Select Settings from the Home view
- Select Basic followed by Restart Phone
- The message Are you sure? will display
- If you are sure about restarting your phone then press Yes
That’s it! After this, the restart process will begin and once it is finished, your phone will return to the default Home screen display. If you are still having issues with your phone after restarting it, then at least you can tell your IT guy “I didn’t just turn it off and on again….I RESTARTED IT!”
Do you have a Polycom VVX410 on your desk? Have you tried this trick when your phone wasn’t operating correctly? Let us know! We want to know!
Publish Date: April 14, 2017 5:00 AM
Buffalo, NY, April 2017 - As the first certified B-Corp in Western New York since 2013, VoIP Supply is dedicated to helping local communities with time and money at least once per month.
This month, four VoIP Supply’s employees, once again, stepped out the office to the Salvation Army of Buffalo’s Senior Center to help them host their Easter Egg Hunt event. Our employees helped serve lunch to the members and their grandchildren and assisted with Easter Egg Hunt games.
During the games, we jumped in to compete with other members and assisted younger children to finish the competition. We ended the day with distributing candy bags and all the goodies as good-bye gifts at the door.
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting people in need for 130 years in the United States. Their Senior Center provides numerous opportunities for elders, allowing them to stay active, engaged and involved.
It serves breakfast and hot lunches daily and offers a variety of activities each week such as instructional classes, computer classes, social service referrals, shopping and overnight trips. The Salvation Army’s Senior Center provides a safe and comfortable place to countless elders over the years and continuous to serve more seniors in need.
“It’s heart-warming to see all the content, happy faces of the elders and their grandchildren while we serve the lunch and participate the games. We are happy to be able to provide service to the Salvation Army and be part of the impact they bring to the community every day,” said Steve Lopian, Video Production Specialist at VoIP Supply.
Big thanks to the Salvation Army for giving us this great opportunity to participate and transform the communities through service together. VoIP Supply looks forward to serving more organizations in the upcoming months!
Publish Date: April 14, 2017 5:00 AM
Are you curious about Sangoma’s latest technology or are interested in being a partner with Sangoma? If yes, then you are in luck! VoIP Supply is co-hosting three roadshows with Sangoma in Ohio and Pennsylvania this May. You will have the chance to see and learn the latest IP telephony products and solutions from Sangoma and learn the advantages of partnering with Sangoma.
This event is FREE to attend, but pre-registration is required. Follow the links below to register!
|Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Cleveland, OH 44106
|Wednesday, May 10
ROCK Bottom Brewery
Homestead, PA 15120
|Thursday, May 11
ROCK Bottom Brewery
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Get Your Free Sangoma s500 IP Phone
If you attend the roadshow, you’ll not only get to test drive the Sangoma phones but also receive one to keep. (Limit 1 phone per company. Must be present to claim your phone.) Attend Sangoma Roadshow(s) and get your own s500 IP phone to experience yourself!
At this event, you will also….
- Learn how to leverage the Sangoma Partner Program to increase your bottom line
- Get up to speed on the latest developments in our unified communications solutions, including Sangoma phones, FreePBX, PBXact UC, SIPStation, FAXStation, and Zulu UC
- Connect with key members of the Sangoma team and grow your network
- Enjoy complimentary snacks, beverages, cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres
We look forward to meeting you at the roadshow!
Publish Date: April 12, 2017 5:00 AM
A few weeks ago, I wrote about redundancy in the cloud, mainly using AWS (Amazon Web Services) as an example.
Today, we’ll talk about how to connect multiple regions together through a VPN so that systems can synchronize local IP address to local IP address. Some systems will allow you to send backups and perform a restore over the Internet to public IP addresses, but in the event, you are using one that doesn’t, a VPN will be required. Connecting different regions together is important because sometimes entire regions on a cloud platform can suffer from catastrophic failures as recent events will prove. Placing all of your eggs in one basket, as they say, is a bad idea. Unfortunately, when it comes to AWS, there is no mechanism to route traffic to a geographically separated region over AWS alone. I have no idea why, but that’s just the rules the AWS gods have directed us to follow. So, to fix that, we need to create a VPN.
