Toronto-based Sangoma Technologies Corp. has recently made two key announcements, introducing version 2.0 of its NetBorder Express VoIP Gateway Card, and more recently, announcing a partnership with PrettyMay to support the PrettyMay Skype PBX Gateway solution.
Serge Forest, Sangoma’s vice president of marketing, says the company began targeting the voice market back in 2002 in response to a request from Asterisk creator Mark Spencer. “At the time, nobody believed that anybody would run their PBX in software on a PC with PC cards, but that’s exactly what happened,” he says. “So Sangoma was one of the first, and is still the largest independent PC card supplier for Asterisk and a number of open source projects out there.”
Version 2.0 of the company’s NetBorder Express VoIP Gateway Card includes a Web interface to facilitate installation, configuration, and SIP-to-TDM gateway management—and adds support for analog as well as digital phones. “It’s really well suited for the PBX market, because we now cover the full range of analog and digital protocols,” Forest says.
The point, Forest says, is that there’s still a strong demand for analog support. “There’s still a lot of places out there that require connectivity to the central office with regular telephony lines, and all the IP connectivity is done inside the network,” he says. “Some of our distributors offer SIP trunking to their channel partners, but they always recommend a local gateway device for backup, a couple of analog lines or equivalent for PSTN failover. So legacy connectivity is still out there… and we’re bridging the gap: we’re connecting those VoIP-based applications with the traditional networks and legacy equipment.”
And the NetBorder Express Web interface, Forest says, is designed to make PBX deployment as simple as possible. “Until NetBorder Express, if you had a Windows-based, SIP-based PBX to deploy… you’d have to ship two boxes, one for your PBX, one for your gateway, you’d have to assign IP addresses to both, and you’d have to configure one box to talk to the other,” he says. “With NetBorder Express, everything can reside on one single server… and everything can be pre-configured using our wizard.”
Forest says the company will continue to invest heavily in the Express product line on an ongoing basis. “We feel we’re in an extremely good position to enable the market in general to move to a software-based approach and use low-cost interface cards on the PC,” he says. “We think it’s a great model, it’s been validated in the open source world, and now you’ll see more and more big brand names using that model—and we are in a great position to enable those folks.”
A number of different IP PBX providers use the NetBorder Express product, including 3CX, pbxnsip, and Dialexia. “Those are all Windows-based PBX systems that are working with NetBorder Express as a low cost, inside-the-server alternative for their gateway systems,” Forest says.
And many other companies, including Fonality and Elastix, use other Sangoma hardware. “We’re also now seeing some new PBX and gateway technologies based on Skype, and they’re starting to adopt Sangoma for the connection back to the legacy networks as well,” Forest says.
In February of this year, Sangoma announced a partnership with IndustryDynamics to support the company’s VoiceGear Skype gateway products. “They use Sangoma cards to connect to legacy PBXes… so people can use their own office communications systems and just use SkypeOut as a way to reduce their long distance charges,” Forest says.
And today, Sangoma announced a similar partnership with the Chinese company PrettyMay to support the company’s new PrettyMay Skype PBX Gateway solution, which is powered by Sangoma’s A200 and B600 series analog cards. “They have a gateway that enables other people’s PBXs—and they also have PBX features for people who want to use it as a standalone communication system,” Forest says. “So they can be all Skype, and use our cards for analog connectivity to the central office for those lines that need it.”
Ultimately, Forest says, this is all part of Skype’s ongoing growth in the enterprise. “These solutions make Skype a unified part of your communications infrastructure, so there’s no difference between using your Skype contact and another contact—you dial them the same way… and you have one set of reports,” he says. “This is the next step of using Skype, not only as a tool that’s separate on your desktop, but really as part of your communications infrastructure.”