Thursday, 9 December 2010

X10 experience - living with Android 2.1

In my last post I complained about the touch screen responsiveness as I have in other posts, Having lived with it for a few more days and Downloaded the fabulous Angry Birds games (Season special and Original!).

I have to say the touch screen when playing games is usable - but for writing texts is still pretty poor! I tried for comparison a friends iPhone and another friends HTC Android phone both have better touch screen performance.

Now I am lusting after the new Samsung Galaxy Tablet, Android 2.2 and a 7" screen. 3G data and WiFi N.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Sony Ericsson X10 gripes!

Finally got Android 2.1 update1 on my Sony Ericsson X10 - I was expecting great things - but have been hugely disapointed. Startup time is worse than 1.6, I got those anoying Vodafone shop icons on the home screen.

Touch screen responsiveness also still really bad - possibly even worse than before. Looks like I'm gonna be looking at an HTC device next time.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

BT Infinity - More isn't necessarily more....

Another one of those moments - It just struck me when flicking through my inbox, BT is is rolling out Fibre to the Kerb across the UK, with slated speeds of 40Mbps down and upto 10Mbps up.

I had a good google around and couldn't find a clear indication of the contention ratio (down or up), or if there is QoS provision for example to offer Voice (over IP) services - interestingly the BT product includes a home hub, with internet voice, so I expect their to be QoS there.

VDSL based, so BT provide a VDSL modem with their service, and over WBC so other ISPs can wholesale provide the service.

Lets see how it works out. ... Alas I'm not on an enabled exchange - so I'm not going to find out for a while yet.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

CIsco Dial-Peers and VAD - watchout for this one!

I've been using Cisco Gateways (2800s) for an Oracle Contact Centre PSTN connection. The agents started complaining of poor voice quality and clipping and missing words.

Silence suppression, I thought. But looking over the configuration (snippet below):

voice-port 0/0/0:15
 no vad
dial-peer voice 100 voip
 destination-pattern .T
 voice-class codec 1
 session protocol sipv2
 session target ipv4:
 session transport udp
 dtmf-relay rtp-nte
 no vad

All looked well with the world - VAD was turned off. ........... Well actually NO. I found out last night about the dreaded hidden default dial-peer which is used to match when other dial-peers don't - and guess what - this hidden, default dial-peer has vad enabled by default. The default dial-peer was being selected when Agent call legs and a outbound calls were being made from the IP side to the PSTN trunk.

 incoming called-number .

Added to the voip dial-peer above fixes this problem by catching all the VoIP to PSTN dialled numbers in the "." - Job done. Watch out for this little gem...

I also discovered that the CIsco 2811 operating as a PSTN gateway with VAD enabled stops sending RTP packets when I muted my handset, i.e. no RTP packets during silence. Now cool this saves bandwidth - but SUCKS!!! What's a dynamic (de-)jitter buffer going to make of that? Not to mention a NAT firewall?

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The greening of telephony

I was having a slow weekend and had one of those contemplative moments.

Since the introduction of VoIP handset and the imminent rollout of Video Handsets, we must now be consuming more power to deliver telephone calls to every desk?

Is the amount of power consumed by a traditional TDM switch and analogue handsets less than the VoIP Equivalent? Thinking about the average power rating of a server used to provide an IP-PBX, plus the power consumed by media gateways then add the power to power the phones an the power required for the PoE switch (not including the phones), even with Moore's law driving down the power required for sufficient CPU to drive the IP-PBX this surely is more than the old TDM equivalent??
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Sunday, 18 July 2010

This time with a FreedomPro Bluetooth Keyboard

Having struggled to use the touch screen keyboard to write the last post to the blog,I‘ve invested in a Bluetooth folding keyboard. Reading the various reviews the freedom pro seemed the most reliable for working with multiple OS, including Android. I looked at the appstore for Bluetooth drivers too, but discovered that the support website for the freedom pro keyboard has beta drivers for Android, and here we go, a post from my Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 sitting at the coffee table in the longe.

What a lot easier to work on than the touch screen. And even better I managed to pair the keyboard with my “old“ Nokia 5800, I always hated the touch experience on that device too.

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Saturday, 10 July 2010

Android Sony Ericsson X10

This post comes from my new X10 handset. I toyed with the idea of the iPhone4 but came down on thrle linux OS phone.

I was seriously disappointed by the Nokia 5800. it crashed regularly and touch screen was not very responsive.

Maybe its my fat fingers but screen based keyboards are a real pain... time to find a bluetooth keyboard

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Saturday, 19 June 2010

IPCortex Multi-tenant IP-PBX

I recently spent some time with the guys @ IPCortex in their offices in Bletchley's famous war time Bletchley park.

I've been searching for sometime for an Asterisk project that copes with Multi-tenancy in a clean and elegant way. The historic approach I had taken relies on hand crafted DialPlans and custom contexts for each tenant. Whilst this all works fine - the manual overhead was proving to be a pain.

There are two applications of this type of multi-tenancy IP-PBX:
  1. Shared Office spaces, where a company sub-lets its office space and provides telecom services to their tenants and of course separate billing.
  2. Hosted IP-PBX solutions where each tenant not only has overlapping extension number ranges, but also would like to manage their own service and clean way. This so far I have managed through the standard Asterisk front-ends such as FreePBX and VMWare for each tenant - which kind of works but is quite wastefull on resources (mainly separate IP addresses for each VM mainly).

