Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Yet Another Wireless Telephone Virus

Yet another wireless telephone virus is on the loose. You may remember Cabir sightings in various countries. Well...now the Commwarrior virus is spreading to wireless phones worldwide via MMS and Bluetooth. Not only will it infect your phone, but will ring-up your phone bill by sending numerous MMS messages in the middle of the night. Commwarrior could potentially be much bigger trouble than Cabir - via MMS it can jump from one country to another easily.

Commwarrior monitors the phone's clock and spreads over Bluetooth during daytime (from 08:00 to midnight) and spreads via MMS during the night (from midnight to 07:00). The worm sleeps at random times between sending the messages, further slowing down the spreading.

And of course, sending MMS messages is expensive. Let’s do a little math here. How many phone numbers do you have in your phone? How much does sending one MMS cost you? Assuming, say, 500 numbers and 0.50€ per message, that would cost you 250€. Of course, that money wouldn't go back to the virus writer, but in any case we're talking about a nasty side effect here.

When Commwarrior arrives via MMS, the user sees a message that contains social engineering text and an attachment. Unlike in Bluetooth replication, where the system installer starts automatically after receiving message (of course with normal installation dialog), user has to save the SIS file attachment from MMS before the installer starts.

Thus getting infected with Commwarrior over MMS takes even more steps than Cabir over Bluetooth, which is probably one of the reasons why we haven't seen distribution in larger scale. But as we know, people are curious, and there are always some people who will install Commwarrior. Especially since via MMS they seem to receive the file from someone they know.

Commwarrior infected phones can be easily disinfected with by surfing to mobile.f-secure.com and downloading F-Secure Mobile Anti-Virus - or manually with a third party file manager. And telecom operators can scan the MMS traffic for viruses using a suitable tool, for example F-Secure Mobile Filter.

One worrying aspect is that people do not seem to know that they should contact Anti-Virus companies when phones get infected. In many cases where people get their phones infected, they ask help from other users in the mobile newsgroups and discussion forums.

This is bad since, they might get bad advice, such as instructions to format their phones, while using Anti-Virus or disinfection tool would be enough. Also it is problematic for the Anti-Virus companies, since without user reports it is hard for them to keep track of the developments in the mobile field. And it is impossible for them to provide guaranteed detection for new malware, without getting a sample of it first.

So do pass word around, that if someone’s phone gets infected, he/she should contact an Anti-Virus company for help. Advice costs nothing and it helps them to keep up to date with what’s going on.

Monday, May 30, 2005

A Message For All My Shipmates On Memorial Day

This is for all my shipmates...past, present, & future. And all Marines present and former I've been honered to serve with. Since I'm retiring in about 4 weeks...after nearly 23 years in Uncle Sam's Nuclear Canoe Club...this is pretty personal to me. Been there...done that...and like most of us don't really talk about it.

God Bless,
Michael
CDR,MSC,USN

WHAT IS A VETERAN?

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them, a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet just by looking. What is a vet?

A vet is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.

A vet is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th Parallel.

A vet is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

A vet is the POW who went away one person and came back another - or didn't come back at all.

A vet is the drill instructor who has never seen combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account punks and gang members into marines, airmen, sailors, soldiers and coast guardsmen, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

A vet is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

A vet is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

A vet is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.

A vet is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

A vet is an ordinary and yet extraordinary human being, a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

A vet is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more that the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say, "Thank You." That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU".

(Attributed to a Marine Corp chaplain, Father Denis Edward O'Brian)

If you know a veteran, call him or her today and thank them for their dedication and service to the country.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Who Is The Best VoIP Provider??

Thinking of getting yourself a VoIP phone? Fed up with your current provider and thinking of a switch? Have a gripe or an attaboy on the provider you use now? Have a burning question you just can't seem to get answered?

Well...you can satisfy all those needs easily at BroadBandReports.com. Pay a visit to the VoIP Review section and you'll find a pretty indepth resource showing a review and comparison of multiple providers based on first hand accounts of real users.

Now if it's bitch or praise you want to do....just jump into their VoIP Forum. You can also catch up on the latest VoIP news, ask "how to" questions, or just lurk and soak up the ambiance.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

What's Better....DSL, Cable, Or Satellite Internet Access?

