Special services are offered via analog or ISDN connections in combination with terminal devices by service providers.
The particular challenge is now to guarantee the customer all these special services despite the on-going migration to ALL-IP. For the customer, the question is: will it work and who is responsible for it?
First of all, let us have a closer look at these special services. Deutsche Telekom lists the following services:
- · Alarm systems
- · Electronic cash terminals
- · Elevator emergency call systems
- · Accounting systems for medical doctors/physicians
- · Remote meter reading systems
- · Medical alarms
- · Pay phones
Especially alarm systems are very common, taking into account the fact that alarms such as fire, burglary, heating, cooling or power failure, pump defects, door monitoring, water-pipe-rupture and many other functions are supervised and, in case of an emergency, are reported as soon as possible to mobile phones, fire departments, the police or security companies. Broadly speaking, services related to these problems have to be alerted – reliably and quickly!
Special services include also applications such as ISDN Eurofile transfer, fax, PBX maintenance which are integrated in company processes.
Many providers do not consider this as a problem because in most cases IP-based solutions are currently available. One of the most common examples is the electronic cash terminal.
Analog or ISDN point of sale devices can be exchanged at a reasonable price by now. Some providers offer this service even for free. Nevertheless, particularly in financial transactions, the device function requires maximum reliability.
In case the customer uses applications which do not yet have an IP solution or which are too expensive to migrate to IP, the whole subject has a greater impact. Investment protection plays an important role.
Technology of All-IP
Therefore, let us have a closer look into the technology All-IP. All these aspects above need to be considered in each case individually.
Voice and Voice Applications
Almost perfect migration solutions for voice and voice applications have been created thanks to decades of very intensive development. The quality is far higher compared to ISDN and analog solutions. HD voice or voice in Hi-Fi quality can be achieved. Basis for this is the fact that humans perceive speech in a different way than machines. A short example without getting too much into the technology below:
In case voice packets are lost, clicks and drop outs are normally expected. Cutting-edge technology compensates this problem by stretching the packets and adapting the transition from one to the next packet according to the sound. How does this affect the listener? The listener does not notice it because the voice sounds only slightly deeper and no noise occurs.
Why do I mention this? This example mentioned above is an important aspect when migrating from conventional technology to ALL-IP and integrating the new technology.
ISDN PBX maintenance
Why is this an important example? Large ISDN PBX systems which are operated by the manufacturer are often quite expensive and are deeply integrated into internal corporate processes. IP upgrades are rather complex and cost-intensive if at all possible. A special feature of ISDN is the synchronous connection which does not accept package loss, however the network is very stable but rather slow. Error corrections have been left out since they were not necessary.
PBX maintenance bear the risk that only one single transmission error can near-irretrievably put the PBX out of operation.
Is there a solution for this?
Yes, there are solutions but not all will be supported by every provider and terminal. It is the customer’s responsibility to clarify this.
Deutsche Telekom’s official statement mentions that functionality of a special service operating via an ALL-IP connection can only be guaranteed by a qualification test of the service provider. Therefore, it is important that you as the customer contact your service provider to agree about further steps before actually migrating to IP.
What does this mean from the technical point of view?
A brief excursion into the technical details of ISDN, tells us that, it is a technology which even differentiates between voice and data. In case of EuroFile transfer or PBX maintenance connection, a request for comment will be created, more precisely RFC4040, payload format for a 64 kbit/s transparent call. This is a quasi standard for processing this kind of data. Thus, in case you have a media gateway or a PBX and your provider supports RFC4040, you are well prepared to successfully migrate your special service to IP.
RFC 4040 in combination with a sufficient bandwidth and Quality of service (QoS) enables a secure and error-free deployment of ISDN data transfer via the ALL-IP network.
From the technical point of view, analog data connections via analog and ISDN connections cause problems. Here, the customer along with the provider has to prove each case separately. Nevertheless, functional reliability cannot be guaranteed and can be affected by any kind of change in the provider’s network.
In general, experiences with many customers as well as tests show that data transmission rates up to 33 kBaud have a good chance of a successful migration into the world of ALL-IP.
Will a niche solution by manufacturers like Apple, using ALL-IP, be made available?
Since the beginning of the 1990s, building automation systems in large industrial and office buildings have been an integral part of the construction industry. Intelligent and cost-intensive field bus systems from different manufacturers, provide via various sensors and actuators, a wide range of information, as well as control of numerous parameters such as individual room temperatures, light and control systems.
Nevertheless, the tasks of building automation systems go far beyond providing information related to the technical aspects of measurement and steering building equipment.