Fortunately, there all sorts of canned VPN solutions. The downside is: they generally cost quite a bit of money. You’ll find that you will need to pay a subscription fee on top of AWS usage charges for a Palo Alto, Brocade, or Fortinet virtual appliance. While these are great to have, they might be cost or operationally prohibitive for your environment.
Thankfully, there is another solution, and it’s called OpenSwan. OpenSwan is a quick and easy way to turn a Linux machine into a VPN server using IPSec. The major benefits are that it’s free to use and install, and it can run on a cheap instance on AWS (free tier). Meaning, you’ll essentially just pay for storage, which can be small at 8 Gigs per machine. You’ll, of course, need two of these Linux instances, one per region. Let’s create a hypothetical scenario, configure a VPN between two AWS regions, and route traffic appropriately.
Imagine an East and West region with non-overlapping IP addresses in their respective VPCs (virtual private cloud). If you’re not familiar with AWS, the VPC is the top hierarchical unit which contains subnets. Within the subnets are your instances. In our example, the West VPC uses 10.0.0.0/16, with a single 10.0.0.0/24 subnet configured, giving you 254 hosts minus a few that AWS uses for the Internet gateway and DNS. The East region uses 172.16.0.0/16, with 172.16.0.0/24 carved out of it, which also allows 254 hosts minus a handful. In each region, there will be an IP PBX, and OpenSwan server. The West is designated as the primary site for phones to register to, and the East as the warm spare as described in my last post. In the specific case of FreePBX, the warm IP PBX will perform a backup of the primary via the VPN, save the configuration locally, and restore it so it becomes an identical copy with the exception of network settings. In the case of Wazo, the VPN would be used for more frequent synchronizations along with a ping probe to monitor availability. The figure below depicts our scenario (please excuse the Visio drawing):
Let’s build our VPN (IPSec with PSK).
Somme AWS and Linux experience required.
- Launch two new instances of Amazon Linux in the FreeTier (t2.micro). The VPN is meant for synchronization only, so it doesn’t need a lot of horsepower or network performance.
2. Attach Elastic IP addresses to your instances.
3. Route traffic for the opposite region to your new instances.
4. In the security groups for each OpenSwan server, allow the Elastic IP address of the opposite server. You will also need to allow the opposite subnets in the security groups of the IP PBXs. Below are catch-all rules:
5. Log into your instance update, and install OpenSwan on each.
6. Uncomment (remove the’#’) the last line in /etc/ipsec.conf to include *.conf files in /etc/ipsec.d
7. In /etc/sysctl.conf, modify net.ipv4.ip_forward to equal 1, and add:
8. Create the configuration for the West region OpenSwan instance.
9. Create a .secrets file for the West region OpenSwan instance.
10. Do the same on the East OpenSwan instance.
11. Restart the network service on each server and start the VPN.
12. Check your VPN status.
Verify connectivity by pinging each opposing OpenSwan’s internal IP address and also the IP addresses of the IP PBXs. You’ll also want to make sure each IP PBX can communicate across the VPN as well. If you are modifying these configurations to fit your own specific setup and the VPN fails, check to make sure all of your IP addresses are correct and that your security groups are allowing the traffic. After any corrections are made, be sure to restart ipsec by using ‘service ipsec restart.’
If all went well, you now have the ability to synchronize or replicate your IP PBX configuration. I’d like to add and make clear that the scenario and configuration above should strictly be considered a proof of concept and shouldn’t be used for production. If you are thinking of employing a similar setup, make sure you are more specific with your security groups (mostly with allow protocols, and outbound connections). You should also consider narrowing your subnets to something significantly smaller if you won’t be needing so many IP addresses. There are also several ways to configure OpenSwan. I chose PSK in this example because it is the most simple to configure, but check out the OpenSwan wiki for more options.
