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Monday, March 8, 2010

VOIP or IP Telephony Implementations: Tips for Success

Few IT professionals have practical experience in implementing IP Telephony solutions because there is both a voice and data component. It is not as simple as loading software on a server, assigning IP addresses and dropping telephones on employee desks. The voice professionals understand PBX and voice technologies and the IT professionals understand LANs and WANs. Implementing an IP Telephony solution requires expertise in both the voice and data world. A complete understanding of the two will ensure success.

As the business community migrates its voice and data systems to IP telephony, it is important to understand what elements need to be considered. An IP telephony implementation is very different than installing a traditional TDM PBX. Consideration must be given to the following when developing the initial project plan:

·Assessment and planning of current voice and data infrastructure

·Network readiness (QOS, capacity, network management, security, IP addressing, etc.).

·Voice and Data Infrastructure preparation (cabling, power, etc.).

·Equipment or data room preparation (back up power, cooling, etc.).

·Integration of applications such as Voice mail, ACD or branch office solutions.

·Validation of System design.

·New goals and expectations from affected departments.

·Organization readiness (aptitude and training of voice, data and user groups).

·Risk Assessment.

·Sign Off of the Project Plan by all team members

Now that the project plan outline is developed, take the following items into account to ensure project success:

·Ensure the Project timeline is realistic.

·It is imperative that the voice people talk to and understand the data people.

·Order any Telco services well in advance of assumed time frames.

·IP Telephony will require more planning than you expect.

·Have regular POTS circuits in place for back up.

·Ensure the IP Telephony PBX or Server supports POTS analog circuits or telephones.

·Treat station reviews as an important task.

·All PC's connected to IP Telephone sets must have all the latest patches loaded.

·IP Telephone sets require power to operate. What's your power continuance plan?

·Simplify your LAN architecture.

·Communication is key to users and department leaders.

·Minimize the number of vendors in your architecture.

·Identify any potential hidden and often overlooked costs of implementation.

·Don't underestimate the importance of network management.

·Prepare and draw out all call flows including the call center and voice mail back door.

·Analyze voice traffic and understand trunking traffic studies.

·Don't upgrade your data network at the same time of IP PBX cut-over.

·Make sure all software is compatible.

·It is useful to develop a multi-phase plan.

·Watch out for alarm circuits, HVAC and fire safety equipment circuits.

·Elevator telephones, Overhead Paging?

·Test, test, test.

·Any 911 issues?

·Address any additional network security concerns.

·Ensure all users are properly trained.

·Develop a post cutover action plan.

·Do not try to save money on the installation.

This is by no means a comprehensive plan as every project is unique, but I hope that you may have found some items to consider that maybe would have been overlooked.

John Leonardelli

Eight important factors to consider when getting VOIP for Your Home

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is becoming the alternative to the high cost of local telephone service. The primary advantage is the savings on local and long-distance calls. There are also savings for all the extra features that are included in the basic VoIP service. Traditional telephone companies charge extra for things like call display, voice mail and call forwarding. Many VOIP providers offer these features at little or no cost.

With this new technology there are eight important factors to consider before you take the plunge and get a VOIP service.

1) You need a High Speed Internet Connection

In order to use VoIP, you need to have a high-speed Internet connection, such as DSL or cable. If you do not have this then your costs to have VOIP will be higher.

2) Power Outages

VoIP is dependant on commercial AC power from your local utility. Your standard telephone runs on phantom power that is provided over the line from the telephone central office. Even if your AC power goes out, your standard telephone still works. The VOIP gateway, ATA equipment and high-speed Internet modem requires AC power. During a power failure if you do not have a UPS or back up power system, you will not be able to make or receive telephone calls. This could be a problem if you need to call 911. These is why some people use Voice over IP for long distance calling only and keep their existing telephone number with their standard telephone service.