SME and Private Homes
Most users in SME’s and private homes do not benefit from this technology because of the high acquisition costs and the hardly measurable advantages in time and money that such systems give.
Many stand-alone solutions have been developed: Individual systems for heating control, air conditioning, lighting, electrical blinds for the windows and beamers installed on the ceiling, are only to mention a few examples. However, each system had to be independently programmed and controlled.
For quite some time numerous radio buses have been established besides field bus systems. The advantage of radio buses compared to wired buses are the simple retrofitting capacity and the independence of any electrical line. Light switches for instance can also be subsequently placed anywhere. Moreover, the price of a radio systems is often considerably lower than of conventional bus systems. The disadvantage of such systems was that they were only partially or not at all compatible.
A presumed susceptibility to faults has been avoided by choosing a certain frequency. Gateways connect the radio buses to the field bus system and even more importantly to the LAN.
Until recently all manufacturers tried to defend their systems. Meanwhile, several manufacturers have formed a strategic alliance in order to enable a better interoperability.
Currently, manufacturers like Deutsche Telekom, Gigaset, Philips and now also Apple have positioned themselves in the market.
HomeKit is the new iOS interface by Apple for a networked home or office as a comprehensive system. Developers can use libraries for instance in order to integrate the voice recognition Siri for their applications without having to write a single line of code.
For app developers and automation products HomeKit is the most important interface but end users cannot yet apply it. A central place for users to control their HomeKit products will be launched by Apple in the future. If everything works out the way Apple announces, we will only need one single app and Siri in order to control our lights, doors, heating and sockets. Not like at present, where we need to virtually have individual apps for every lamp.
When the HomeKit compatible product is connected to the iOS device you can control it or turn it on and off by Siri voice commands depending on the kind of product. Here are some examples:
- “Turn the light on.” or “Turn the light off.”
- “Dim the light.” or “Dim the light to 50 %.”
- “Set the temperature to 20°C.”
With the following commands you can make settings for rooms or environments:
- “Turn on all lamps in the training facility.”
- “Turn off the Support light.”
- “Dim the light in the kitchen.”
- “Dim the light in the demo room to 50 %.”
- “Set the thermostat in the first floor to 21°C.
- “Turn on the printer in the office.”
- “Siri, prepare everything for a party.”
- “Prepare the ambience for dinner.”
- “Activate the night time mode.”
It has been presumed for a long time that a future version of the Apple TV box could take a decisive role as the control center for home automation. Nevertheless, if the platform was only controlled by a mobile device it would not be “smart” anymore when the owner leaves the house with his device.
The secure coupling of a smart terminal device via VPN to the home LAN fills this gap. Not only all devices at home or in the company can be controlled from all over the world, but also all services of the home telecommunication center can be used. When the cleaning lady rings the bell you can see her and remotely open the door.
Siri: “Open the staff entrance door.”
Teldat is aware of this challenge. We support our customers within the scope of our router portfolio, with all ALL-IP products including VPN and VoVPN solutions as well as secure voice connections via SIPS and SRTP in the area of media gateways and PBXs. Together with other manufacturers, telecommunication companies and suppliers we develop these solutions and always implement the latest version in order to offer our customers the highest performance with the best possible security.
Some countries switch off their telephone network in the near future. ALL IP is as previously mentioned one of the main buzz words. The shift to VoIP has already started and now is the right time to ask ourselves: “Do we need VoIP security?”
The concept of bring your own device BYOD is a growing trend for business IT. There are a variety of benefits allowing users to supply their own PC and mobile devices.
Employees can easily check e-mails, manage appointments via social networks and search the web. Many companies offer their own apps to allow access to corporate data, enterprise applications and enterprise infrastructure.
All IP trend
At the same time the All IP technology trend with its increasing convergence of voice and data allows VoIP Service Providers to support telephony with standard LAN devices as long as it supports the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). In this case BYOD, or bring your own device, is a service that providers offer, allowing users to configure any SIP based device.
There are also free mobile apps and with costs for iOS and Android that enable calls via Wi-Fi and 3G/4G using your VoIP provider.
So what could be more obvious than using a smart phone also as a mobile phone over the wireless LAN in the office. This way some business apps offer convenient telephony with a variety of service functions such as hold, toggling, call transfer and conference calls. Wi-Fi suitable infrastructures allow a high quality of telephony with seamless handover, over the entire wireless LAN. As a further benefit many users have realized that it is possible to have incoming and outgoing business calls at any location within a building offering a good and stable Internet connection.
Where there is light there is also shadow
Many, especially larger companies, have noticed security issues caused by BYOD. However, up to a certain point, they have found a solution thanks to security strategies, using so-called mobile device management (MDM), as well as using a comprehensive data-protection.
