Wednesday, March 21, 2007

WiFi Phones Taking Hold?

Light Reading has reported that Action Technology is currently testing WiFi telephony is collaboration with Earthlink. Here’s a link to the article:

The testing is being done using Earthlinks Muni WiFi system in Anaheim, California. Here’s a quote from the Light Reading article:

"What separates our Wi-Fi phone from others is its ability to work over EarthLink's municipal Wi-Fi networks," said Steve Howe, EarthLink's senior vice president of voice. "This means that EarthLink is now bringing cheap phone calls using the Internet to the world of mobile -- a major breakthrough. We expect that many people who use cell phones today in our municipal Wi-Fi markets will want to switch to a Wi-Fi phone to take advantage of the significant cost savings." He added that EarthLink's Wi-Fi phones round-out the company's full suite of Internet voice products, which also include trueVoice, a low-cost telephone service, and DSL and Home Phone Service, which combines low-cost phone service with ultra-fast high speed Internet.

In addition to Earthlink, T-Mobile has been testing their HotSpot @ Home service in Washington State since last fall. T-Mobile bundles a router and a Samsung UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access / Voice Over IP) WiFi-enabled phone. The T-Mobile system provides both cellular and WiFi connectivity and allows the user to have a single phone that can be used in the home and while out of range of the home network. Here’s a link for more info on the T-Mobile product:

Systems that provide both cellular and WiFi connectivity in one device make a lot of sense to me because they allow the user to have a single phone with a single bill.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Vonage and Verizon

Yesterday Vonage Holdings (2.2 million customers) was ordered by a federal jury in Alexandria to pay $58 million to Verizon Communications. The jury ruled that Vonage has infringed on Verizon patents by connecting the Vonage Internet based voice network to the Verizon Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

There were actually three Verizon patents that the jury said we infringed upon by Vonage – the most significant one involves technology that links Internet voice with the PSTN. The two others involved call forwarding and wireless headsets.

In addition Verizon has asked the court to issue a permanent injunction that would stop Vonage from ever connecting to the PSTN. A permanent injunction would allow Vonage customers to only communicate with other Vonage customers using the Internet – something you can already do with many free services like Skype, Yahoo IM and Google Talk. There is a hearing scheduled for March 23 based on Verizon’s injunction request.

Last year the Supreme Court ruled to give judges in patent cases more latitude so the ruling comes as no surprise to both Vonage and Verizon. It will be interesting to see how this affects other providers offering similar domestic and long distance services.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Certification versus Training by Guest Blogger Mike Qaissaunee
You can read Mike's blog at:

Global Knowledge conducted a salary survey of 1,607 IT professionals during the fourth quarter of 2006. The survey yields some interesting results - in particular with regard to certification and training. More than 80% of the respondents hold a certification, with Microsoft certifications leading the way, followed by CompTIA. Key concerns are which certs to maintain and which to pursue - not surprising, since there are more than 850 certifications available. What's interesting about the certification results is that 41% of the certifications are more than two years old and only 12% plan on updating their certs and less than half plan on pursuing any new certifications. In contrast to certification results, 62% have attended training with the past nine months. What's even more surprising, is that only 5% attended as an employer requirement and a staggering 20% paid for the training themselves.

The report confirms what has become conventional wisdom for IT educators in the ongoing debate regarding certifications versus training. Certifications are still valued by employers, particularly for new hires and employees with little or no experience. Absent any other data, certifications serve as a strong indicator of a potential employees skills and ability to learn. As an IT professional gains experience, the pendulum starts to swing - for both the employee and the employer - from certification to training , as evidenced by the results above and the stated
number one concern for IT professionals - keeping up their skills.

2007 IT Salary and Skills Report