3) Emergency 911

The 911 systems do not know what you physical address is because of the SIP addressing scheme. With SIP there is no way to associate a geographic location with an IP address, so calling 911 in an emergency can be a serious problem. You could be in Vancouver using a Toronto number and the 911 dispatchers would not know that. Most VOIP service providers have a work around that has you call into their 911 center where they can find out where you are and then dispatch the local emergency services to you. This could cause a delay in getting emergency services to you quickly. The standard telephone service uses a North American Number Plan and the local service provider knows your address based on the number called that's in their database. Keep this in mind when deciding to cancel your standard telephone service. Ask your provider how they are handling 911 emergency calls; your life may depend on it.

4) You may still need your standard telephone line

Satellite TV subscription services and home security systems all use a standard phone line to communicate. There is currently no way to integrate these products with VoIP. Consider your requirements if you are planning to discontinue your local standard telephone service.

5) Local Telephone White Page Listings

VoIP providers may or may not offer directory assistance or local white page listings.

6) Reliability

Because VoIP uses a high-speed Internet connection, it is susceptible to all the problems normally associated with home broadband services. All of these factors will affect call quality: Latency, Jitter, noise, and Packet loss. Telephone conversations can become distorted, garbled or lost because of these transmission errors. It is important to have a High Quality connection from a reputable internet service provider.

7) Security

Like many Internet based programs, VoIP is susceptible to worms, viruses and hacking. Make sure you use anti-virus and firewall security software.

8) Extensions

The standard telephone service is analog. It uses 2 wires to transmit and receive the telephone call. You local telephone company may have already outfitted your residence with extension jacks throughout the house. With VOIP, the main connection point becomes where your High Speed Internet modem is located. You may not have cabling connections at that location to the rest of the house. The solution is to have an electrician assist you in cabling the extensions or using a cordless telephone.

The Benefits of Wireless Internet Access in a Handheld Device

Handheld devices with wireless Internet access have become very popular for business travelers. Cell phones, and WiFi enabled personal digital assistants (PDAs) make it easy to surf the Web and check email while you're away from your office. The rapid growth of WiFi hotspots and wireless internet access at hotels, airports and coffee shops is making it easier to be connected to the Internet.

Internet enabled handheld devices have seven advantages over Laptop PCs:

Lighter than a laptop - Your laptop is portable, but it can't go everywhere with you. The typical laptop weighs almost 10 pounds with their protective carrying case. Handheld devices fit in your pocket and are convenient because they can provide quick and discreet Internet access.

Email everywhere and anywhere - With wireless web access you can stay connected to your office whether you're stuck at the airport or away on a week long business trip. Some portable devices even have always-on Internet access, which saves you the time and trouble of establishing a connection. Being able to unobtrusively check your email will also let you take urgent messages without disrupting meetings with phone calls.

No more Cords - A wireless Internet connection means no phone lines, extra cords or external modems to lug around. Except for a charger cord, the handheld device is very simple to pack. Laptop computers become a headache when you start to add cables, power supply unit and a mouse.

Longer battery life - A typical laptop computer battery lasts only two to three hours. Some PDAs can run for several days on a single charge.

Day Timer calendar function - Most handheld devices have Pocket Outlook or Calendar functions. Thus it is very easy to synchronize your laptop Outlook to your handheld device. Having immediate access to this sort of information can be useful in planning your day and appointments on the road. Wireless access to the web allows you to make flight changes and get schedule information easily.

Less does more - Some handheld devices, such as cellular phones with built-in PDAs, perform a variety of functions. One device that makes phone calls, keeps your appointments, lets you write documents, and play games and even provides Internet access will save you money and a trip to the chiropractor.

Productivity during standby time - Most devices have Windows Mobile software. Pocket versions of Microsoft Office allow you to create, edit and read word documents. Why not update your sales forecast in excel while waiting for your flight to arrive. You can even present power point documents to a LCD projector. The wide variety of software will allow you to make the best use of your time.

Six VoIP Security Recommendations

Before you begin to implement VoIP across your organization, there are several things you should consider. Security is extremely important these days and it is best to think before than act after an attack. Some vendors are building security solutions within their products others are not, leaving it up to the user to implement these measures.

