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VON news: Asterisk clustering, V2oIP, HD VoIP

Asterisk clustering, a new voice and video alliance and high-definition VoIP were among the announcements on the show floor this week at VON Fall in Boston.

Asterisk clustered by Ranch Networks
Ranch Networks (RN) this week released its VoIP Matrix Technology, which uses a patent-pending clustering technique to increase scalability, reliability and security across Asterisk server farms.

VoIP Matrix allows companies and service providers to combine one or more Asterisk servers with an RN appliance, forming a virtual IP PBX that supports numerous simultaneous calls. Like a Web server farm, VoIP Matrix Technology can support thousands of simultaneous calls using an Asterisk server farm, and bridged with the RN appliance, it would ensure zero dropped calls and prioritize calls over data traffic.

The RN appliance bridges the RTP media between SIP endpoints, which allows media to flow without interruption, even if an Asterisk server is unplugged. All new calls are then distributed among the remaining PBXs in the cluster. The technique allows users to add more PBXs as their VoIP needs grow.

Users can access the virtual IP PBX using a single IP address and MAC. Each Asterisk server used to form the virtual IP PBX within the cluster is monitored using SIP health messages. If a PBX stops responding, it will be added back to the cluster. VoIP Matrix Technology also lets users add a new IP PBX in real time, as well as remove an existing IP PBX for maintenance without interruption.

Voice, video alliance formed
Several vendors have teamed up to establish the Voice and Video over IP (V2oIP ) Quality Alliance, a group intended to help shape and support the direction of voice and video-over-IP quality issues.

The new alliance combines the expertise of key technology providers, service providers and industry experts to define best practices and educate the market about relevant technologies, standards and deployment methods.

The V2oIP comprises vendors, service providers and industry experts who want to boost adoption of voice and video over IP and ensure its quality.

VoIP goes HD
Forget about high-definition television, VoIP has now gone hi-def.

Polycom Inc. this week unveiled Polycom HD Voice, giving the office telephone a lifelike, high-fidelity voice quality. In a parallel move, the vendor also released the SoundPoint IP 650, the world's first VoIP desktop phone to feature Polycom HD.

According to Polycom, the HD telephone will boost clarity, quality and richness beyond existing and traditional VoIP phones.

The SoundPoint IP 650 will feature many services and applications, as well as a micro-browser to access XHTML-based applications.

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The phone's Polycom SIP 2.0 software supports Microsoft Live Communications Server 2005 for telephony and presence, and integrates with Microsoft Office Communicator Instant Messenger Client . The phone also features a USB port for future apps.

In standalone mode, the SoundPoint IP 650 accommodates six lines, and with an expansion module it can handle 12 lines or 24 concurrent calls. The phone delivers its capabilities through a user interface featuring an LCD display, navigation menu and a combination of 26 dedicated hard keys and four context-sensitive soft keys for one-button access. The SoundPoint IP 650 also includes a two-port Ethernet switch and built-in auto-sensing Power over Ethernet, and it can be centrally provisioned and upgraded from an FTP, TFTP, HTTP or HTTPS server.

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