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How much bandwidth do I need for Response Point? G.711 vs. G.729

G.711 is the default audio CODEC for most Response Point phones and requires approximately 90Kbps bandwidth upstream (your voice going out) and 90Kbps bandwidth downstream (your caller’s voice coming in).

To calculate peak usage take the peak concurrent callers x 90Kbps. For example: 5 concurrent calls x 90Kbps = 450Kbps is the required bandwidth for each direction. Keep in mind, this does not account for VPN usage for remote users or voice mail to email etc.

As an example, if you have a 1Mbps ADSL connection from your service provider, you might have an upstream bandwidth of approximately 700 Kbps. A conservative approach is to estimate just over half of the upstream bandwidth is available, ISPs generally over-sell their bandwidth. In this case, you could safely support 4 simultaneous G.711 calls if you were not doing anything else (e.g. downloading email, listening to online radio, downloading large files, etc.) on that connection.

The SMB Digital Voice network also supports G.729, which uses approximately 20Kbps bandwidth upstream (your voice going out) and 20Kbps bandwidth downstream (your caller’s voice coming in) for each call. G.729 provides very good call quality while minimizing bandwidth usage. The only noticeable difference would likely arise during on-net calls (calling other users on the SMB Phone network). G.711 offers a higher quality on-net call because G.711 does not compress audio, but as soon as the the call is handed off to the PSTN the call quality between G.711 and G.729 is hardly noticeable.

G.729 offers some real benefits, the most obvious is the 400% decrease in bandwidth capacity requirements. G.729 also handles Jitter more efficiency during times where low bandwidth / high congestion would likely render a similar call using G.711 unintelligible.

You can force your phone to use G.729 on Response Point handsets but some are harder to configure than others. For example, on Aastra 675x phones the global SIP settings are grayed out out via Javascript on page load making it tough to set the codec.

As a general rule of thumb, we like to recommend an independent broadband connection that you can use for Response Point. You may want to acquire a router that has dual WAN link failover, VPN Server (for remote sites) and some QOS traffic shaping functionality.

Response Point VPNs and Remote Workers

I wrote an article over at the SMB Phone blog on Response Point VPNs and remote workers. If you are having some issues with VPNs and Response Point this might help.

Skype for SIP, it's about time!

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Back in 2004 I wrote a post relating to the VON Canada Panel I sat on with Niklas Zennstrom. It was an interesting debate on open standards (SIP in this case) and closed networks, specifically Skype. I was quite vocal about how silly I thought Skype was not to include SIP, a few of you picked up on that 😉

It looks like something good came of the eBay purchase as we now see a Skype pushing towards open standards, good stuff!

On a similar note, I heard a rumour that it’s likely Jason Fischl the current CTO at Counterpath (Xten) will be going over to work with Jonathan Christensen (General Manager – Media Platform) at Skype. Jason was an early advocate of SIP in the IETF and works with some of the best minds on the subject: Cullen Jennings, Robert Sparks, Alan Duric come to mind.

This could get interesting.

I will do some testing with SkypeforSIP & Response Point and post the results along with my comments on what this new offer from Skype might mean for Response Point.

Google Voice vs. Response Point with ITSP

VS  

I will admit, this is a bit of a silly comparison but the truth is that I have had a few customers (and some analysts) asking for some clarification on the new Google Voice offer and how it may compete with Response Point when coupled with an ITSP. The fact is they really do not compete in any measurable way and they could easily compliment each other.

Major Differences

The obvious major difference is that Response Point is a small business phone system, Google Voice is really a service offering targeted at individuals.

When we combine Response Point with an ITSP (Internet Telephony Service Provider) we start seeing some similarities in the services between the two offers but they are really meant for 2 distinctly different purposes.

Response Point offers an actual premise-based system with a base unit, handsets and features like; auto-receptionist, DID integration, hunt groups, voice mail to email integration etc. All of the things one would expect when purchasing a small business phone system.