1. Make sure your network and security infrastructure, including firewalls routers, VPNs, etc., are voice-optimized and capable of supporting the advanced security requirements for VoIP. More importantly, bandwidth, latency and quality of service become critical requirements for network and security infrastructure.

2. Your IP PBX is at the core of your VoIP infrastructure. Depending on the software you are using, especially windows servers, ensure that the base operating system of your IP PBX, as well as network infrastructure, are always updated and patched for the latest security vulnerabilities. Vendors that provide proprietary operating systems are a lot less vulnerable.

3. It is important to be proactive in conducting regular security assessments of your VoIP infrastructure. Being aware of such security flaws will help to avoid attacks and prevent system outages.

4. Manage your remote access ports and system backdoors. Default login and administrator passwords on such devices are a very common entry for attacks. Disable any insecure remote access features, such as FTP and Telnet, and disable local administration and management features.

5. Structure your network to use VLANs to separate voice and data devices and its corresponding traffic. Deploying VoIP devices on separate VLANs permits isolating data traffic from voice and signaling traffic, as well as utilizing Quality of Service (QoS) capabilities. VLAN separation does not ensure a robust security practice but having separate VLANs will help in isolating the traffic.

6. If your VoIP traffic goes over the Internet, use encryption technologies like IPsec tunnels to secure the VoIP traffic. While many of the VoIP protocols include capabilities for encryption and authentication, most of them are optional. Ensure your vendor has a security policy within the product itself.

5 Steps to Starting Your Own Telephone Company

Fed up with your local Telecom provider? Tired of poor customer service? In 5 easy steps you can start your own Telephone Company. In the new world of Open Source software, low cost hardware technology and the Internet, it is very easy for anyone to start their own Long Distance telephone company. Yes! You can start your own Long Distance Telephone Company for under $5,000. With the big boys charging 5 to 10 cents a minute North America wide, you can make money when your actual costs are less than 2 cents a minute. Let's take a look where we can spend our start up funding.

Your office costs will be pretty minimal as all you need are some business cards, a decent website, a maildrop and tab with your local coffee shop. This will set you back for less than a few hundred bucks.

Your biggest and monthly recurring cost (don't forget marketing costs) will be your Telecommunication Infrastructure costs. The two elements of these costs are co-location and local access or T1/PRI circuits. You need to locate your Telephone Carrier PBX in a Telco hotel or managed host environment. They provide the power, environmentals and the access to the various carrier circuits all in one place. Your carrier equipment sits right beside the racks used by the "Big Boys" in the industry.

You can probably negotiate all of this with a couple of PRI circuits for under $2000 per month. The MCI sales representative will be very happy to buy you lunch after you tell him that you also require LD termination. Now, take your credit card and stop buy Radio Shack for some hardware and software.

You now need to assemble your Telephone Carrier PBX. Thanks to the team of open source developers it is possible to get yourself a low cost solution. No need to call Nortel for a Central Office switch. First, you need to get a decent Intel P4 server and some LINUX software. This can be had for under $2000. Don't forget a back up drive.

Second, you need some software and the one you want is from Asterisk. Asterisk is the developer of software for an open source TDM/VOIP PBX. This is a free download but add $200 to get yourself some books and manuals as you will need them.

Third, you need to install network interface cards. You can get these from Digium or other manufacturers. They sell cards for the Asterisk TDM/VOIP PBX. You will need some cards for say 2 PRI cards. These will cost you about $800 each. If your marketing guys are optimistic, get a quad card.

Fourth, get a telecom technician that knows voice, data and Linux and start assembling the platform and making your interconnections.

Fifth, start your advertising campaign to your target market and start answering sales calls.

Congratulations! You are now the president and CEO of your own Telephone Company.

Three Steps to IP Contact Centre Implementation

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), or more specifically IP-based telephony, is quickly becoming the technology of choice in contact centers as companies replace their aging time-division multiplexing (TDM)-based systems with IP-based systems. Your organization may be wondering how to go about implementing its own IP-based contact center, whether as a new implementation or as a replacement for a TDM system.