Thanks for reading and Happy VoIPing!
Publish Date: April 10, 2017 5:00 AM
Recently, Digium’s D80 IP Phone received the 2017 Unified Communications Product of the Year Award.
The D80 IP phone is an HD touchscreen desk phone for businesses who are looking for a high-quality phone at an affordable price. It features a 7-inch HD display with multi-point capacitive touchscreen, 100 rapid dial/busy lamp field (BLF) entries, dual 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit network ports and advanced touch-optimized applications.
Digium is proud to be honored and dedicated to continuously moving forward with innovative, easy-to-use and affordable devices.
“The award honors the best, most innovative unified communications products and solutions released in the last twelve months.” as judged by the editors of TMC’s INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.
Take a look at the D80 IP phones today and learn what great features it has to offer!
As a proud partner of Digium, we would like to congratulate them on this award!
Publish Date: April 6, 2017 5:00 AM
Sitting in front of my computer working the whole day. Finally, I was getting up to stretch a little bit. CLUNK! I looked around and saw my headset dropped to the floor. I forgot I was wearing a corded headset and the cord was pulling the headset back to its restrained area as I got up. You know what I’m talking about…..
The similar scenario happened so many times until one day I decided to end the nightmare - I got my very first Bluetooth wireless headset. Now, I walk around talking freely and, plus, have a more organized, less-wiring desk! You might be asking yourself - are those the only things that I can benefit from using a Bluetooth wireless headset? Certainly not! Let me share with you the top 4 benefits of using a Bluetooth headset you will love.
Benefit #1 Free From Your Desk or Device
Bluetooth headsets allow you to roam around your office without worrying about missing a call. The typical range is 25 to 100 meters. No more complicated wiring in your way. I like how I can focus on my work than dealing with the wires all the time. Even when I am on hold with a call, I can still be productive, doing other tasks away from my phone/ computer.
Benefit #2 Easy and Quick Setup
Nowadays, Bluetooth is almost everywhere. Most of your electronic devices have a built-in Bluetooth function ready to be used with your Bluetooth headset. Also, the pairing process for a Bluetooth headset is simpler and quicker than setting up your traditional headset.
Benefit #3 Pair with Multiple Devices Easily
This is one of my favorite advantages. If you always have multiple devices running at the same time just like I do, chances are you may want to switch music or phone calls from one device to another. With Bluetooth technology, you can easily link multiple devices to the same Bluetooth headset and switch among the devices at the drop of a hat.
Benefit #4 Everything is at Your Fingertips
With a Bluetooth headset, you can now keep in touch with your work, clients, or even your family and friends wherever you go. Most of the options in the market have easy-to-use control keys right on the wireless headset, allowing you to pick up or end phone calls without going back to your phone or computer.
Are you ready to shop for your ideal Bluetooth headset? Be sure to check out VoIP Supply’s complete catalog of top Bluetooth headsets or simply just call one of our experienced VoIP consultants at 1-800-398-VoIP to ask for some advice!
Publish Date: April 6, 2017 5:00 AM
Known for simple, easy-to-use communication solutions, Revolab is bringing their revolutionary technology to small and medium-sized conference rooms, executive office, or even your home office. This summer, Revolab is going to introduce a new conferencing system, the Yamaha CS-700 video conferencing system, to make your small business collaboration more efficient and effective. Let’s hear what it is all about!
What is the Yamaha CS-700?
The Yamaha CS-700 is an all-in-one unit of video conferencing system designed for small-sized rooms with limited tabletop space (we call huddle rooms). This unique system combines ultra-wideband audio with high-quality video to fulfill all collaboration requirements in one simple, wall-mounted solution.
What Can the Yamaha CS-700 Do?
The Yamaha CS-700 comes with advanced features tailored to small businesses’ collaboration requirements. let’s take a peek at some highlights of the Yamaha CS-700:
- Remote Management allows users to remotely monitor, manage, and upgrade unit automatically through the IP interface. Managing hundreds of huddle rooms has become simpler than ever.