Well...that depends. Of course for residential service it appears you may have lots of choices. But then again the old adage of the Real Estate industry that goes "location, location, location" really rings true here. You may think you have lots of choices when in fact you've got diddly. City folks fair pretty well .... but if you're in a rural location do your homework. Finding something available to you at a reasonable cost can be tough. You may get stuck with a very expensive satellite provider as your only choice. Unless you do some homework first.

I suggest you look over all the resources available at DSLReports.com to help with your search. They have a pretty good comparison of providers, reviews by users, and even list some smaller regional vendors to expand your choices and maybe save your pocketbook.

Another useful tool is the search portal from ShopForDSL.com. These guys will give you a real time rate quote comparison online after you punch in a few tidbits of info to identify the location to search on. They don't have every provider in their system...mostly the bigger vendors....but the search and compare capability is pretty convenient.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

How To Easily Get A T1 Or DS3 Rate Quote In Seconds

If you're in need of bandwidth and want a simple way to compare multiple providers in your area....ShopForT1 has just the solution for you. Through their patented search service they call GeoQuote you can get rate quotes online in seconds for T1 and DS3 lines covering voice, data, or integrated networks. They even can do OC3 through OC192, Point-To-Point, VPN, business VoIP solutions, and more. Those they'll have to do a little leg work for you though....so be sure to put in enough info in the comments sections for them to understand your requirements.

Why is this such a good deal? Simple...it's fast, easy, and best of all free.

See for yourself at ShopForT1.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

All You'll Ever Want To Know About WiMax

Ok....mea culpa. I'll be the first to admit that there's so much I really don't know about WiMax protocol. But I do know where to look first. ;)

Intel has a very nice collection of white papers, articles, and training resources on WiMax for anyone that needs them (such as dummies like me). Skip over to Intel and see for yourself. As good a place as any to start your education.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Get VoIP Smart...Look Over This Cool VoIP Tutorial

Found a nice little VoIP eLearning Tutorial by Techtionary.....nice being an understatement. Even Russell Shaw of ZNet loves it. Now that's one heck of an endorsement Bubba.

The flash enabled illustrated guides show how VoIP works, how to configure VoIP, product configurations, features, and include a really cool flash-enabled guide to the feature sets of more than a dozen popular VoIP phones. Definitely worth checking out.

Friday, May 20, 2005

FCC Requires E911 for VOIP

The FCC just posted the order, not unexpected really, requiring interconnected VOIP carriers to provide full E911 service as a mandatory feature to all customers. All VOIP providers have 120 days from the date of the order (19 May 2005) to complete this requirement and notify their current and new customers of the changes.

The order also states that all ILEC's are required to fully open all of the E911 systems and components of those systems to any and all VOIP providers requesting access.....and that the FCC will closely monitor to ensure full access is given.

Boy...talk about getting serious. But then I guess they needed to be. Stories like those from Texas....with the Mother who lost her child after being unable to make a 911 call with Vonage....pushed the FCC to decide nothing less.

Now for the fall out though. Not every current VoIP provider will be able to make that 120 deadline. A lot of them will bite the dust.....so much for competition. The ILECs will still likley drag feet or at least require a Kings Ransom to enable access. Wonder what that will do to the low call rates with VoIP. Plus perhaps this will be the begining of tax creap into VoIP phone costs to consumers....for example an E911 fee. There are pros and cons so wait and see is probably the best approach right now. Fortunately my favorite...Packet8....has had E911 for sometime so shouldn't be affected much.

If you'd like more specifics I suggest you visit the FCC site and read the whole shebang.

Intel CEO: WiMAX More Attractive Than DSL, Cable

Whoa....them's fightin' words! Intel CEO Craig Barrett, in an interview with the Reuters news service, called DSL and cable access "half-assed in terms of speed."

Well...he's right. Cable and DSL rarely deliver speeds faster than 5Mbps. While WiMAX will deliver twice that speed, which should make it attractive for many home users especially in rural areas. But geez....he sure threw down the gauntlet didn't he?! Note to Craig....careful how you're quoted in public. Right or wrong.

