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Developments in Asterisk Must Be Followed: AstriCon 2009 Speaker

TMCnews Featured Article


October 07, 2009

Developments in Asterisk Must Be Followed: AstriCon 2009 Speaker

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor


It’s important to stay involved with Asterisk (News - Alert) whether or not a company’s customer base is involved with the popular open source telephony platform, because the technology created and developed by Digium (News - Alert) likely will emerge as far more than just a PBX, the head of an Atlanta-based software development company specializing in applications for managing large wholesale VoIP networks told TMCnet in an interview.

 
According to Jim Dalton, CEO of TransNexus, Inc., Asterisk and a couple of other open source telecom projects are “the most significant leading indicators for the future of telecommunications.”
 
If you are not watching developments in the Asterisk community, you have your head in the sand,” Dalton told TMC Editorial Director Erik Linask (News - Alert) in an interview, printed in full below.
 
For Dalton – who is speaking during a session titled “Tutorial on Local Number Portability and Why It Is Important for Asterisk-Based Service Providers” at AstriCon 2009, to be held Oct. 13 to 15 in Glendale, Ariz –  focus and price are what differentiates TransNexus’ (News - Alert) products.
 
“For 12 years, our focus has been on VoIP routing and accounting,” Dalton told Linask. “From the beginning our solution architecture has been based on a standards based routing and CDR collection server. This is quite different from traditional least cost routing and billing solutions for telecom. Traditionally, these solutions have been customized to interoperate with each switch vendor’s proprietary routing table and CDR format. Customization for many different vendors is very expensive, but that is just the way it was in telecom.”
 
The TransNexus approach, he said, is based on the OSP protocol which is an XML based standard for authorizing, routing and accounting for IP transactions. It is a simpler approach with much better scalability, according to Dalton.
 
“For example, we have customers that manage over forty million routes with the TransNexus OSPrey routing and CDR collection server,” he said. “By comparison, a softswitch or session border controller is limited to a routing table of just two million routes or less.”
 
Their full exchange follows.
 
Erik Linask: This year marks the 10th birthday of Asterisk. What has driven its growth over a decade?
 
Jim Dalton (pictured left): Pent-up demand for a reasonably priced PBX (News - Alert) solution for small and medium businesses.
 
EL: What is your company’s involvement with Asterisk?
 
JD: TransNexus maintains the OSP module in Asterisk. OSP is the Open Settlement Protocol for secure peering among VoIP peers.
 
EL: Who is your target customer and what are their biggest pain points?
 
JD: Our target customers are any service provider who offers A to Z VoIP termination services. They use the TransNexus software for least cost routing, number portability, traffic reports, profitability analysis and billing.
 
EL: How does Asterisk help address your customers’ pain points?
 
JD: Actually, there is very little intersection between the TransNexus customer base and the universe of Asterisk users. Nevertheless, we like to be involved with Asterisk because we think it will become more than just a PBX. Asterisk and a couple of other open source telecom projects are the most significant leading indicators for the future of telecommunications. If you are not watching developments in the Asterisk community, you have your head in the sand.
 
EL: What are the key differentiators of your product over others on the market?
 
JD: Focus and Price. For 12 years our focus has been on VoIP routing and accounting. From the beginning our solution architecture has been based on a standards based routing and CDR collection server. This is quite different from traditional least cost routing and billing solutions for telecom. Traditionally, these solutions have been customized to interoperate with each switch vendor’s proprietary routing table and CDR format. Customization for many different vendors is very expensive, but that is just the way it was in telecom.
 
The TransNexus approach, however, is based on the OSP protocol which is an XML based standard for authorizing, routing and accounting for IP transactions. It is a simpler approach with much better scalability. For example, we have customers that manage over forty million routes with the TransNexus OSPrey routing and CDR collection server. By comparison, a softswitch or session border controller is limited to a routing table of just two million routes or less.
 
Price is the second differentiator. Since our standards based architecture is simpler and more efficient, our costs are lower which means we are profitable even though our solution is significantly lower in price than the competition. In addition, we are the only vendor that offers a free 90 day evaluation trial complete with technical support and remote training. We have had multiple customers save more money using TransNexus software during the free evaluation trial than they paid us at the end of 90 days. I do not know of any competitor that can profitably offer a solution with a payback period of zero months.
 
EL: You are speaking at AstriCon 2009 – describe your session and tell our readers why they should attend it.
 
JD: My session will be a tutorial on Number Portability. In the United States, 40 percent of all calls are to telephone numbers that have been ported to a different service provider. If you are routing calls on the dialed telephone number, then 40 percent of your calls will be mis-routed. The call will still complete to the called party so end users will not know the call was misrouted, but the cost of routing a call to the wrong carrier who then has to forward the call to the correct terminating provider is very expensive. So this tutorial will explain the basics of Number Portability technology and how Asterisk users and correct their call routing with Number Portability and most importantly save on termination fees.
 
EL: What else do you expect to see or hear at AstriCon that will be particularly interesting or innovative?
 
JD: AstriCon attracts an eclectic group of innovators. You never know what you will learn at AstriCon. That is what makes AstriCon interesting.
 
EL: Where do you see the Asterisk market in five years?
 
JD: Asterisk will continue to be used in new ways that folks never imagined. But more importantly, Asterisk will have a significantly greater share of the PBX market.
 
 
Learn more about TransNexus at AstriCon 2009, to be held Oct. 13 to 15 in Glendale, Ariz. The conference’s mission is to expand awareness and knowledge of Asterisk, the world's leading open source PBX, telephony engine, and telephony applications toolkit, over the course of a three-day conference and exhibition. AstriCon includes a wealth of information for every Asterisk user, whether you are getting started or have already discovered the power of Asterisk. Register now.

Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan







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