- 120-degree ultra-wide-angle cameras capture all meeting participants in one field of view, covering more than 80% area in the room without the need of zooming in the cameras. The high pixel count also allows users to see the individual expressions from the room clearly.
- A beamforming microphone array picks up every single word spoken in the room and delivers it to the far end. The four-element speaker bar provides high-quality audio, ensuring you an easy, natural conversation.
- USB and SIP communications can be bridged easily in the CS-700 system. It supports multiple business communication applications such as Microsoft® Skype for Business™, Google Chromebox for Meetings™, BlueJeans®, Zoom®, and more. Additionally, the Bluetooth function enables fast and easy audio connections, instantly turning any mobile calls into a conferencing call.
- The wall mount system design provides the simplest installation and makes connecting the wires to the CS-700 easy and quick.
Want to Learn More?
Visit Rebvolab’s website or watch the product video above to learn the details about the CS-700. You can also visit our website or call our VoIP specialists at 1-800-398-VoIP to get more information about Revolab products. What do you think about this new product? Share with us.
Publish Date: April 5, 2017 5:00 AM
When it comes to phone calls at work, there is no limit to the types of calls we make and receive. Whether you are in sales and marking countless outcalls or in customer service where you are taking countless inbound calls, there is always the element of surprise.
Unless you have a scheduled call or if you are returning a voicemail, you can’t really be sure how your conversation is going to go. Some calls could be a matter of seconds, and others may take hours! This is why it is extremely important to know how your phone works!
Things like putting your call on hold or on speakerphone can be common knowledge, but there are other things that can arise during a conversation that might put some people in a sticky situation.
While there are several different “advanced” things you can do on a phone call, like warm-transfer or transfer someone to a voicemail, for this blog, we are going to focus on turning your one-on-one phone call into a 3-way conference call.
How to 3 Way Conference Call on the Grandstream GXP2170
Let’s use the Grandstream GXP2170 as an example on how to bring a third part into your conversation! To begin, let’s assume that you are already on a phone call. Let’s say that you have been troubleshooting an issue for several minutes and need to bring a technician on the line to solve your customers’ problem.
Simple press the conference button on your GXP2170 when it is time to bring in the third party. The button you will be looking for is this:
Once you have pressed the conference button it will bring up the conference dialing screen. From there, dial the third party number and press send! As soon as you have the third party on the line you can then press the Conf/Call softkey to initiate the 3-way conference!
Now you and your technician are able to work together and make one happy customer! When the call is wrapping up, you can then hit Cancel softkey to drop the third party and resume your 2-way call!
How often do you need to bring in a third party on the line? Is it as easy as it is on the Grandstream GXP2170? Let us know!
Publish Date: March 31, 2017 5:00 AM
When it comes to Voice over IP, some people think of the complicated technology that’s too difficult to understand, others even start dozing when the topic arises. However, VoIP is actually more fun than you think.
In the VoIP industry, we use many special, interesting terms to describe and explain the complex concepts. Let’s learn the trending VoIP terms and understand what people are talking about!
Huddle room usually refers to a small room in a company where a group of people can get together and have meetings for business matters. Because members in the room stay close together, therefore, we call it “huddle” room.
We all know that AC could mean “air conditioner”, however, AC adaptor’s full name is “Alternating Current” adaptor. It is a type of external power supply that is used to power or charge your electronic devices.
Sidecar normally means an extra seat added next to your motorcycle in order to accommodate more passengers. However, in VoIP world, it means a VoIP extension module that provides an extension field and associated scripts for VoIP.
Just like the clouds in the sky that you can see from almost everywhere, Cloud Service allows you to access to your system from anywhere with a network connection. It’s a service that are available on demand to users via the Internet from a cloud computing server.
You may have heard BYOB - Bring Your Own Beer. BYOD is a similar idea, except this time, you are bringing in your own “device”. BYOD is an abbreviation of Bring Your Own Device. Some VoIP providers let users use their existing SIP-ready device for their service.