Dividing the process into three major steps: business planning, implementation planning, and implementation/support are a good approach to success.

Business Planning

A comprehensive business plan is the single most important step in a contact center implementation. It is critical that the project clearly link the technology initiative with the needs of the business. The plan must specify what they wish to accomplish and how the contact center will help them achieve their goals.

Naturally, the contents of the business plan vary from organization to organization. Some considerations for your company include:

*The industry you're in, which helps determine the contact center features you'll need *If your contact center will be volume-oriented or value-oriented *Is your contact center primarily for internal or external customers? *Will you expect to use your contact center only for customer support or also to help generate additional sales and revenue? *If you'll provide service through diverse media (voice, e-mail, Web).

With a business plan in hand, you can link your goals to the features of your system.

Implementation Planning

Once the business plan is complete, we can now focus on its implementation plan. This step details the best way to build out the contact center so that objectives are met in terms of functionality, cost, and features. Do consider the following:

*What's the best design for the network? *How will it interface with other network components, such as voice mail or an existing customer relationship management (CRM) system? *Will the system be centralized in one location or decentralized across many sites? *Will customer service include a Web-based component, or only voice? *How will the system be managed? *How will you account for additional users, locations, or features in the future?

As in the previous stage, you must consider your organization's reporting requirements. An IP-based contact center can generate a wealth of data--far more than a TDM system--that can be of tremendous value, allowing your company to measure your customers' concerns, preferences and plans. These requirements, though, must be taken into consideration when designing and configuring the system. The types of data you wish to capture and how you want it represented must be thoroughly considered before implementation.

Implementation and Support

Now that we have completed our planning we are ready to implement the solution. Ensure your implementation partner/vendor is certified in the appropriate technologies, has a list of references and can demonstrate a critical path process. Engage your partner early in the process so they can assist in building your plan. They would bring a wealth of experience that can help you build your business case if need be and outline any contingency planning. It is also assumed that your partner will provide support for the system after implementation. This is a key factor to ensure any software updates are maintained and that any tweaking be done.

Nonetheless, it's important to remember that, like most IT projects, the greatest benefits accrue to those who thoughtfully prepare. Organizations benefit most when they engage in detailed business planning, thorough implementation planning, and knowledgeable implementation and support.

John Leonardelli

The 9 Retail Technologies That Will Propel Your Small Business Forward

Here are 9 retail technologies that I believe will give retailers the biggest benefit and maximum return on their technology investments. Your small retail operation can be just like the Big Box stores when it comes to being efficient and productive. Every retail operation must have technology in place to manage it s pricing, sales and inventory.

1) Point of Sale (POS) and Inventory Control Software A POS / Retail Management System are mandatory. A good POS system will track all your sales. It replaces your cash register and allows a multitude of features that will save you time and help you manage your inventory. Immediate benefits include:  Simplify and improve inventory management.  Improve the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.  Show where you're making and losing money so you can make adjustments and increase profits.

2) Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software Building a successful retail business is to build relationships with your customers. CRM software is a critical tool for the retail business. A CRM system will help you improve your customer loyalty it will help you market to potential prospects and generate new business. CRM software allows you to track your customers, identify market segments and then easily communicate with them via email, telephone, and direct mail. It can also track your customer buying patterns and manage information.

CRM software can also be integrated within a contact centre system or your POS system.

3) Bar Code Scanning and UPC Codes Bar Code and UPC Code scanning allows you to check products at the point of sale much faster and more accurately than can be done on the keyboard. It can also maintain your inventory system to be up to date.

The technology is very robust and can easily be implemented using hand held scanner devices.

4) Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) EDI technology allows you to send purchase orders, created in your POS software (based on order levels and sales history) to your suppliers electronically via the internet. This can ensure your inventory is never oversold and there is ample stock for your customers to purchase. No stock on fast moving items means lost sales.

5) Retail Accounting Software Accounting software can be purchased stand alone or can be integrated with your POS software. This allows a small business owner to manage their accounting in a very timely manner. This is not to replace your Accountant but to provide reports in between your meetings with your accountant. The most important modules are the Accounts Receivable, Inventory and Cash Flow Analysis.