If you'd like more WiMax news....even the uncensored kind....trek over to WiMax.com.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Best WiFi News Ever...PERIOD

Strong statement I know. But hey....I know a good thing when I see one...a REALLY good thing. If you have an itch for the latest and best news about WiFi you simply have to read the WiFi Net News by Glenn Fleishman. Glenn has a way with getting his readers the latest scoop on EVERYTHING WiFi. You've especially got to follow his "Who's Hot Today" feature...his update about new free and fee hotspots, zones, and towns. You should also opt-in to Glenn's newsletter. Great with a cappociuno and you're favorite hotspot. ;)

So what are you waiting for....go pay a visit!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

VoIP - Plan A vs Plan B

I just read an excellent article at CallTermination.com on the state and future of VoIP in the US from both a consumer and business perspective. Very insightful stuff. Rather than just link to it (which I also did) I'm sharing the whole thing here because I think it's that good. Although it was written for the 2003-2004 timeframe the premise still holds true today....

VoIP - Plan A vs Plan B

2003 was a remarkable year in the US for voice over the internet (VoIP). If you needed a label for the events of the year, "Collapse of Denial" would be a good one -- after a long period of relative inaction, the FCC and the state regulators are suddenly pushing hard for a regulatory framework. The question is no longer whether voice is going to become an internet application, but when.

"When" could still be a very long time, however. The incumbent local phone companies -- Verizon, SBC, BellSouth and Qwest -- have various degrees of interest in VoIP, but are loathe to embrace it quickly or completely, because doing so means admitting to everyone -- shareholders, regulators, customers -- that both monopoly control and artificially high voice revenues are going away. (The fact that this is true does not much lessen the pain of saying so.) As a result, they will likely try to convince regulatory agencies, both the FCC and the states', to burden competitive VoIP firms like Vonage with additional costs and rules, while delaying their own offerings.

Complicating this de facto Plan A, however, is the fact that VoIP isn't a service, it's just a set of protocols, meaning that competitors don't have to set themselves up as upstart phone companies to deploy VoIP. If Plan A is "Replace the phone system slowly and from within," Plan B is far more radical: "Replace the phone system. Period."

Where Vonage and a number of the other VoIP startups present themselves to the customer as phone companies, emulating the incumbents they are challenging, you can think of Plan B as the Skype plan. Skype isn't taking on the trappings of a phone company; instead, it offers free two-way voice conversations over the internet (they aren't phone calls, for the obvious reason) between users who have downloaded and installed software onto their computer. (Other versions of Plan B include instant messaging clients that let users talk, not just type, and software like shtoom, a set of VoIP tools for the Python programming language.)

The Plan B strategy is simple: "Familiarity is the enemy of progress. Forget backwards compatibility, and concentrate on offering services the traditional phone companies can't touch." For example, Skype recently added user-defined conference calling, a kind of cross between call waiting and conference calling, so that when someone calls while you're on the phone, you can simply turn it into a three-way call, a pattern more like joining a conversation at a party than today's cumbersome conference calling.

Where Plan A is a fight between incumbent and upstart phone companies, Plan B says that we no more need a phone company than we need a text company. Email and weblogs and IM all use text -- why not use voice in a similar variety of applications, and with a similar lack of commercial bottleneck?

Plan A and Plan B are caricatures, of course. Vonage is experimenting with un-phone-like features like mailing out voicemail messages as audio file attachments, while Skype is talking about ways of interfacing with the traditional phone network. Nevertheless, the tension between the two plans is real: modification or replacement of the current phone system. The litmus test is emphasis -- Plan A emphasizes for-fee calls to ordinary telephones, with free computer-to-computer calls presented as a bonus, while Plan B emphasizes free calls as the main event. And much of how VoIP unfolds will have to do with regulations written in 2004.

The End of the Three-Part Deal

The official tradeoff in current telecom regulation is service guarantees in return for monopoly control. Over the decades, though, a third part of the bargain has arisen. Phone companies tolerated high taxation as well, in part because it guaranteed continued freedom from competition. As a result, telephony is treated as a vice instead of an essential service -- the taxes and surcharges on a phone bill are more in line with the markup on alcohol and tobacco than with gas or air travel.

However, monopoly control, essential for the current bargain, is ending. The cumulative threats of competitive local phone companies, the decrease of second lines due to DSL and cellphone use, and now VoIP have made the old deal unsustainable. The rise of a competitive market seems conceptually simple, but most parts of the US have had a phone monopoly for longer than they've had indoor plumbing, so the possibility of phone service without the incumbent phone company is hard for many observers to understand.