Hot desking has nothing to do with the real temperature of the desk. It is an office space sharing system where multiple employees share the same desk or workstation during different time periods. When it’s your turn to work, you can probably still feel the warmth from the last worker which is why it’s named “hot desking”.
Soft/ Hard Phone
A softphone is an application that allows users to generate calls through a computer via the Internet. A hard phone is a hardware SIP phone that functions like a traditional phone but it makes calls through the IP network instead of PSTN lines.
Hop off refers to a point or gateway at which a call moves from an H.323 network to a network that uses some other protocol. The movement is similar to the action of a jump or hop.
Have you heard all the terms mentioned above? What other terms have you heard or used? Share with us!
Publish Date: March 31, 2017 5:00 AM
Since Toshiba announced their decision to wind-down their Telecommunication Systems Division (TSD), effective immediately, a lot of people are searching for alternative solutions to replace their current phone system. If you don’t have any replacement plans yet, don’t panic! Our VoIP specialists are here to give you some directions.
What are the Alternative Options to Toshiba Phone Systems?
Since Toshiba phone systems are all proprietary, switching out the system will involve replacing the entire phone system. This, understandably can seem like a daunting endeavor but seriously don’t panic! You can also see this as an opportunity to make a change for your business. Our VoIP specialists have come up with a three-step process below to help you find the best replacement option for your business.
Step One: List Out Your Requirements
Examine your business needs and list the requirements that must be met by the new phone system you are switching to.
Step Two: Plan Your Budget
How much capital expenditure do you plan to spend? Do you want to maintain your own PBX or go to the Cloud? Do you want to maintain your own PBX or go to the Cloud? Do you want to have custom applications? Do you have an on-site IT staff? All of these are questions that you must answer in order to assure that you are shopping for the best phone system for your business.
Step Three: Choose Your Ideal Type of VoIP System
There are basically two main types of VoIP systems available: Cloud Hosted VoIP and On-Premise VoIP.
Usually, for small to medium-sized businesses with a limited budget, a hosted VoIP system would be ideal since the service provider will provide most of the maintenance, which means you don’t need to have an on-site IT staff. Additionally, only a limited amount of VoIP hardware is required to get your system up and running, therefore, the upfront costs are relatively low.
For larger enterprises that desire customization, an on-premise VoIP system will give you more flexibility and independence. Although this option requires higher upfront costs to purchase the required VoIP equipment, it’s a great long-term investment as you own the equipment and save from the low monthly rates; however, we highly recommend checking out a hosted option as well. You will also benefit from the high scalability, customized applications, and migration support. See a variety of the on-premise solutions here.
If you are still not sure where to start or you are concerned about your specific business situation, VoIP Supply’s CloudSpan MarketPlace is a great place to direct you to the best solution. If you’re interested in moving your system to a safer and more reliable solution, fill out the form below or dial 800-305-1427 to receive a free consultation with up to 3 potential VoIP service solutions from some of the most popular service providers on the market!
Publish Date: March 30, 2017 5:00 AM
When you already have a lot of wirings on your desk for your mouse, Internet connection, computer power, and phone charger…. you don’t need to add another wire for your headset.
A Bluetooth wireless headset does not just set you free from your seat but also make switching calls between your devices a breeze. To make your decision making simpler, we compare the four top Bluetooth headsets side by side with their popular features and functions for you. Let’s take a peek!
The Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 (New!)
The Backbeat Pro 2 is one of the most robust wireless headsets from Plantronics that gives you the freedom to communicate or listen to your favorite songs wire-free.
With signature audio quality and up to 100 meters/ 330 feet wireless range, the Backbeat Pro 2 even allows users to connect up to two devices at a time and switch seamlessly from concentration to conversation. Users love Backbeat Pro 2‘s smart sensor which pauses music automatically when you remove the headsets and resumes when you put it back on! (You won’t miss any important announcements or your favorite songs!)
