SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


John Bartlett
John Bartlett is a leading authority on real-time traffic, application performance and Quality of Service (QoS) techniques. He specializes in...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



John Bartlett | March 18, 2008 |

 
   

A Distributed PBX?

A Distributed PBX? OK, I am a bit off my usual topic. But I am also not in my office digging through test files from a clients network or patching up a router's QoS configuration. Instead I am in a nice room at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando attending the VoiceCon conference. It's just the first day but it promises to be an exciting week. My most interesting conversation today was with Norman Worthington, who is the CEO of Star2Star communications. They build a distributed PBX. Really!

OK, I am a bit off my usual topic. But I am also not in my office digging through test files from a clients network or patching up a router's QoS configuration. Instead I am in a nice room at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando attending the VoiceCon conference. It's just the first day but it promises to be an exciting week. My most interesting conversation today was with Norman Worthington, who is the CEO of Star2Star communications. They build a distributed PBX. Really!

OK, I am a bit off my usual topic. But I am also not in my office digging through test files from a clients network or patching up a router's QoS configuration. Instead I am in a nice room at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando attending the VoiceCon conference. It's just the first day but it promises to be an exciting week. My most interesting conversation today was with Norman Worthington, who is the CEO of Star2Star communications. They build a distributed PBX. Really!Star2Star has a combination of little boxes, clever software and a service to back it up. Their solution provides a distributed PBX for small to medium sized companies. Their product is most ideal for companies that have many small offices that want to be virtually integrated across the network. Each office gets a StarBox, which is a local instantiation of the PBX, that hooks up to the LAN, to the WAN connection and to a few local POTS lines for backup. The service then connects these boxes to each other and to gateway providers to provide a virtual PBX that is spread across all company sites.

The network? They use your broadband link. Of course I asked about QoS! They attach the StarBox to the WAN link, and make the data router play behind it. That way all traffic (voice and data) flow through the StarBox and they can provide the appropriate QoS as it heads out the WAN link.

To ensure the best network link quality, the StarBox watches the network and tests network paths to the gateway resources available. As calls come in or go out, the StarBox makes a call-by-call decision about which gateway provides the cleanest network path and lowest latency for the call. So call quality remains high even as the quality of the Internet comes and goes.

So think about the possibilities for the small agile business. Setting up a new office? Setting up at a trade show? Doing a week-long training session? Plug in a StarBox, connect to the service and you are in the office. Building is flooded, iced over or the roof removed by a hurricane? Take your StarBox to a hotel or Mom's big house in the country and set up the office. Running a campaign? Setting up a helpline or hotline? Need phones quickly but only for awhile? Plug it in and get started.

This architecture is like the business version of Skype. It has all the enterprise phone features you can think of like call groups, queuing, find-me/follow-me forwarding, time-based call routing, menus, workflow, etc. But it has the configuration flexibility of Skype where you plug into the network and you are online and ready to work.

This seems to me like a great combination of technologies that has used the fully connected nature of the Internet to provide a big leap forward in flexible communications that support a business environment. I will be interested to see how Star2Star and similar solutions fare in the market over the coming years.





COMMENTS



April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

April 5, 2017

Its no secret that the cloud offers significant benefits to enterprises - including cost reduction, scalability, higher efficiency, and more flexibility. If your phone system and contact center are

March 22, 2017

As today's competitive business environments push workforces into overdrive, many enterprises are seeking ways of streamlining workflows while optimizing productivity, business agility, and speed.

April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.