Sunday, August 31, 2003

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » Looking for ideas: P8 in a proxy environment

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » Looking for ideas: P8 in a proxy environment

DSLReports thread about setting up P8 behind a proxy.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

VoIP Providers Up-Time Comparison Web Site

VoIP Providers Up-Time Comparison Web Site

This is a very cool site where you can check if P8 is up and also to check if other VoIP providers are up and running as well. I particularly like the Up-Time stat that shows you the uptime of each provider.

Friday, August 29, 2003

broadband � News � Vonage to Fight Regulation - 'The Minnesota PUC is incorrect in its findings'

broadband � News � Vonage to Fight Regulation - 'The Minnesota PUC is incorrect in its findings': "Vonage to Fight Regulation
'The Minnesota PUC is incorrect in its findings'"

More info from the DSLReports VoIP forum about the MN v. Vonage issue.

broadband » News » Vonage Bumps into Regulators - Debate rages over 911 accountability

broadband » News » Vonage Bumps into Regulators - Debate rages over 911 accountability: "Vonage Bumps into Regulators
Debate rages over 911 accountability"

DSLReports (http://www.dslreports.com) covers the MN v. Vonage issue.

Wired News: Mr. Disruption Strikes Again

Wired News: Mr. Disruption Strikes Again: "Launched Wednesday, SIPphone sells $65 phones that call anywhere in the world essentially for free. Users don't pay per-call or per-minute fees, just the cost of their regular broadband service and a one-time cost for the device, which arrives pre-configured with a unique phone number in the area code '747' ('S-I-P' on your phone keypad). Turn the SIPphone on, plug it in to your broadband connection and place your call. "

Lindows chief hears Net phones calling | CNET News.com

Lindows chief hears Net phones calling | CNET News.com: "MP3.com and Lindows founder Michael Robertson is once again launching a new start-up aimed at shaking up the old technological order, focusing this time on providing free Internet-based phone service. "

Isn't FWD already doing this for free.

Today's News on the Net from Business Wire

Today's News on the Net from Business Wire: " theglobe.com, inc. ('theglobe' or the 'Company') (OTCBB:TGLO) announced today that it has launched voiceglo, offering complete local and long distance phone service worldwide, marking it as the first global telephone company. The new all-digital service allows for any customer in the world to make crystal clear phone calls, routed over the Internet for free or nearly free. Most importantly, U.S. customers can keep their existing phones and phone numbers.
Available for home and business use, voiceglo's patent-pending technology also makes the service globally portable for travel. This means customers can make and receive phone calls anywhere in the world using their local voiceglo number."

Unfortunately for the people at theglobe, Packet8 has superior quality and pricing and moving theglobe into VoIP is only going to delay the company going into bankruptcy for a while.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

broadband � Forums � Voice over IP � Packet8 & FWD

broadband � Forums � Voice over IP � Packet8 & FWD: "Two quick questions for the group:

1.) Can I use an ATA186 with Packet8?

2.) Can I call packet8 numbers with FWD?"

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » Best P8 Codec?

broadband � Forums � Voice over IP � New Service: Voiceglo

broadband � Forums � Voice over IP � Voiceglo off to bad start with customer service

broadband � Forums � Voice over IP � Voiceglo off to bad start with customer service: "Voiceglo off to bad start with customer service
I called voiceglo this morning to get some answers to basic questions. This is how it went:

Me: Do you pass incoming DTMF tones?
Them: No
Me: Do you know what a DTMF tone is?
Them: No, but I've read the list of features.
Me: Do you send 10-digit caller ID, without putting a 1 in front of the number?
Them: Yes, we have caller ID.
Me: Could I speak to somebody in technical support?
Them: I am in technical support."

VoiceGlo.com

VoiceGlo.com

Remember TheGlobe.com? Well the company has changed from an online news site to a VoIP Provider, VoiceGlo. Packet8 should end up eating VoiceGlo for lunch.