Some Features of the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2:
- On-demand active noise cancelling
- 40 mm drivers with Plantronics signature audio
- 24 hours of listening and talk time
- Class 1 Bluetooth
- Open-listening mode
Download the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 Datasheet
The Sennheiser Presence UC ML Bluetooth Headset
Consider the Sennheiser Presence UC ML if you are using Skype for Business (previous Lync). It is certified, quality headset for unified communications professionals that require excellent sound clarity in an office, in a car, or even outdoors.
With up to 25 meters of call range and up to 10 hours call time per charge, the Sennheiser Presence UC ML perfectly fits long-time use professionals who demand a dependable Bluetooth headset. This solution is also designed with Wind Safe Technology and Sound Focus Technology, significantly reducing wind noise and providing optimized speech clarity. But don’t take my word for it, see it yourself in the video below!
Popular Features of the Sennheiser Presence UC ML:
- Certified Skype for Business
- Best in Class Sound - HD Voice Clarity
- Optimized Speech Clarity - SpeakFocus Technology
- Wind Noise Reduction - WindSafe Technology
- Hearing Protection - ActiveGard Anti-Acoustic Shock Technology
- Multi-Connectivity - Seamlessly switch between two mobile calls
The VXi BlueParrott Reveal Pro Bluetooth Headset
When most of the Bluetooth headsets have limited capabilities, the VXi BlueParrot Reveal Pro headset is different with its extendable mic boom that gives you more powerful noise cancellation when you need it. Its extended range Bluetooth enables up to 300 feet range from your device.
Even better, this headset is equipped with programmable Parrott Button, which puts multiple customizable capabilities at your fingertips. Designed with multiple wearing styles such as over-the-head, behind-the-neck and on-the-ear, VXi BlueParrot Reveal Pro allows you to be yourself and stay comfortable for a long-time use. With BlueParrott Reveal Pro, there’s no limit!
Popular Features of the VXi BlueParrott Reveal Pro:
- Advanced noise-cancelling microphone eliminates 90%+ of ambient noise
- Extendable boom slides out for optimal mic placement
- Customizable Parrott Button for mute, speed dial and more
- HD Voice makes speech easier to hear and understand
- Class 1 Bluetooth delivers extended (300 foot) range
Download the VXi BlueParrott Reveal Pro User Guide
The Jabra Motion UC MS Wireless Headset
The Jabra Motion UC MS is another great headset optimized for Skype for Business (previous Lync) that includes all the functions you need such as HD voice, intelligent volume control and call assist.
This headset features an easy and intuitive call control with superior call quality and all-day talk time (8 hours battery life). Transferring calls from your deskphone to your mobile device has never been so easy with Jabra Motion UC MS headset. You are able to transfer calls within seconds and the person from the other end won’t even notice it!
Highlighted Features of the Jabra Motion UC MS Wireless Headset:
- Connects to VoIP softphone, mobile phone and tablet
- Standby Time: Up to 360 hours
- Charge Time: Up to 120 minutes
- Tap-to-Connect and Voice Controls
Download the Jabra Motion UC MS Datasheet
And that is our quick recap of the top four wireless headsets. Take a look at the comparison chart to find your ideal headset that offers all the features you demand! To see a complete catalog of our Bluetooth headsets please visit our website.
Publish Date: March 30, 2017 5:00 AM
Sangoma has been continuously investing in FreePBX R&D to bring customers new features such as Zero-Touch Provisioning with Sangoma IP Phones, Zulu Softphone and other language and compatibility support to enhance its functionality and the user experience.
Today, Sangoma goes one step further to release the latest version of FreePBX - FreePBX 14 RC1 (Release Candidate 1). This version offers advancements in all areas, from a newer Operating System to many new features including Calendar Module, New End User Control Panel (UCP), and a new Updates & Upgrades module.
We are thrilled to see FreePBX become more powerful than ever before! To learn more about FreePBX features follow our blog series: Sangoma’s FreePBX Modules!
