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.
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!
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.
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.
Response Point Service Pack 2 – Technical Resources
Rex has posted a great list of technical resources for Service Pack 2, this is a must-read if you plan on running SP2 (recommended).
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.
Trent Johnsen, Vice President, Business Development, SMB Phone
IT Expo keynote – John Frederiksen – GM Microsoft Response Point
John just delivered a great keynote to an overpacked room of what looked to be an audience of a few hundred. John talked a bit about Response Point and Service Pack 2 but probably the most compelling component of the speech was a video about Microsoft’s vision of what’s to come. The related video was a bit Orwellian but made me think about mobility more and how traditional SMB communications might work in the near future, more on that later.
Response Point Service Pack 2 (SP 2) is GA
The Response Point team have done it again. Response Point SP 2 is now generally available.
Some new features include:
– 1 way paging
– 2 way intercom
– After hours / time of day rules
– Out of band DTMF
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 | firstname.lastname@example.org
The more things change the more they stay the same. New VoIP providers acting like old-school telcos.
Why is it that new phone service providers find it necessary to act like old-school telcos? I thought the new era of IP communications was supposed to bring a wave of new era thinking!?
Here is something that really bugs me.. When a service provider can not deliver service as advertised (let’s say because they can’t provide proper far-end NAT traversal for instance) and then implies this is the customer’s problem to solve. In this situation the providers seem to make it their mission in life to put the customer through absolute hell before admitting to the fact that their service does not work without quite a bit of heavy lifting, on behalf of the customer.
I just spent the better half of a day solving problems for one of our Response Point customers (bought a systems few months back) who took service from a US provider claiming to be able to deliver service in Canada for Response Point. After several hours of waiting on the provider to solve the problems (no inbound calling for starters), the customer requested that I “please do anything to fix this”.
I installed an SMB Digital Voice package and had the original service provider forward the customer’s numbers to the new SMB Digital Voice phone number. The customer’s phone service has been restored.
Unfortunately, the customer is now being held hostage by the current service provider who is insisting that in order for their service to function, the customer must now;
- Make all sorts of changes in their existing firewall. And / Or
- Buy a special Firewall traversal device.
As a service provider, if you advertise your service as being “certified” or “compliant” with Response Point but can’t get your service working with Response Point, don’t make the customer pay for your lack of interoperability testing!
A note to Response Point customers looking for service for their new small office phone systems, “don’t sign any long term contracts with service providers you have little or no experience with”.
If you are buying or have bought Response Point, and you are looking for a “certified” Response Point service provider, this is the list you should be going by, published directly from Microsoft’s VoIP Service Provider website. If the provider is not on this list, it’s likely a safe bet that they are not certified.