6) Store Traffic Counters These valuable devices will help you improve sales ratios, tally store traffic, and manage your advertising campaigns. You need an accurate measure of your store traffic so you can better schedule your sales staff because they identify actual foot traffic in your store during certain time periods. You can also determine if traffic goes up or down during marketing promotions so you can figure out what works the best.

7) Web Presence Websites can be powerful tools to promote your retail business. For example, you could link to your website from business cards and newspaper ads. This gives you an opportunity to tell your story, show what you sell, and convince them to stop by your store. Many Bricks and Mortars operation use web presence to either advertise their business or generate traffic to their physical store.

You can also utilize a website shopping cart so customers can place orders and pay you right from the website.

8) Portable Data Terminals and Hand Held Computers Portable data terminals are great tools that allow you to quickly count your inventory and easily update your POS system. You can simply carry around this portable terminal, scan your merchandise, and then enter your quantities. This allows you to more easily and accurately count your inventory. They are also invaluable as price checkers.

Hand held computers have become very popular and cost effective. They allow you to create orders and complete various tasks on a computer that fits in the palm of your hand. They can perform various tasks especially if linked to your POS system using WiFi or be used as a way to manage customer contacts and selling information.

9) Digital Video Recorders Digital Video recorders have become the tool for loss prevention. Video cameras capture activity in real time and can record to a digital device for storage and later recall. They can integrate with POS systems and can include powerful tracking software. Simple installations can be a few cameras with a monitor and DVR to large installations that include traffic counters and 2 way audio.

The Top 9 Retail Technologies You Need Today

Technology gives your retail operation strategic advantage. You need to know manage your operation in real time, ensuring accurate pricing, inventory levels are maintained and the ability to communicate with customers in real time. Not having a strategic retail technology game plan will quickly have you placing "Going out of Business" signs in your store window.

Universal Product Code (UPC), Inventory is the lifeblood of retail and if you don't have it fast, in the quality and quantity you need - customers will shop elsewhere. UPC code scanners are needed at the POS or cash register to quickly price an item as well as tally its sale back to the inventory system.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is becoming absolutely critical today. You need to know who your customers are and proactively market to them. CRM allows you to track customers, know what they bought and use the information to market to specific segments. It creates the stickiness you need for repeat business. Digital Signage - Having LCD screens at the POS means customer scan get advertising messages while waiting in line.

Interactive Kiosks are another example of video-integration in the store, and provide customers with additional product knowledge. Price Look Ups are other benefits of using multi-media.

Data Mining Software - This windows-based software gives retail executives a graphical view of the data they need to make sound business decisions. Easily manipulated, the information can be quickly sliced and diced to identify problems and opportunities in your business. This is the 8:00 dashboard report that is viewed with intense interest. Wireless Infrastructure -If sales associates have wireless telephone handsets, one can easily serve those customers waiting in line while communicating orders to the other sales associates in the stock room. Inbound customer calls can be transferred to the sales floor and dealt with in a friendlier manner. This increases store revenues.

A wireless cash register is perfect for side walk sales. It can be easily picked up and moved anywhere it's needed.

Taking inventory with a hand-held unit that can be downloaded to your head office system is much faster and easier than gathering it with a clipboard and pen.

Price checkers can also be used to assist in getting fast and accurate pricing. Self serve price check kiosks are a timesaver.

2 Way radio headsets have also become popular to prevent shoplifting, increase employee safety and monitor store traffic.

Pen Computing POS Pads - Signature capture at the POS is the best way to get your customers' signature for credit card receipts. And, if a customer returns to dispute their purchase, your sales associate can bring up the store copy electronically.

Smart Cards - These are credit cards with microprocessors that store the customer's money. No need to call in phone authorizations, the purchase is taken right from the card. They speed up the sales process and can be easily linked to CRM software to analyze purchases or simplify rewards programs.