ZDNet UK - Insight - US VoIP operators feel grip of regulation

ZDNet UK - Insight - US VoIP operators feel grip of regulation: "Internet telephony will suddenly face complying with the same regulations that govern conventional telecommunications, as US states move to impose regulatory frameworks"

BusinessWeek Online: News from C|Net.com

BusinessWeek Online: News from C|Net.com: "Free ride over for VoIP?
A cheap, Net-based alternative to traditional phone service is facing a regulatory backlash that could slow adoption of the technology, raise prices and put a stop telephone start-ups. "

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » Vonage Service Interruptions

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » Vonage Service Interruptions

Looks like Vonage has been plaugued by service interruptions lately. Check it out at the above link.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » recommend packet8 or vonage?

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » recommend packet8 or vonage?

DSLReports topic forum about P8 verse Vonage and which one you should choose and why. I have had Vonage and now I am a P8 user. Vonage's quality and reliability went down the hill. While Vonage offers some more features now, P8 has promised to match the Vonage feature set shortly. Though I would venture that the P8 features will be a bit different than the Vonage features - the P8 features will actually work. For all the additional features Vonage had, most of the features did not work most of the time.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Minnesota: Phone rules apply to VoIP | CNET News.com

Minnesota: Phone rules apply to VoIP | CNET News.com: "Vonage said Thursday it intends to fight the first-ever decision by a U.S. state to regulate companies that provide Internet-based phone services.
Minnesota's Public Utilities Commission unanimously decided two weeks ago that the New Jersey-based voice over IP (VoIP) provider is subject to the rules and regulations that cover traditional phone companies.
The state has ordered Vonage to get the proper telephone company business licenses and to immediately pay fees to the state's Department of Administration to support 911 services, according to a representative for the Minnesota PUC.
Bill Wilhelm, an attorney for Vonage, called the decision into question Thursday, pointing out that the company's calls travel over the Internet rather than over a traditional phone network.
'We believe the Minnesota PUC is incorrect in its findings,' he said.
Vonage, which lays claim to 40,000 subscribers, is exploring all its options, he said--which include suing the Minnesota PUC in a state or federal court.
Minnesota is the first U.S. state to attempt to regulate VoIP, according to Vonage. VoIP is a new breed of cheaper phone service that lets people place calls through the Internet, avoiding telephone companies' local and long-distance networks.
The Minnesota PUC decision could have a widespread impact. While it only targets Vonage, it has set a precedent that regulators from all 50 U.S. states can use with regard to other VoIP providers. Michigan authorities have said they are considering a similar move, for instance.
The ruling could also help sway the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is in the process of deciding whether it considers VoIP a traditional phone service.
Such VoIP regulations are backed by major telephone companies Verizon Communic"

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

revjim.net : packet8 review

revjim.net : packet8 review:

Below is a good review of Packet thanks to revjim.net

"Now that I've got my packet8 phone fully functioning, I thought I'd give a review.
The call quality is excellent. The people that I've spoken to can't tell that I'm on a IP based phone at all. While the call is in place, both Jess and I are able to use the Internet normally without any noticable degredation in call quality. My ears, apparently, are super sensitive, as I notice more LAG when I'm talking to someone. The amount of time between my questions and the person I am calling's responses seems to be a little bigger. But, like I said, no one else noticed. At one point, during a call, I decided to upload a large file to an internet server. Because I have a 128kbps upload cap, my upload maxxed it out. When this happened, I was able to hear the person I was talking to perfectly. However, my words were garbled and could not be understood. More upstream bandwidth would certainly solve this problem. However, in a world where that can't be changed, the best option is to ensure that no large uploads or downloads take place while you're on the phone. Geekier users might find a way to devote bandwidth to the phone while it is in use. I believe it supports QoS which means, if your router understands this, it would handle packet prioritization on its own.
The service comes with a DTA310. This is a small box that you hook up to a phone on one end, and your internet router on the other. It handles all of the translation making it possible to use a standard telephone with the service. The box has a web interface, however, there is very little information on the web about this item, and it came without a manual, so most of the options there are useless since there are no instructions to help you configure them.
An email to their tech support confirmed that you cannot use a softphone with their service. I'm not sure if there is special"

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » Alabama to regulate VOIP?