The IPCortex solution to multi-tenancy and the general concept of the GUI are more intuative that the traditional approach of mapping phones to extensions. Per extension billing per tenant is also made simple with the ability to set rate cards for destinations.

IPCortex introduce the concept of a user, the user is the link between extensions and phones. This simple abstraction is what makes the IPCortex IP-PBX unique from a GUI and usability perspective.

The next magic is the addition of a per user web-based presence application - think Flash Operator Panel (FOP) on steroids and per user.

Finally auto provisioning of extensions across a wide range of IP-Phone manufactures: Cisco/Linksys, Snom, Polycom, Aastra and Yealink.

I'll be posting more about how the IP-PBX can be used in ways a traditional PIAF/Trixbox/AsteriskNOW/FreePBX solution can't.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Latest Official Warp firmware

Hurray the latest warp firmware also now includes FreePBX 2.7 and the GSM card drivers.

tar zxvf the file, copy the contents over to you clean 2G SD card (formatted to FAT32), place the SD card in your powered down warp, power up, make and drink a coffee.

Now you have a nice new clean warp with the latest and greatest.

Pop in you GSM SIM (no need to power cycle). On the Asterisk command line type gsm show status and you should see your mobile operator connection listed.

Good to Go!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

PIKA Warp GSM Beta - finally built and integrated!

OK so Easter arrived and I managed to get both a Holiday and catch up on the installation of the GSM card in the Warp.

Since its a beta I kinda expected a little more work than usual, so I started with a clean build of my warp using the SD build (url here) to make sure all the basics worked.

Following the instructions from the Beta user guide you have to load the new firmware directly into the flash, for this the best approach is to make sure you have the serial cable that came with the warp. "Ah - now where did I put that ribbon cable - I know I put it in a safe place?"

OK - found it... Here's the picture of the Warp with the Serial Ribbon cable and the GSM card installed.
I use Putty as my favourite tool for ssh and serial connections - you can just about make out the putty terminal open on my Tosh Netbook screen. The observant reader might also spot the FXS card I have installed too.

The instructions suggest using the warploader to write the u-boot and fpga files to the flash memory. I went with the upload everything from ftp server route. So I put all the files from the pikatech site (freepbx version) to the root of the ftp server directory on my laptop. My favourite tftp/bootp/dhcp/sntp/ server is the tftpd32 ( program, I've found this to be the most reliable program to use across a large range of devices (Snom, Cisco/Linksys, Netgear, Aastra, Polycom, AudioCodes ....).

After uploading the firmware, boot files and persistent memory I reboot the Warp. Alas it failed to boot - phew - good job I found that ribbon cable - Checksum error on the boot loader. Over to the Warp wiki to find out why/what to do now.. 

Turn's out I missed a step:
setenv load_nand_kernel nand read.jffs2 0x02000000 0x00000000 0x00200000

This was in the user guide - but the user guide doesn't explain why you have to do it. That done, and I was off - around 20 - 30 mins later, I had a working system - well at least it was booting and I could add a GSM trunk.

OK so why after I installed the Pre-payed Vodafone SIM - couldn't I get it to recognise the Vodafone network? I restarted Asterisk (amportal restart) naada! OK so here goes a power cycle.......

That did the trick:
Port    Status          InUse   Provider        Home Zone       Signal Quality

1 (0)   REGISTERED      n       "vodafone"      y               -81dbm

Now to make a call... Hurray! I'm done. Hmm The latency on that call seemed loooooong.... 

OK using SJ-Phone under Windows 7 - with the embedded mike on my laptop - really bad one way latency on the voice. Time to fire up a hardware phone - Aastra 55i is nearby. Set that up as an extension - made the same call to my mobile - Ah much better.

Friday, 5 March 2010

More things to do than I have the time

The PIKA GSM card for my Warp arrived and this weekend I will get the chance to install and starting checking it out - got the PrePaid SIM to pop in there....

My CCA system is now patched to FP3, not yet managed to install the Sangoma/Paraxip dialer - if only I had more time...

I have at least started to reverse engineer the CCA web services interface using Wireshark and some hacked together PHP code. I can create a session, log an agent in and receive events from the the Web Server now. I just need to put a wrapper around the PHP to create some decent objects - then write some Javascript/AJAX calls to make a toolbar for incorporating in other web pages, thus eliminating the download of the CCA Java Desktop Interaction Manager. Then I can concentrate on some of the supervisor statistics and throw in some MemCache there to inprove the performance.....

Never a dull moment at the Aeonvista ranch.

I have just managed through the "day job" to get access to Cisco's new small business range of Access devices the SRP500 range looks pretty good the SRP527W - hot of the production line has WiFi (n), FXO/FXS and 4 port Ethernet Switch, ADSL 2+ Annex A, USB for 3G dongle and TR-069 capability - looks like a winner.

I've also just purchased a nice shiny new Fritz!Box WLAN 7270, and it has all of the above like the Cisco with added IP-PBX features.

Now just to get my OpenACS to talk to them both.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Hold the "mobile" phone - GSM HD Voice

In a previous post I was speculating/questioning who would be the first to launch HD Voice for mobile - Looks like (in the UK at least) that Orange have risen up....