Google Voice service is an overlay service on whatever you have today, so if your existing phone system is simply not cutting it, it’s unlikely that Google Voice is going to be able to transform it into the system of your dreams. It’s true that Google Voice will allow you to take advantage of certain features but don’t expect to find a Park, Hold or Transfer or anything fancy like speech recognition.

Google Voice is an inbound-centric service. Most features can only be used with an inbound call, that includes call recording and call joining.

How they play nice together

One could use the Google Voice – simulring feature to call your Response Point phone number and at the same time it could call your mobile.

Google Voice – call recording is a handy feature that is currently not a feature offered in the Response Point system.

Google Voice – voice mail transcriptions is a handy way to receive visual voice mails via email and SMS.

Google Voice – call widgets allow users to put callback widgets on a website. This will allow the visitor to put in their phone number and the system will call them and then it will call your Google Voice number.

Google Voice – SMS is a cool way to compose, accept and manage text messages while maintaining control over the devices associated with that service.

Potential ‘Gotchas’

The Google Voice service is only available in the US. Even US subscribers can only forward/simring their Google Voice numbers to other US numbers but that is likely to change to include international countries in the near future.

In theory, the Google Voice call should go wherever the media is sent. Call Routing results may vary depending on the Response Point ITSP you choose.

When calling out, your existing phone number (Caller ID) will be presented to the callee unless you use the dial-out feature, which is (IMHO) a bit of a hassle. This causes some problems as most of us are used to calling people back on the number we last saw from them. Fortunately, many ITSPs (unlike the conventional phone companies) will allow you to change your Caller ID number to match your Google Voice number.

Google Voice does not address LNP (Local Number Portability) at all right now. Which means you can not bring your existing numbers to Google Voice, you have to choose a new number.

Response Point Rapid Turn Around

First off let me just say that this team continues to blow me away. They listen and respond, go figure!

Yesterday the RP team addressed some concerns over loosing “barge-in” in the latest Service Pack and added that feature back in for a new build, now available. Yep, you heard right. This is not a patch, it’s a new build. If you know anything about the development of commercial software you would certainly agree that a 2 week turnaround (from SP 2 launch in Miami) on a new build is pretty damn impressive.

In addition, they have seemed to fix a few issues that I missed in my first pass/review of SP2. Since I am a Mac guy, I run all of my Windows software in a VM. Until SP2 there were a few quirky issues (Netbios ?) that made it impossible to do a few things easily or at all. The use of Assistant was simply not there on a VM and Administrator needed the base unit IP to connect. Sending recording prompts to phones (record name, greetings, etc) would belch as well. The RP team seemed to have remedied all of those issues with this release. Administrator and Assistant now work seamlessly, which means they work on a Mac, which makes me happy.

Vancouver Small Business Server User Group – Response Point

Join Erik Lagerway and Trent Johnsen, co-founder/executives of SMB Phone to see how Microsoft Response Point is changing small business communications and what it means for you and your customers.

SMB Phone is a national Response Point distributor and Canada’s newest Microsoft certified Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP) and the only provider to be integrated with Response Point in Canada. Along with a working demo/overview of Response Point, SMB Phone will provide an insider’s industry perspective on Microsoft Response Point and the latest software release, Service Pack 2, and how you can improve your customer’s business communications and enjoy significant new business opportunities working with Microsoft Response Point and SMB Phone.

3/12/2009 | 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Welcome Time:
3/12/2009 6:00 PM Pacific Time

The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (BC LDB)
3200 East Broadway (Okanagan room)
Vancouver, BC V5M 3T5
Canada

Click here to attend

What a Girl Needs

According to Marta (a kick-butt MS Response Point engineer) these designer half gloves are now part of the dress code for any self-respecting lady at Microsoft. I thought she was just a bit chilled from the cooler weather in Miami that evening but according to her colleagues, she wears them every day.

Now that’s style!

Marta at the Microsoft Response Point VAR Dinner. IT Expo '09

SMB Phone Goes to Market with Response Point

For those at IT Expo, this free session is about to begin in Room 109.