Even now, 20 years after the breakup of Ma Bell, some commentators have criticized VoIP by noting that the phone company often provides the high-speed DSL service that carries the VoIP traffic. "Isn't VoIP simply a parasite technology?" goes this line of thought, on the assumption that by undermining inflated voice revenues, VoIP will destroy the DSL business as well.

This question makes no sense in a market economy. With railroad bankruptcies in the 1940s, no one thought that the tracks would be ripped up and sold for scrap. Similarly, the question of whether the incumbent phone companies can survive if VoIP pops the bubble of voice revenues is separate from the question of whether the wires in the ground will continue to exist. Someone will sell data transmission over copper wires, but there's no reason it has to be the existing phone companies, in the same way that someone still runs trains from St. Louis to Chicago, but it isn't the B&O Railroad anymore.

Plan B: Saving Plan A?

With their monopoly ending, incumbents have no choice but to embrace VoIP someday, because of the cost savings and the superior flexibility. However, they may succeed in significantly delaying that someday with the strategy of attacking their competitors through the regulatory system, while slowing their own deployment of the technology.

Plan B, however, is resistant to this strategy, because while it creates the same value as a phone call, it does so without any of the mechanics that regulation attaches to. No dialing, no phone numbers, no phones even, and, most ominously for the incumbents, no charge to the end user. Vonage may be competition, but they don't undermine the idea of charging the user the way Skype or Yahoo Instant Messenger do.

If you had to bet on the impulses of the phone companies and state regulators, your bookie wouldn't raise an eyebrow if you put everything on their trying to kill every Plan A company in sight. We've seen this story before, as when the music industry, unable to grasp the profundity of a technological change, killed Napster rather than trying to bargain. This in turn sent the users to Kazaa and Gnutella. The RIAA has now spent far more time, energy and money going after these services than they ever did on Napster, with distinctly less decisive results.

Similarly, the phone companies are overestimating the threat of Vonage (which also wants to charge users to talk to one another) and underestimating the threat of Skype (which doesn't.) And yet if they succeed in killing off their Plan A competitors, they will strengthen the far more radical challenge from Plan B.

This is the big wild card of 2004. It's clear what the consumers want -- the maximum amount of experimentation with all sorts of models, and not being forced to choose between new features and backwards compatibility. However, telephony regulation is notoriously resistant to user demands -- neither the FCC nor state regulators are elected, and neither group is very responsive to citizen action.

The only thing that might save Plan A from death by delay is evidence that users are adopting Plan B in large numbers, using the internet for voice applications completely outside the framework of telephony as we've known it for more than a century. We should all hope that happens, because if wide adoption of Plan B convinces the regulators and incumbents to acclerate their VoIP offerings, the users benefit. And if it doesn't, Plan B will be all we get, so we may as well start experimenting with it now.

First published February 26, 2004 by Clay Shirky

Monday, May 16, 2005

PACKET8 E911 REAL EMERGENCY PHONE SERVICE NOW AVAILABLE IN OVER 2,000 U.S. RATE CENTERS

Nice little press release about my favorite bunch of VoIP guys. With all the bad publicity about Vonnage and others related to problems with E911....you'd think good news like this would get more play. I think it should. Afterall, Packet8 has been leadng this from the start and has never had any of the problems the other VoIP providers have had with "delivering" E911 to their users. For more at Telephony World...read on McDuff.

Vonnage Tests WiFi VoIP

Hmmmm....nice idea. Could see it coming although I wish it was anybody but Vonnage in the headline. Anyway....you know a bunch of folks are after this hot and heavy wanting to be the first to field the capability. Or at least among the first so they can grab that competitive edge. What am I talking about? Well....wireless VoIP phones of course. No more tether to an ATA or or PC modem. Read up on this more in the article at C/Net News. While you're there check out all the other articles, white papers, and resources on that page related to the subject. Like I said....it's a coming.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Top 10 Reasons To Shop With DS3-Bandwidth.com

Yes...this is a shameless plug for my friend Patrick Oborn. No apologies here (hey...it's MY blog remember). I'm so impressed with what Patrick has created and strongly suggest you see what all the hub bub is all about. For a taste just read this from Patrick....

