Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Pingtel open source VoIP attacks Europe

By Ben King


Open source VoIP has been touted as bigger than Linux, and the competition is hotting up in Europe as one of the US pioneers crosses the Atlantic.
The normally sleepy world of office telephony hardware, the private branch exchange (PBX) systems which put you on hold and transfer you to people’s secretaries, has already been shaken up by the arrival of voice over IP.

VoIP has allowed a few new players such as Cisco to join Nortel, Siemens, Alcatel and the rest of the club of companies which supply proprietary PBX hardware at high margins.
Recently, however, open source platforms are emerging which allow organisations to use a cheap off-the-shelf server to do exactly what a PBX would have done, and in many cases more, at a fraction of the cost.
In March The Reg spoke to Mark Spencer, originator of the best-established open source PBX platform, Asterisk.
Now Pingtel, sponsor of another major open source VoIP initiative, SIPfoundry, is making its debut in Europe. Pingtel is a commercial company which packages and sells products based on code from the SIPfoundry open source community.
“Pingtel contributed a lot of code to SIPfoundry but our business model is very similar to that of Red Hat or SuSE/Novell,” says Bill Rich, CEO of Pingtel. “We take the code that is on the SIPfoundry and make it acceptable to enterprise customers, with support, usability, and reliability, and the features that make it possible for the enterprise customers to use it.”
SIPfoundry was founded fourteen months ago through an amalgamation of code from Pingtel, and the ReSIProcate community. Some members of the Vovida community also joined.

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