Publish Date: March 29, 2017 5:00 AM
Grandstream and BroadSoft customers are in luck! Grandstream Networks and BroadSoft, a global market share leader for cloud business communications, announced today that they have completed BroadSoft’s BroadWorks® call control platform interoperability testing for Grandstream’s new products including GXP1700 series Mid-Range IP phones and HT800 series Analog Telephone Adapters (ATAs).
Service providers and customers using BroadSoft’s business platform can now deploy Grandstream’s GXP1700 IP phones. The HT800 series ATAs can also be deployed to integrate analog phones with IP network.
This successful interoperability testing unlocks all Grandstream’s current IP phones and ATAs to be interoperable with the BroadSoft Business Software-as-a-service (SaSS). The validated IP phones include the GXP1600 series, GXP1700 series, GXP2100 series, GXV series, DECT Cordless IP Phones and more! We are excited to see how our customers will benefit from this great integration in the near future!
For additional information please call one of our experienced VoIP consultants at 800-305-1427.
Publish Date: March 28, 2017 5:00 AM
Make no mistake, almost everything is becoming a cloud based service. Still running Exchange? You’re living in the past, my friend. Phone systems are, of course, no different. While I’ll maintain there are huge advantages to running an on-prem system (mostly cost and low latency), there are a lot of conveniences of having your system in the cloud. Now, when I say cloud, I am referring to platforms like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services for this specific post.
Let’s talk a little about the conveniences of a cloud hosted phone system. First, it makes deploying remote phones a much easier process, mostly because every phone is now remote. It also allows anyone traveling abroad to bring their phone with them, and with Internet access, they can make calls from Singapore as if they were calling from Buffalo, New York (for example) with no international toll charges. Of course, you can always call extension to extension for zero cost. That’s a pretty amazing concept.
You might be thinking, this can all be done with an on-prem system as well, and you’d be right, but why poke holes in your corporate firewall, and subject yourself to the fun of NAT traversal if you don’t need to? You can also accomplish redundancy with an on-premise system, but you will lack the flexibility of providing multi-region connectivity and redundancy (because it’s in the same building), which is what the above-mentioned cloud services can provide.
Why is multi-region connectivity important? Well, if you’ve been reading the news lately, you’ve probably heard that Amazon dropped an entire region for a couple of hours causing mass panic, and the zombie apocalypse (not really). This is the risk you take in exchange for convenience when you place an application or service in the cloud, but when you distribute that application or service across multiple regions, you mitigate that risk significantly. Some businesses went down entirely because they stuck all of their eggs into one basket (region).
It should be known that regions in these cloud services are treated as completely siloed entities. Instances in one region, cannot simply ping an instance in another region via local IP address, even if they are on the same Amazon, or Azure account. For that, you need some sort of connector, like a VPN. Be aware, however, this is accomplished differently based on what service you are using.
Amazon Web Services, for example, does not have any built-in tools at this time to connect regions together. If you’re planning on deploying FreePBX in both Oregon, and Virginia for redundancy, you’ll need to create a VPN between the two systems with your own virtual appliance so that they can exchange configurations. This should not be confused with Sangoma’s High Availability module for FreePBX, as that requires two systems to be on the same subnet with very low latency between them.
Microsoft Azure, DOES provide the ability to create a region-to-region VPN without using a 3rd party VPN concentrator, and with my experience, the more natively supported tools and services you use, the better things work overall. Truthfully, a VPN may not always be necessary, but that will be dependent on the specific phone system, and how it prefers to communicate with its slave or warm spare. It generally isn’t a bad thing to have regardless.
Before I get more into the strategy of multi-region redundancy, I’d be remiss not to mention a second option, which is connecting either Microsoft Azure, or Amazon Web Services to your local corporate network. Both services, have native tools to create a VPN to your network, provided you have a compatible firewall on your side of the equation. In this scenario, you would have a system on your local network, with a warm spare in the cloud, which can talk local IP to local IP. This option isn’t as flexible as moving all phone system communications to the cloud, but would still provide redundancy in the event your on-prem system goes down, but you still have a live Internet connection to your building. If your entire network takes a nose dive, you are SOL.