Top 10 Reasons to Shop With Us

by Patrick Oborn, CTO - DS3-Bandwidth.com/ShopforDS3.com


May 15, 2005 - Shopping for DS3 lines is not easy. You perform a search in your favorite search engine and you see millions of pages, all of which claim to save you money. In reality what your are seeing are a bunch of internet marketing entrepreneurs who know little about dedicated service at all. They create simple HTML forms that look like they have been programmed by a seventh grade student which captures your information, and either sends it to every vendor in the universe or some in-house former used-car salesman who will sell you whatever will pay him the biggest bonus. The internet is littered with this garbage, confusing customers and leaving a sour taste in their collective mouth. What started out as a search for competitively priced dedicated services has turned into a circus!

In 2002 my partner, Adam Edwards, and I decided to take the road less traveled. We realized early on that in order to create an online experience that was worthy of your time, we needed to provide information you can use - not your typical "enter your information here and we'll get back to you" elementary page. In order to do this, we invested a full year researching all of the different DS3 providers in order to understand their pricing models, many of which were created long before we were born. Based on information we extracted from this research, we invested heavily in complex programming that would allow us to calculate loop prices, or the cost that the local phone companies pass on to the dedicated service providers for access to their network. This cost varies by mile, by market, and by geographic region of the country. Once we rolled up our sleeves and performed extensive testing, we called our product 'GeoQuote' and released it to the public on this very web site in 2003. We are currently in the process of patenting this unique technology.

In this year alone, 204,442 unbiased real-time quotes have been created by online shoppers just like you. Instead of waiting for days to even see pricing, we give it to you in just seconds. Throw in the courtesy phone call that you will receive from one of our certified broadband consultants who can answer your questions, help you design your network, give you the strengths and weaknesses of each of our providers - and you have a winning combination.

Don't be fooled by the imitators! Since we launched our site two years ago, many have attempted to copy our concept, our business model, and even our domain name! It's amazing how in-style real-time shopping has become, especially considering that the reaction we received by our vendors when we divulged our plans to create GeoQuote. Some of the reactions we received include "that can't be done - it's never been done before" and "that is an interesting business model". Now these same vendors have become believers, and our very best partners.

Change has been embraced. Thousands of lines have been sold. The way people shop for broadband services will never be the same.

As we go forward, our goal is to continually improve our product, our site, our knowledge of the industry and products, and most of all, to build a bond with you - our customer - that will last for years to come. Earning your trust is what we do here. Saving you money is how we keep it.

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Road Map To A Broadband Nation

Tired of asking "Are we there yet?" Wondering what the future may hold for your community...and what there may be for you to take advantage of for yourself? Trek on over to Business 2.0 and read up on what Om Malik has to say on this. You'll find an overview of the places that are moving fastest along this highway to the future. Included are advanced technologies like high-speed cable, wireless data networks, 3G cellular, and supercharged copper wires....projections on the number of households who'll have some sort of broadband access....a map of the cities and towns that sit on telecom's frontier....industry statistics....listing of where WiFi hotspots are available....and a glossary of broadband terms. All useful stuff to see where your future is headed.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

No More Analog Telephone Adapters For VoIP

Analog Telephone Adapters are devices that connect regular telephones to a broadband network for VoIP services. ATAs do this by converting analog voice signals to IP packets and vice versa, as well as by delivering the dial tone and facilitating call setup. Pretty useful right now but something of an annoyance...and soon to be obsolete extra step. For now ATAs are just a temporary hardware workaround.

According to Cisco Systems chief technology officer Charles Giancarlo ATA's won't be around much longer. In an interview at vnunet.com Giancarlo says that ATAs will "soon" begin to be replaced by a new generation of "hard IP phones" that will be plugged directly into an Ethernet cable, as well as WiFi VoIP phones for small business, and then for the consumer market.

Eexpect Cisco’s first enterprise-themed WiFi VoIP handsets in the next few months, and consumer models to show up within the next year. Sounds good to me!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

T1 Internet Service Do's And Dont's

T1 internet service is as ubiquitous as DVD players but the choices are much more varied. Ready to learn the basics and find a connection?

