I really like marketing spins, there is nothing more amuzing than a good marketing spin – especially when its being performed by a big company. Israel, as much as I don’t like admiting it, is one of the world’s biggest spin experts, especially when it comes to technology and marketing. One of my best friends used to work as a marketing manager at a high-tech company. According to him: “We can take each and every product of ours and resell it as 5 different products, it all depends on the customer required spin that we need to display!” – well, putting marketing aside and going back to technology, Sangoma recently announced 2 new Hybrid interface boards for Asterisk.

The boards are called: “B600” and “FlexBRI”. Let us examine the spec on these:

Sangoma B600 Board

The Sangoma B600 board boasts 4 Analog FXO interface and a single FXS interface. The combo is very interesting, as it enables a small office to utilize up to 4 inbound analog trunks, while connecting their FAX machine directly to the board itself, allowing for better fax transmission without relying on T38 and other Fax-Over-IP methodologies.

In general, I believe that the card density and idea is good. While many people believe that Sangoma competes head-on with Digium, I believe that this product has nothing to do with the Digium/Sangoma race. In my view, this board actually tackles the same niche market as the PIKA WARP appliance, as it boasts a similar perspective in terms of connectivity. I don’t believe this is a spin, as this product has a valid market share, especially in upcoming markets such as Africa. With a boasting price of around the 400US$ mark, I believe the card will gain popularity with the small TrixBox/Elastix/PBX-in-a-flash fly-by-night integrator scene, as it fits that niche fairly well.

Sangoma FlexBRI

Ok, the Sangoma FlexBRI card, at least from where I’m standing, in nothing but a worthless spin. It boasts 4 BRI interfaces and 2 analog interfaces (FXO or FXS). Why do I call it a spin? well, simply because I hadn’t seen a BRI installation in the past 4 years. I figure that Sangoma in now tackling the German market, especially the one being catered by the card made by Junghanns, however, these provide a fairly strange combo. In any case, the niche here is very much target to a select number of countries in the EU, so the validity of this product in the world is close to null – thus, I call this one a pure spin. The marketed price is yet to be revealed, however, judging from the density and the functionality of such a card, I’m not sure its price will allow it to be a valid market option. In addition, with the PIKA WARP ISDN appliance that is due to be out later this year, there is a high chance that this product’s voice will be nulled by an appliance of same density and easier integration.

Yeastar YE110 – Single Span E1/T1/J1

Yeastar is a chinese manufacturer, making Asterisk compatible boards for the Analog market. The YE110 is their first attempt at approaching the highly growing market of the E1/T1 circuits market. According to the website, the YE110 is fully compatible with the Zaptel drivers, thus, it doesn’t require any driver patches – which is a wonderful thing. We still have to learn about the stability and capabilities of this card, however, as it uses a similar chipset to the old Digium TE110P card, I suspect we’ll notice similar performance and capabilities – yet to be seen.

PhonicEQ cuts price by almost 40%

PhonicEQ had cut their prices by almost 40%, across their entire product line. Now, I admit that I’ve used their products and I was fairly happy for a while – however, as Zaptel versions progressed and Zaptel turned into DAHDI, PhonicEQ didn’t issue out any new drivers and updates – so I had to patch my own versions of the driver.

In my view, PhonicEQ cards needs to regarded as: “The poor man’s Asterisk card” – if you can’t afford anything else, then go with PhonicEQ. You’re probably wondering why I’m saying that, after all, everybody who knows me knows that I’m strongly affiliated with Digium. Well, when I started my business, I couldn’t afford a Digium card, even used cards were fairly expensive, I have a distinct issue with the Sangoma distributor in Israel (so I’ll never use Sangoma) and PhonicEQ seemed like a good choice at the time. I purchased the card, only to realize that I need to massively patch Zaptel in order to get it to work (something that wasn’t said on the site). For me, patching Zaptel and Asterisk isn’t anything new, so it took me about 30 minutes and I was up and running, no problem. However, for most Asterisk users, this may be a slightly more advanced task than others. In any case, PhonicEQ is still considered in my book as “The poor man’s Asterisk card” – use it only if you have no other choice.

ITExpo 2009 – Miami Beach, Florida

Well, it’s now official, I’ll be lecturing at ITExpo about utilizing Asterisk and VMWARE as a dialer framework for high-speed dialer services. If you will be in Miami for the conference and you’d like to meet, just look me up. I’ll be landing on the 2nd, so I guess i’ll only be up and running (pending jet-lag) on the 5th. C’ya all there …