The E-commerce Website- if you haven't implemented an e-commerce strategy, you better do it fast. The internet has become a powerful tool that consumers use to make purchases or do product research. At least get a web site up that provides information on product lines, policy statements and stores locations. It will help drive traffic to your bricks and mortar operation. It is also a useful tool for customer service because it can link with an email system. The ability to track and maintain customer lists also allows you to generate electronic advertising that links back to your web site. Distant or worldwide customers may want to buy your products and an online method is preferred.

IP Telephony Systems - Today's retailers will benefit from the numerous advantages these systems offer. They can easily integrate with your wireless network to provide wireless telephone handsets. They have built in ACD and Auto Attendant features that allow calls to handled in the most efficient manner. Linking the telephone system with other stores allows an integrated network. Sales associates can contact another store easily and inquire if an item is in stock. Customers expect real time answers to questions and the IP telephony system allows this. The ability for staff to have voice mail boxes means managers can inform staff of important information. Corporate Telecom managers can easily maintain and make changes to the system remotely saving time and money. If you cannot communicate to your customers when they call you by telephone then customers will not visit your store.

Seven Tips for a Successful IP Telephony Implementation

Often when an organization considers a new IP telephony system --the process tends to focus on hardware and software. However, a company's infrastructure is composed not just of hardware and software, but also of people. The successful conversion to IP telephony does not rely solely on technology. It requires a combination of people, processes, and services-- all working together.

Planning, communication, teamwork, and understanding your users' requirements are as important as technical expertise. With this key objective in mind, I have compiled the following top seven tips for an IP telephony implementation. These best practices from my own experience as well as customer engagements will help you succeed at your organization.

Whether an IP telephony implementation involves 20 phones or 2000 phones, careful and comprehensive planning, communication, teamwork, will guarantee success.

Build a Cross-Functional HIT Team - the greatest factor in implementing a successful IP Telephony implementation is building a cross-functional High Impact Team that not only has the technical expertise but represents users in every area in the organization impacted by the implementation.

Key members of the team include an executive sponsor; a project team lead; technology and security experts, finance, the switchboard operator and project management. This well-represented team should start off the implementation by clearly defining the objectives and overall goals of the project, and identifying the tasks necessary to achieve those goals.

Get Your Users On Board - resistance to change is normal and should always be anticipated. Managing user expectations will be important from the start. One key way to achieve this is to take away the mystery and uncertainty among the individuals affected through education, open and frequent communication.

Team Participation - it is essential that you have the participation and cooperation of all team members from the start. The team should work together to plan project deliverables, address solution capabilities, define hardware, software, and security requirements, assign third-party implementation services, identify the project critical path and milestones, and outline the implementation strategy.

User Requirements Drives Design Requirements - you need to understand and be able to track user-preferred services, products, solutions, and features. Use a survey tool to identify needed phone features, validate key business needs and identify key functionalities that are critical to your business. You can also use the survey as an opportunity to incorporate features of the new IP telephony system and to help determine the priority of which features should be enabled first.

The 80/20 Implementation Rule - A winning formula for implementation success consists of 80 percent preparation and 20 percent installation. When it comes to actual implementation, the success of your IP telephony implementation will depend on several considerations that can be identified in 10 steps. If you focus on your plan first, the implementation will go a lot smoother.

Step 1. Facilitate Implementation Planning

Step 2. Hold Implementation Planning Meeting

Step 3. Define Project Monitoring and Control

Step 4. Develop Status Reporting Structure

Step 5. Begin Site Preparation

Step 6. Conduct Install and Configure

Step 7. Manage Test and Acceptance

Step 8. Deliver Knowledge Handoff

Step 9. Ensure Customer Acceptance

Step 10. Project Completion

Post Cutover Support - a successful handoff requires a well thought out support plan. Ensure installation staff is available to make necessary changes quickly and efficiently. Some users will forget how to use features and calling the help desk will ensure that business processes aren't slowed down because a user cannot check voice mails. Follow up with training at a later date and do not forget the satisfaction survey.