In general, T-1 is a member of the T-carrier system. T-carrier is a communications system used for carrying voice and data transmissions in a digital format. T-1 meets the needs of businesses having multiple users on a system requiring fast speed and broad bandwidth. For a fixed monthly rate, businesses with 20 or more users can communicate via both voice and data. A Full T1 can accommodate as many as 24 users working at 64 Kbps.

T-1 is made up of 24 digital channels. This requires a digital connection device (CSU/DSU {customer switching unit/digital switching unit}) to connect to four wires to carry the information. All T1 lines require that a Channel Service Unit (CSU) be connected between your Data Terminal Equipment (DTE), i.e., a personal computer, and the T-1 line. A CSU serves both as a surge protector (to protect your equipment from voltage anomalies such as lightning) and a monitor of the line itself.

As mentioned previously a T1 connection is capable of delivering 1.5Mbps. DSL connections are also capable of delivering this speed however they are not nearly as reliable as a T1 connections and should not be considered as a business connections unless it's SDSL and even then you will likely have some downtime. If you have critical information being hosted in your office or have a large number of users accessing the internet on a regular basis, consider getting a T1 connections. Also remember to get a professional's assistance when you search for your provider. Each company will tell you their connection is the best available but a broker will act as your agent and help you find what's right for you.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

So You Wanna Try VoIP??

One of the best, all-inclusive explanations of VoIP technology I have ever seen can be found at Broadband-Reports.com. Really worth reading for everyone new or old to the VOIP arena. It's an easy read and covers everything you should understand to use and fully appreciate VoIP.

VOIP Wiki - A Reference Guide To All Things VOIP

It's amazing what you can find just doing a little surfing of the 'Net. Found a VoIP Wiki at VoIP-Info.org chock full of goodies and well worth bookmarking for repeat visits. This Wiki covers everything related to VOIP, software, hardware, service providers, reviews, configurations, standards, tips, tricks; and everything else related to voice over IP networks, IP telephony and Internet Telephony.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Malik: Most VoIP Companies Doing “Bupkis” In Sales

Oh Lord....this is like being at a Wimbledon final between McEnroe and Connor. Two heavy weights on opposite sides of an issue duking it out.

First...Om Malik of the BroadBand Blogcomments on a recent report by Infonetics Research with some VoIP market projections. Om has some issues with the numbers....especially the here and now stats. Doesn't like 'em.

Per Om....when you factor out the sales figures for the very largest VoIP providers, AND the big managed IP PBX market (which he says takes up most of VoIP sales anyway), that means that on average, most of the remaining 500 North American services are doing an average $2 million in sales.

"In other words, all the other pretenders in the VoIP races, well, they’re doing bupkis in sales," Malik states.

For those who need a translation.....that roughly means "nothing", "worthless", or my favorite 'Squat".

Hmmmmm.....I tend to agree with my man Om on this one.

However, the good Russell Shaw of ZDNet has a different view prefering to look at what could be coming up....especially the potential of convergence of VoIP, Cable TV, and Internet (bundling for us laymen). Russell thinks these now also-ran VoIP services should experience far greater proportionate sales. Russell actually sees services-consolidation as inevitable.....insisting this will bump up the average-sales-per-VoIP provider even more.

Hmmmmm....now that makes sense too.

OK...my neck hurts watching this. What do you think?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Om Malik On BroadBand

Ya'll know I like to read Russell Shaw's news and insights on VoIP. Well I also have a couple other favorites.....Om Malik and Jeff Pulver. You really should trek right to the personal weblog of Om Malik, senior writer with Business 2.0 magazine. When thinking broadband, close your eyes and chant 'Om.' Between Om, Charles, and Jeff you'll stay on top of everything involving the BroadBand Nation. ;)

....Look Before You VoIP....

VoIP has proven to be an attractive, lucrative opportunity for industry professionals; but assumption, under-education and inexperience can get the best of those entering the VoIP realm.....

Read the article from PhoneMagPlus posted at PbxInfo.Com and join the discussion there.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

User Reviews Of VoIP Service Providers

Ran across this little gem of a review site from WhichVoIP. Nicely layed out with an easy to follow table format. Feel free to add your 2-cents and read what others have to say too.