Strategy: I originally had the idea (when writing this post) of testing Wazo’s built in high availability module, but I found that just installing the platform on Amazon was so incredibly difficult and an inconsistent process that I just gave up. Back when it was called Xivo, I tested high availability and it worked great. It didn’t work as well as Sangoma’s High Availability module, but it did a decent enough job. The way that it works (or worked), is by moving the configuration from the master system to the slave via a secure tunnel, then it would synchronize and shut down Asterisk on the slave. Its job would then be to continuously ping the master, and in the event, the master was unresponsive, start Asterisk, and bring up the SIP trunks. The only thing you’d have to worry about is registering all of your phones to the slave PBX. That can be automated by using IP phones with a secondary SIP server.
>So, because Wazo was such a PITA, I decided to go with something more mature in the open source space for this post, FreePBX. FreePBX can be configured as a warm spare similarly to Wazo, but it isn’t as automated of a process. Take a look here, to see what’s involved in the basic setup. You will STILL employ IP phones with a secondary SIP server (>Sangoma’s phones do this BTW). Like WAZO, a transfer of the configuration is sent to the warm spare in the opposite region via a secure tunnel, but the difference is in the synchronization. Wazo will instantly synchronize, but FreePBX will require a restore to be performed, which can be automated. You will also need to exclude changing the network settings on the warm spare. We aren’t exactly replacing the production system, we are just providing an alternate for phones to register to. The only intervention that should be required in the event of a failover is activating the SIP trunks (because you would have chosen to turn them off in the warm spare’s restore).
To summarize: When your production phone system has an issue and goes down, your IP phones will attempt to register to the secondary SIP server (via public IP address), which resides in another region (using either Azure, or Amazon). To complete the failover, you will need to log into the warm spare, which has now become the production system, and enable the SIP trunks. Within a reasonably quick period of time, calls in and out will occur as if nothing happened.
While this all works, the primary challenge is the timing of the synchronization between systems since it is not instantaneous. Logically, you’ll want to back and restore to the warm space nightly, but if a lot of changes are expected on a system daily, you may want to schedule that more frequently.
If you plan on deploying your phone system to the cloud, and redundancy is going to be an important priority, well then, I hope I gave you something to think about. Stay tuned for my upcoming post on creating a quick and easy VPN between Amazon Web Services regions.
Publish Date: March 28, 2017 5:00 AM
VoIP News! The Latest on Several New Releases from Grandstream, Gearing Up for Channel Partner 2017 and more!
Things have been pretty busy over at Grandstream HQ as they have recently released a few new products! Grandstream has expanded their large VoIP catalog once again with the release of the GDS3710 IP Video Door System. This is an easy to manage surveillance solution that integrates with your IP communications and features a powerful 1080p video resolution!
Grandstream also released the GWN 7000 Enterprise Multi-WAN VPN Router is a features-rich powerful tool for any business and can be shared across one or many different physical locations!
Another new product released by Grandstream is the GWN7600 WiFi Access Point. This is a mid-level access point for small sized businesses or multiple floor offices and providers dual-band network throughput and expanded WiFi coverage range.
All of these products are available to order now!
As April is rapidly approaching, VoIP Supply is getting ready to exhibit at Channel Partners 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas! This will take place April 10th to the 13th and we will be focusing heavily on our Partner and Fulfillment Programs. If you are attending the show, please stop by booth 250 and say hello! We will be there to answer any questions you might have and we will also be giving away several Plantronics Headsets, so make sure you don’t miss out!And lastly, in VoIP News, VoIP Supply has hit a very special milestone as we are celebrating 15 years of business! It is an honor to work for VoIP Supply, and we have enjoyed solving problems and creating solutions for over 125,000 customers worldwide over the years. We are proud of everything the company has accomplished since 2002 and we look forward to the next 15 years!
Publish Date: March 24, 2017 5:00 AM