4. An Integrated Solution: SMB Phone Goes to Market
with Response Point

3:00 – 4:00 pm

SMB Phone is a unique VAR and ITSP. Come learn how they identified Response Point as a key technical and business component in their nation-wide go to market programs focused on SMBs.

Presented by:
Trent Johnsen, Vice President, Business Development, SMB Phone

SMB Phone Launches SMB Digital Voice for Canadian Small Business

SMB Phone announces Microsoft Marketing Alliance for Response Point and launches SMB Digital Voice™ in 48 markets to provide enhanced choice and services for Canadian small medium businesses

Response Point and SMB Digital Voice enable reliable communications for small businesses in Canada.

February 2, 2009, IT Expo East, Miami, “The World’s Communication Conference”
SMB Phone Inc., a new Canadian telecom carrier created exclusively for Microsoft Response Point services announces, simpler, smarter and easier phone service for Canadian small business, in partnership with Microsoft.

The Microsoft and SMB Phone marketing alliance heralds a new era of affordable, feature rich, easy-to-manage, easy-to-use business communications integrating voice recognition, email, computer and mobile services for small medium business in Canada. Canadian small medium businesses now have affordable, easy, online access to a new generation of business communication features and services with Microsoft Response Point and SMB Phone.

Response Point is the highly innovative, award winning telephone system from Microsoft designed specifically for small medium businesses with up to 50 users. Extremely easy to afford, manage and use, Microsoft Response Point provides small medium business customers unprecedented control over a rich suite of business communications features including voice recognition enabled auto-attendant and user features, integration with the Windows desktop for inbound caller ID, click to call, and call control functions, voicemail to email delivery, extensive call history and call detail reporting, and seamless call integration with mobile devices. SMB Phone President, Erik Lagerway comments:

“A phone system is a strategic investment for businesses today. Response Point enables business owner managers to serve customers more effectively, reduce and control costs and provides employees the means to increased productivity.”

“SMB Phone is demonstrating an innovative, progressive approach as a Canadian market leader and certified Response Point service provider,”

John Frederiksen, general manager, Microsoft Response Point, had this to say,

“The combination of Microsoft Response Point and SMB Phone’s Digital Voice services provide Canadian small and medium sized businesses with outstanding functionality and value including the ability to activate a new business line in minutes within any of SMB Phone’s 48 markets using SMB Phone’s automated Response Point activation process. We look forward to our continued work with SMB Phone as we serve and grow our Canadian Response Point customer base.”

SMB Phone’s Digital Voice service is designed specifically for Response Point users and provides an alternative to “POTS” (Plain old telephone service) lines with enhanced features at lower costs, instant service activation, and is easier to manage than traditional business telephone lines. SMB Digital Voice features include:

– instant activation of new SMB Digital Voice lines directly through Microsoft Response Point Administrator software
– digital line groups provide for multiple simultaneous calls
– Direct Dial numbers for employees, departments, projects etc.
– unlimited North American long distance usage
– Cellular toll bypass to eliminate cellular long distance charges
– “cloud” number administration service for remote call control management
– “virtual presence” numbers provide a local phone number anywhere in Canada

SMB Phone Inc. is making small medium business communications simpler, smarter and easier as the world’s first Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP) dedicated to providing certified Microsoft Response Point services. SMB Phone and our network of dealer/partners currently serve 48 local market areas in Canada with Microsoft Response Point phone systems and SMB Digital Voice service for Response Point. For additional information on Microsoft Response Point, SMB Digital Voice and SMB Phone please visit http://smbphone.ca

SMB Phone Inc.
Media Contact: Trent Johnsen | 1.866.473.0516 | trent.johnsen@smbphone.com

Next Event – Internet Telephony Expo

We are making our way to IT Expo soon where we will be making some announcements and speaking on a couple of Response Point topics.

Rich Tehrani posted a great summary of the Response Point syllabus. For those who are interested in taking it in, Richard Sprague is offering a free pass.

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