Test Your VoIP Connection with OnSIP

OnSIP, the virtual PBX service that we use, has a web page that allows you to test your VoIP connection.

It simulates a voice conservation to OnSIP’s remotes, measuring packet loss and jitter or variation in transit times.

My performance over my information cable provided by Comcast here in NJ was pretty good: no packet loss and .9 ms in jitter. Continue reading

A Peek at Cloud Telephony: SIPfoundry’s sipXecs

My curiosity got the better of me.  While I’m completely content to use turn-key cloud telephony–OnSIP, in my case—the lure of DIY telecom is sometimes too enticing to resist.

This led me to SIPfoundry’s sipXecs, an open-source PBX that many are using instead of an on-premises metal-based solution.

SIPfoundry has grand goals for open VoIP solutions. They are an independent non-profit that hopes to promote “free and unencumbered” telephony. Which is another way of saying their sipXecs PBX software is 100% standards based. So if enough companies, small and large, install sipXecs on their servers, we can all communicate via SIP over the Internet and not pay a dime in per minute charges.

I thought I’d experiment with sipXecs to see what all the shouting was about.Continue reading

Google's SIP Tease

As has been reported everywhere, last week Gizmo5 users learned that Google will soon be hanging up on this open-source softphone.  Acquired by Google in 2009, the SIP-based Gizmo5 service will do its last “INVITE” in early April.

Now some fleeting good news: Over at OnSIP, the cloud-based PBX company, there’s an interesting post about a SIP door that  opened over the weekend and then just as mysteriously closed.

For a shining moment, Google Voice numbers had associated with it a SIP address of the form: +1GVnumber@sip.voice.google.com.

In other words, it was possible for a few days to make free calls on any device that supported a SIP stack!

Continue reading

OnSIP Evaluates Gingerbread’s SIPness

OnSIP, the cloud-based PBX startup, has reviewed the native SIP capabilities of Gingerbread (Android 2.3).

Within the fine print of Google’s Gingerbread announcement last month was a reference to Internet calling using an onboard SIP stack. So the crew at onSIP got their mitts on a Nexus S and tried it against their own servers.

You can read the evaluation in their blog post. They note that you can’t enter a SIP address directly on the virtual numeric keypad: you first have to add it to the Nexus’s contacts app.  And the Nexus apparently blocks SIP calls that terminate on the PSTN.

It all points to Google’s ambivalent relationship with the carriers. Continue reading

SIP on Android

One of my very modest goals in finding an inexpensive, usable Android tablet is replacing my cell phone with an open source SIP client. I spend enough of my time near WiFi hotspots that an Android gadget could do double-duty as a browser-email-ebook as well as a phone. And the chance to free myself from Verizon’s tentacles with WiFi telephony has been tempting me for a long time.

With the Yixin 7200 MID I finally had the right platform. Could I locate a functioning SIP client in the Android Market, Google’s answer to the App Store?

So I walked the virtual aisles of the Market and pulled a few SIP clients off the shelves for testing.

I did discover a working client and learned that the quality of Android freeware is, charitably, very uneven.Continue reading

OnSIP: Real PBX Flavor in the Cloud

Junction Networks is a hosted PBX app provider that lets startups and small businesses pull a VoIP phone systems out of thin air or, more accurately, out of the cloud.  The company was founded in 2004, and open standards were practically written into their constitution.  In other words, they support SIP.

Their OnSIP hosted PBX service has a maturity level that will appeal to businesses—tech and otherwise—that want a phone system and not a collection of APIs with some sample apps.

I spent a  morning setting up and testing auto-attendants, hunts groups, conference bridges, and voice mailboxes on my OnSIP demo system.  It worked without a hitch.   And it was rewarding, in a telecom kind of way, to  finally use my collection of free SIP softphones (X-Lite and SIP Communicator) as true office phones and bask in the glow of emulated message waiting indicator lights.Continue reading

Multimedia Fun with SIP

In my evolving unified communications projects, I’ve been searching for a way to switch media between voice and text. My current two Tropo apps (the headline reader and the Gov 2.0 bill browser) are voice-centric, but at times I would like to eliminate the text-to-speech part and just send the text.

This should be possible with SIP, which underlies the unified communications platforms I’ve been accessing with my X-Lite softphone.

So called “multi-modal” communications, in which device capabilities (plain cell phone, smartphone with keyboard, smartphone with video,etc.) and presence ( in meeting, on the road, in the quiet car) are acknowledged in routing and rendering decisions, is one of the important advances of this session technology.Continue reading

And one more thing … SIP

I have been writing lately about my experiences setting up several unified communications applications, most recently one involving an open government project with hosted service provider Tropo. The projects were cell-phone centric, and assumed I would be issuing commands into my aged Samsung model while I was managing other activities—driving, drinking coffee while driving, etc.

I do engage with larger devices, and with my new MacBook Pro I am now evolving a nomadic lifestyle. In between appointments, I’ll pitch camp at Starbucks or another WiFi friendly oasis and fit in a few licks of work before I pack up.Continue reading