SMEs are less experienced in dealing with private IT. Many of the small and medium-sized enterprises don’t know yet how to handle this issue.
The use of VoIP causes particularly in the business sector further serious security problems by opening up the local network for all computers on the Internet. The result is that firewalls for SIP calls have to be opened and thus the use of Internet providers throws the door wide open to attacks from the Internet.
This is where the experience of Teldat will come into complete effect. The solutions which Teldat offer the SME segment contain not only the infrastructure to integrate BYOD devices but allow also a secure integration of telephony. The hybird systems act as local SIP proxies. Hence, SIP apps can connect locally to the hybird systems without any risk. The hybird systems act as a session border controller and connect to the VoIP provider. BYOD devices can make phone calls using their SIP provider without being accessible for the provider or from the Internet .
If you use for example a smart phone outside the company, the key issue for mobile freedom is VoVPN, Voice over Virtual Private Network. The BYOD device establishes via an online Internet connection a secure connection to the office. In our example, the smart phone with VPN and all safety standards carries out all functions as if it were registered on the wireless LAN of the office. Furthermore, the telephone app acts as a normal extension. Outgoing calls display the central phone number of the office.
All of a sudden, the office has become a very complicated place with a lot of electronic devices that need to be configured, maintained, powered, secured, actualized, and wired (or maybe not, because they are part of a WLAN network). Even though most of the manufacturers try to make their equipment as simple, as compatible and as plug and play as possible, to the one-man-for-all that has the technical responsibility in a SME, making the most of this mess can be very frustrating.
Is there any way of simplifying SME technical environments?
As far as functionality and technical requirements are concerned, data, voice, security, and management, in the area of SMEs are the main aspects that lead to a purchasing decision. From the perspective of the customer, all features and functions desired must work properly and continuously, because otherwise they lose money and time. And they usually are not in excess of any of them. Once this is the case, further factors, such as usability, deep integration into their technical environment, as well as costs in particular, play a decisive part which many forget, but they may be as important as the functional needs.
The main problem here is that all that technical functionalities are necessary, and up to now, each one requires a different device. Professional daily work including secure and fast access to the Internet and external cloud services, as well as to internal server applications within the company and its branches, is as essential as the flexible convergence of telephony and data services. We know that telephony and data services are already integrated in existing office applications and their processes of the working life in large companies. However, also small companies want to take advantage of the benefits more and more, because complex workflows can be easier and faster overcome. And their point of view is different, since they do not have a specialized department that can handle all the integration and configuration process.
In this regard, costs and effort are always issues to deal with. All points require specialists who even have to adopt a coordinated approach. The firewall should not only guarantee the secure access to all video, voice, data and fax services needed on the Internet and in subsidiaries, but it should also prevent unauthorized access to its own server. Furthermore, it is also necessary to coordinate the existing IT infrastructure, such as network wiring and different wireless technologies, for instance wireless LAN and DECT, as well as different services, so that time critical voice services and data transfer do not hinder each other. Hence, quality of service has to be set up appropriately in the LAN as well as in the WAN, in order to prevent dropouts during telephone calls or even loss of connection. The tuning of each single component presents often a major challenge. Therefore, applications and devices have to interact reliably. A complete transparency between the different systems and the possibility to identify errors are fundamental requirements for SMEs in order to maintain the solution by themselves.
To make things a bit more complicated, Green IT is a further buzzword which influences the decision-making. Green IT does not only mean to make proposals in order to save energy and costs. Worldwide regulations force manufacturers and consumers to pay more and more attention to these points. Thus, it is very important in SMEs to operate services also on virtual servers which is not always the case in the heterogeneous protocol environment of unified communications. In practice, virtual servers are already now the most important precondition for operating locally several services on one server or in the cloud in order to save electricity for computers and especially for their cooling. The number of permanent active devices on the network should be kept small, as much as possible.
Hybird devices simplify SME IT necessities
These all lead to the evidence of a strong trend to fulfill the SME market powerful demand, of highly integrated and compact systems which cover a variety of functions that are offered to the user in a simple way of alignment. Open interfaces for further integration into the environment of SMEs are already important from the first workplace on.
So the answer to the question is yes! There is a way os simplifying the SME IT necessities!
Teldat has brought the experience of several company areas together and offers a powerful compact solution with the devices of the hybrid family, which provide a professional and solid basis to fill the gap in the market with professional one device office solutions.
Please, Connect with us and ask for the Hybird Solutions. You will learn how Teldat can help you out of this problem.