Look to Leverage your New IP Telephony Investment - the real power of IP Telephony is in the ability to integrate new powerful applications easily. As new applications become available, your chosen system must be able to allow the addition of these features so that your organization can reap the benefits that will come from rolling out another new IP communications application. At this point you may need to regroup the HIT team and do it all again.

About the Author
John Leonardelli, President, Gale Force Communications. John brings 20 years of voice, data and wireless telecommunications experience in various sales, management and operational roles. John is a Certified IP Telephony Expert where his expertise has been focused on IP Telephony, Contact Centre and complex technical solutions. John has a degree in Electronics Engineering, Telecommunications and Sales Management.

Nortel Networks CS1000e Reliability Executive Overview

by John Leonardelli
submitted 2007-01-28)

Nortel CS1000E Reliability Executive Overview


IP Telephony has become an attractive offering available from various telecommunication manufacturers. As a modern technology that utilizes the inexpensive transport mechanism existent today called Voice running Over an IP infrastructure (VoIP), IP Telephony can now be a viable solution and cost savings mechanism in the Enterprise arena.

Nortel Networks Communication Server 1000E

The CS 1000E system is a modular solution manufactured by Nortel Networks. One of the significant features of this platform is VxWorks as the native operating system that runs on the hardware. From a system security vulnerability stand point, the CS 1000E is safer and less prone to external attacks inherent to other IP Telephony systems running a Windows based operating system. Numerous operating system exploits and open ports have been found on these Windows based systems.

Call Server

There are two Call Servers in a CS1000E system. One operates in active mode and the second in standby mode. The active Call Server is the heart of the call processing function that controls all IP Phone features and trunk interfaces operating in normal mode. It also performs the function of database server for synchronization of configuration information with the standby Call Server and with all Media Gateways.

The active Call Server performs call control, signaling and routing for all TDM and IP calls placed across the network. The Call Server is a rack mountable unit with a small footprint housing a hot swappable fan unit, and field replaceable power supply.

Signaling Server

The Signaling Server is an off-the-shelf Intel based single board computer that provides call control services such as registration of IP Phones and gateways, translation of call initiation and tear down sequences from IP to Call Server language, IP address translation services, and bandwidth control. The Signaling Server also runs VxWorks real-time operating system.

Software modules reside on this device: a Line Terminal Proxy Server (LTPS), a Signaling Gateway, and an H.323 Gatekeeper. The TPS module essentially is the IP Phone interface, providing registration, TFTP service, and bandwidth control and feature delivery to the IP Phones.

Nortel Signaling Servers can be deployed in a redundant, load-sharing configuration for increased scalability and reliability of the LTPS. Moreover, should both Signaling Servers become unavailable, phones will register with Succession Media Cards located in Succession Media Gateways. This provides tertiary redundancy for the Line Terminal Proxy Server.

Both signaling servers also include the Signaling Gateway software module which translates Nortel Networks IP Telephony protocols into H.323 to communicate with local H.323-compliant devices.

The H.323 Gatekeeper software module resolves addresses unknown to the local CS1000E Call Server. Typically, a primary gatekeeper is deployed on one Signaling Server while another is deployed in "hot standby" mode anywhere in the network. Additionally, other H.323 Gatekeepers are deployed in "failsafe" mode in the event a primary and secondary gatekeeper become unavailable, this provides three levels of redundancy for gatekeepers.

Nortel Media Gateways

Media gateways are the primary means to interface with all TDM lines and trunks. All Media Gateways contain an embedded form of the Call Server software and can be configured to be a Survivable Media Gateway.

Nortel Internet Phones

All Nortel Networks Internet Phones use by default the standard G.711 audio codec algorithm to convert analog voice signals into digital packets, though they could be configured to use any of a list of three other Codec types as well: G729a, G.729ab and G.723.1.

Configuration and Management

Nortel Networks CS 1000E system is delivered on individual units that are each rack mountable and configurable via direct connection into their console ports or via an IP-based terminal server expressly deployed for that purpose. Nortel Networks CS 1000E systems support a very effective and granular CLI on all of its system components. With CLI commands a systems administrator can entirely configure, deploy, modify, monitor and manage the system either directly connected into the system console port or via Telnet from a remote location.