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » Alabama to regulate VOIP?: "Now we can add Alabama to the list of States which are taking action with
regard to VoIP.

Last week, the Alabama PSC at it's Commission meeting on August 12th,
ordered a 'Declaratory Proceeding' on VoIP in response to a request
received from 31 of Alabama's ILECs for a Declaratory Ruling finding
that:

'(1) providers of intrastate phone-to-phone IP telephone service or
other Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) configurations (collectively,
'IP Telephone Service') are 'transportation companies' as defined by
Alabama Code 37-2-1 (1975);

(2) providers of intrastate IP Telephony Service are subject to APSC
rules applicable to the provision of telephone service, including the
filing of tariffs; and

(3) providers of IP Telephony Service are responsible for
the payment of intrastate access charges for the origination or
termination of non-local traffic from or to the ILEC's public switched
telephone network that originate and terminate in Alabama.'

The written order is not yet available but should be out later this week.
Details will be availalbe in Docket No. 29016 at the Alabama PSC."

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

FBI targets Net phoning | CNET News.com

FBI targets Net phoning | CNET News.com: "Internet telephone calls are fast becoming a national security threat that must be countered with new police wiretap rules, according to an FBI proposal presented quietly to regulators this month."

AP Wire | 08/19/2003 | Minnesota regulators take aim at Internet phone company

AP Wire | 08/19/2003 | Minnesota regulators take aim at Internet phone company: "Is an Internet phone company the same as a traditional phone company? Minnesota state regulators say it is.
Vonage, a small Edison, N.J.-based company that lets consumers make phone calls over the Internet, has been told by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that it is operating without proper certification as a phone company."

Bugtraq: A Vonage VOIP 3-way call CID Spoofing Vulnerability

Don't have this security issue on Packet 8
Bugtraq: A Vonage VOIP 3-way call CID Spoofing Vulnerability

Original Advisory: Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Severity: Medium - High

Description: An attacker using the VOIP (Voice Over IP) carrier Vonage,
has the ability to spoof the caller ID of a called party through the three-
way calling feature. This trick essentially acts similar to a POTS-based
diverter, as it allows the attacker to carry out illicit telephone
activities while hiding his or her phone number.

Version: This was tested using Cisco Systems' ATA 186 VOIP hardware on the
Vonage carrier.

Author: Nathan Wosnack



Vonage Background:

"Using an existing high-speed Internet connection, Vonage technology
enables anyone to make and receive phone calls - worldwide - with a touch-
tone telephone. Offering quality phone service bundled with enhanced IP
communications services, our interactive communications portal is a
gateway to advanced features only available through digital telephone
service. Utilizing our global network and advanced routing technologies,
Vonage offers an innovative, feature-rich and cost effective alternative
to traditional telephony services."


Description of the problem:

By using SIP-enabled voice over IP (VOIP) hardware such as the Cisco ATA
186 Analog Telephone Adaptor, it's possible to spoof the caller
identification that shows up on a call. The attacker only needs to call up
a regular phone line (POTS - plain old telephone service), place the
caller on hold, flash over to a dial tone using the threeway call feature,
and then call a second party for this to work. The caller ID information
that tends to show up is the first called party's telephone number with
either their name listed or "unknown name" showing on a conventional
caller-id enabled telephone. The opportunity for abuse is high and could
allow the determined attacker to social engineer your telephone, cable, or
utility company into modifying your services. Since many companies only
require the person's name, address, and caller id for account
authentication, this vulnerability helps the attacker. The other
opportunities this vulnerability gives the attacker is the ability to
spoof anyone's caller id information for phone hacking (often
called "phreaking"); such as breaking into voice mail accounts and PBX
exploitation for the purpose of proprietary information gathering and
telephone fraud.


Solutions to the problem:

This issue is something that Vonage will need to investigate on their end.
The proper routing of caller id information after a third-party call is
initiated is the problem, and needs to be resolved by the Vonage IT staff
figuring out why their VOIP switching equipment doesn't pass this data
properly. The Hypervivid Solutions staff has contacted Vonage directly
about this issue, so it can hopefully be resolved shortly.

