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VoIP, events, technology

CounterPath at ClueCon 2011

By Jim O'Brien
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 I attended Cluecon this week in Chicago. Check out the CounterPath twitter feed to review comments and photos.

I arrived on Monday morning before the show started. My original plan was to spend the day in our Chicago office, but that didn't work out since I was able to attend a training class on OpenSIPS. Bogdan and Flavio gave a class that summarized their normal OpenSIPS boot camp and newer eBootcamp classes.

There was a really good level of discussion and varied experience with the OpenSIPS platform. I'm pretty sure the good discussion was based upon everyone's real interest in the platform and their varied backgrounds. The audience was made up of a variety of companies. It was made up of primarily service providers, who were using OpenSIPS in their infrastructure, as well as a university and a call center platform provider. Interestingly there was across the board interest in a few areas; particularly new features available in the 1.7.0 release as well as scaling, performance, and media handling / SBC functions. I learned quite a bit and wanted to thank Flavio and Bogdan for the time spent.

Tuesday started the ClueCon 2011 Conference. In talking with Brian West there were about 160 people pre-registered, but there ended up being 200 attendees. Quite a bit of growth from when I last attended two years ago. Another interesting statistic was that there were 100 first time attendees.

The highlight from Tuesday morning (for me) was a presentation from John Riorden from OnSIP. John gave an overview of their multi-site / geo-redundant configuration. As many people may not know much of OnSIP's infrastructure is built on top of open source software. They currently have two separate application stacks in NY and LA that run their business. They are looking to add Miami and London as well (International intentions it would seem). In particular John drilled down nicely into the software packages and schemes they are using and talked about the implementation challenges.

Wednesday morning brought more 'not awesome' WLAN connectivity. I stayed on EVDO all day. But I didn't startup my hotspot as to not kill the room wifi. It seemed like most people have plugged in today as yesterday there were something like 50 Access Points showing up on my list and today there was just 1 or two (see graphic).

The talk by Venky from Plivo was the most interesting of the morning for me (once again, no offense to other speakers, all presentations were of high interest and quality).

Another interesting talk was given by Giovanni Maruzzelli about mod_skypopen. This is a module for FreeSWITCH that lets you place and receive calls with Skype. They can run multiple instances of the Skype client on a Linux server to get multiple channels. About to 64 clients / channels / calls on a quad core machine is possible. All the load is the Skype clients, not FreeSWITCH. Interestingly running multiple user names on one server produces lower load than running multiple clients with the same username. It appears to be stress on the Skype client in managing different instances of the same account on one machine.

James from 2600hz talked about Whistle – Whistle is built using OpenSIPS, FreeSWITCH, BigCouch, and their own Whistle pieces. The focus is on easing the deployment process to make deploying servers / components by clicking a button. They support mixed infrastructure (like FS on dedicated hardware vs. Whistle on virtual hardware). They come from the perspective that a server should be able to crash and datacenters should be able to go offline, and your apps remain in place. Users can focus on writing applications on top of the platform vs. the infrastructure.

Thursday brought a pair of interesting, and perhaps opposing, presentations from TR Missner (a good friend) and Ken Rice. TR talked about some of the mitigation, detection, and prevention measures that he has implemented with respect to dialer traffic. If you didn't know those calls play you a recorded message, or connect you with someone who only wants a moment of your time, are generically called dialer traffic. Perhaps a more common term outside telecom circles is 'Robo Calling'. Dialer traffic has a real problem for more than the annoyed receivers of these calls. Ken builds tools for companies that want to manage their campaigns (another interesting term that has nothing to do with the campaigns of our elected officials who are one source of dialer traffic). The real issue is that dialer calls are often short (people don'y answer, or answer and hang up after hearing a few seconds of a recording) and the dialer companies, thanks to Ken, are using more and more powerful equipment that can flood VoIP companies, but even of more concern local telephone networks when targeting is being done.

It's interesting introducing CounterPath to people at the conference. There are a few typical reactions:

"CounterPath. Hmm? Haven't heard of it." until I say the magic word: X-Lite. "Ohh! We use that for …."

"CounterPath? What is CounterPath doing at a open source software conference?"

"Ahh CounterPath. Why doesn't X-Lite have XYZ feature?" or "When is video coming to iPad?"

"CounterPath. I have this issue with Bria/eyeBeam/X-Lite. Can you help me take a look?"

There have been more than half a dozen people who have come up to me at breaks, lunch or other times and the conversations start with nearly the same exact words... "Someone told me you work for CounterPath; and I'm interested in…" So the interaction has been great. There were lots of inquiries about clients, roadmaps, our new Client Configuration Server and our Network Convergence Gateway.

People should consider attending ClueCon if you haven't before. It was a very energetic conference with speakers, attendees and presentations all well above what you would expect at a typical conference.

Jim O'Brien

About Jim O'Brien

Jim O’Brien is the Vice President of Server Engineering for CounterPath and directs his team in architecting, building and supporting server solutions that work closely with CounterPath softphone applications. Jim designed, launched, and supported wholesale and enterprise VoIP networks for GTE, Genuity, and Level(3). Jim joined CounterPath with the acquisition of BridgePort Networks in 2008.

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