Verizon....Shame On You

Nice...very nice. Great corporate ethics Verizon. Seems the jerks took a bundle from the Pennsylavania state coffers (sic tax payers) in return for a promise to deploy fiber to 50% of the state by 2004. Well.....$2.1 BILLION (yep.....BILLION) and 10 years later they "kinda" are deploying Fios to a few select areas according to recent news. Certainly not what the taxpayers of Pennsylvania payed....or deserve.

Try throwing in your 2-bits and adding your comments to the discussion here at DSLReports.com.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Packet8 In The News Again....Rated Best VoIP Provider

Packet8 has been rated “best VoIP provider” in a study of popular Internet telephony service providers recently published by TomsNetworking, “the Internet's premier destination for Small-Office-Home-Office (SOHO) / Small & Medium-sized Business (SMB) networking news, reviews and technology analysis.”

In an article titled “Making the Jump to VoIP”, prepared by industry journalist Russell Shaw, Packet8 service emerged as “the best of the bunch tested” with special marks for geographic service availability - “covered the U.S. like a blanket,” new subscriber activation – "sign-up screens were intuitively laid out and quick to load,” and flexibility – “Packet 8's shining virtue is its superior configurability for home and office networks.”

“As consumer awareness of broadband telephony grows, third party assessments of VoIP services become increasingly important to the education and buying process,” said 8x8 Chairman & CEO Bryan Martin. “We are pleased that Packet8 was acknowledged so favorably on a number of service characteristics.”

Nice...keep it up guys. ;)

8x8 Ramps Production And Reports Increased Consumer Demand For $99 Packet8 Videophone

I really like these guys (in case you couldn't tell). Now Packet8 has made the $99 equipment price on DV326 consumer VideoPhone permanent. Cool. Here's the meaty parts of the press release from Telephony World so you don't miss a thing......

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – April 29, 2005 -- 8x8, Inc. (Nasdaq: EGHT), provider of Packet8 broadband voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and videophone communications services, announced it will retain the $99 Packet8 VideoPhone pricing model originally constructed as a promotional incentive to stimulate consumer demand for its Packet8 video services.

Due to favorable consumer response to what was initially a "while supplies last" offer, 8x8 has ramped up production of the broadband Packet8 DV326 VideoPhone and expects to continue to offer the $99 per phone purchase price and accompanying $19.95 per month, two-year service plan model unveiled earlier this month.

"As we expected, once we minimized the upfront equipment investment associated with owning a videophone, consumer demand increased as subscribers saw a more affordable opportunity to bring one into their homes," said Huw Rees, Vice President of Marketing & Sales at 8x8. "So far, the results have been positive and indicate that spreading the financial commitment over a two year service period is a palatable option for the consumer. We believe that consumers who are buying VoIP services that do not include video are investing in soon-to-be-obsolete technologies and services. Just as we see in the mobile phone market, consumers are beginning to expect video to be part of their communication services portfolio," concluded Mr. Rees.

The pricing model adopted for the VideoPhone service mirrors that which cell phone providers have been employing successfully for some time for advanced endpoint devices. The revenue generated by monthly subscriber fees over a two year period, combined with advantageous pricing resulting from 8x8's embedded technologies and its hardware vendor relationships, constitutes what 8x8 expects to be a formula for success.

Available direct to consumers at www.packet8.net, the $99 Packet8 VideoPhone is being sold with a two year service plan, which includes unlimited voice and video calls worldwide to another Packet8 VideoPhone as well as unlimited local and long distance voice-only calls to any phone number in the U.S. or Canada. The $19.95 per month, 24-month service plan carries an early termination fee of $299. All existing Packet8 VideoPhone service subscribers will also see a decrease in their base monthly service fees to $19.95 per month beginning with their May 1 billing statement.

About 8x8, Inc.
VoIP (voice over internet protocol) service provider 8x8, Inc. offers internet-based telephony solutions for individual residential and business users as well as small to medium sized business organizations. In addition to regular Packet8 VoIP service plans, priced as low as $19.95 per month for unlimited anytime calling to the U.S. and Canada, 8x8 now offers the $99 Packet8 DV326 VideoPhone, the industry's first stand alone broadband consumer videophone with worldwide video calling for $19.95 per month. Packet8 Virtual Office, 8x8's VoIP system for small to medium sized businesses, is a hosted PBX solution comprised of powerful business class features. For additional company information, visit 8x8's web site.