For everyone else, your best defense is to be aware of who is calling you.
If you happen to receive a phone call from an unknown party who wants to
place you on hold, hang up immediately and then call them back.
If you hear a recording telling you the number is not in service, then
you've likely reached a Vonage gateway number, which mean you were likely
called by someone attempting to exploit this Vonage VOIP vulnerability.


Conclusion:

In the past year, Voice over IP telephony has seen many security issues.
The voip issues range from vendor implementations of the Session
Initiation Protocol (SIP), problems with remote-accessible code which can
be exploited to cause a denial of service, voip phones that are weak in
ways that facilitate man-in-the-middle attacks directed at intercepting
telephone traffic, and most recently 3-way caller ID spoofing on Vonage.

When the information security community works closely with vendors and
carriers, these problems can be resolved quickly and efficiently enough to
limit or even eliminate any abuse by phone phreaks and criminals.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

VoIP is Ready! - A comparison of Broadband Phone Services

Really good comparison of Packet8, Vonage, and VoicePulse. Features don't really matter than me and I make more than 1000 minutes of calls a month, so Packet8 service best fits my needs. I couldn't imagine living without the service now.

VoIP is Ready! - A comparison of Broadband Phone Services

Friday, August 15, 2003

Pioneer Press | 08/15/2003 | State moves in on Web calling service

Looks like MN is going to make Vonage stop offering phone service in MN after 30 days. I wonder what that is going to do to Packet8
Pioneer Press | 08/15/2003 | State moves in on Web calling service

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » New Packet8 Ratecenters

Packet8 numbers are now available in NY, AZ, CO, LA, OH & MA check out the following post at DSLReports for more info:
broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » New Packet8 Ratecenters: "Packet8 numbers are now available in NY, AZ, CO, LA, OH & MA"

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Pirated Software Still an Issue in High-Tech

Whoa, was just flipping through some of the old news on Vonage and came across this. Looks like Vonage is being investigated for a huge amount of software piracy.
Pirated Software Still an Issue in High-Tech

Mercury News | 08/06/2003 | Loathing for the U.S. cable industry has not abated

Cool article on Packet8 at the following:
Mercury News | 08/06/2003 | Loathing for the U.S. cable industry has not abated

Again, another author went into why they chose Packet8 over Vonage.
1. Packet 8 was cheaper
2. Packet8 Terms of service "were miles better than Vonage's"

A new ring: Switching to voice calls over the Internet

The following is a good article on Packet 8
A new ring: Switching to voice calls over the Internet

I especially like how the author explained why he chose Packet8 over all the alternatives.

broadband � Voice over IP

broadband � Voice over IP

The VoIP forum listed above is the best message board I have found on the Net in regards to Packet 8 and Vonage.

broadband � Forums � Voice over IP � Vonage Hidden Cost

Check out this message board thread at DSL Reports broadband � Forums � Voice over IP � Vonage Hidden Cost

Didn't realize this until I read this post, but another thing Packet8 has up on Vonage is that it does not charge a disconnect fee if you cancel the service and return the equipment. Vonage charges $40 for you to disconnect. On top of that Vonage's trial peroiod is only 15 days not the 30 days Packet 8 gives out.

8x8 Announces Private Placement of Equity Securities

Check out 8x8 Announces Private Placement of Equity Securities.

Looks like 8x8 was able to raise some money to help build out the Packet8 service. This should help address all those concerns about the company's stability and solvency. With the Packet8 service and its low pricing and a war chest to market the service I bet everyone will start hearing about and getting Packet8 sooner than later.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Mercury News | 08/03/2003 | New ring: voice calls over Net

Great article about Packet 8 at Mercury News | 08/03/2003 | New ring: voice calls over Net

The writer, Dan Gillmor, chose Packet8 over Vonage and explained why which I haven't seen any writer do yet. This tells me he really did his homework and really studied the VoIP alternatives out there.