For in depth system configuration and management including trunks, features, routes and gateways, Nortel CS1000E comes with a Management platform called Element Manager. Element Manager is a WEB based application that runs on any browser. Element Manager 4.0 is an integrated systems management platform to control all CS 1000E system components. It allows the system administrator to perform all the necessary system feature implementations, IP Phone settings, line and trunk configuration parameters, dial plan implementation and system monitoring and verification.

Nortel Networks CS1000E enterprise solution also includes various trunk configuration, alerting and monitoring control functions that enhance the overall system functionality. Features such as trunk barring, trunk traffic reporting, trunk failure monitor, trunk verification, and others allow the implementation of a robust, resilient and proactively monitored system.


In conclusion, The CS 1000E system is a secure, robust, extremely redundant and scalable IP-based platform when compared to Windows server based platforms from other manufacturers.

Enterprise organization in search of a reliable, resilient and scalable IP Telephony system to accommodate their needs, and make optimal use of their existent IP network and wiring infrastructure, should not wait any longer. Both of the systems analyzed in this paper offer much more than the bare standard features existent in PSTN environments, although Nortel Networks CS 1000E offers a collection of additional features that give it an overall edge.

The CS 1000E system offered by Nortel Networks is by far the most redundant, resilient and scalable with its component based architecture and its native operating systems that are much less vulnerable than other manufacturer solutions built on top of the Microsoft Windows software architecture. Windows based platforms have the largest list of vulnerability exploits and open services that are prone to external attacks. Numerous software patches and external means of network protection are needed to mitigate such systems vulnerability.

In terms of call volume that each of these systems can handle, Nortel Networks CS 1000E supports a greater load than other manufacturer platforms. The CS 1000E supports 300,000 Busy Hour Call Completions (BHCC) for digital TDM calls and 240,000 BHCC for IP Telephony calls.

CS 1000E operates reliably and call server switchover is seamless.

The CS 1000E use of the VxWorks operating system provides less vulnerable operation in terms of IP functionality and external source's attacks than other manufacturers application based on the Windows operating systems.

The Nortel CS 1000E multi unit solution allows system resilience and minimizes downtime due to built-in components redundancy.

CS 1000E and Internet Phone Functionality:

* Better IP Server security and less OS vulnerability * More features overall, allowing greater customization by the end user * More robust Call Server can handle more calls per hour (300K/240K) * System ready to interface with external PBX or other IP systems * Fully standards based system and components * Up to third level of signaling server redundancy * One built in auto-sensing 10/100baseT Ethernet switched port IEEE 802.3af compliant * Second auto-sensing 10/100baseT Ethernet switched port for a workstation connection * IEEE 802.3Q VLAN tagging and IEEE 802.3p priority settings standards compliant * Multi language support with built-in user selectable options * Keep alive signaling control with Call Server to facilitate accounting and billing functions * Dial tone and signaling controlled at the Call Server and Signaling server * Fast registration and recovery after power up or disconnect (The IP Terminal times taken to regain dial tone varied as follows: i2001, 23 seconds; i2002, 23 seconds and the i2204, 25 seconds on average)

About the Author
John Leonardelli, President, Gale Force Communications. John brings 20 years of voice, data and wireless telecommunications experience in various sales, management and operational roles. John is a Certified IP Telephony Expert where his expertise has been focused on IP Telephony, Contact Centre and complex technical solutions. John has a degree in Electronics Engineering, Telecommunications and Sales Management.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hello World

I have been in the Telecommunications industry since the days of rotary telephones, tip and ring, and when the Telephone repairman climbed a pole to fix the telephone cabling. Things have a come a long way since then and we would not have known what are kids today take for granted.

Technology is all good and it has made the world a better and safer place for it.

So enjoy my various writings and I will also throw in a few other things to keep it varied and mixed, not just about IP Telephony or VOIP.