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Published on October 28th, 2014 | by David Frith

VoIPon interview Sangoma on the last 12 months, the Vega series of VoIP Gateways, Session Border Controllers and much more

Craig Herrett, Sales Manager at VoIPon Solutions catches up with Kathleen Read, Director of Marketing at Sangoma, and Simon Horton, Director of Sales at Sangoma. They discuss the past 12 months at Sangoma, the Vega Series of VoIP Gateways, the Sangoma PBXcelerate,  IP PBX security and future plans.

Craig Herrett: Broadcasting from various countries around the world using Voice over IP Technology, this is VoIP Uncovered, a VoIPon Solutions UK Podcast, I’m Craig Herrett. Today we are interviewing Sangoma Technologies and I am delighted to welcome Simon Horton, Director of Sales at Sangoma, and Kathleen Reed, Director of Marketing at Sangoma. Hi Kathleen, Hi Simon!

Kathleen Reed, Simon Horton: Hi Craig!

CH: Thanks for taking our podcast today. Can you tell the VoIPon Audience what Sangoma has been up to over the last 12 months?

KR: As some of you may know Sangoma is coming out of a period of explosive product growth. For the past 30 years, Sangoma has been moving voice and data around complicated networks, and making it all just work. As the world moves to pure IP Communications, the types of products that our customers need has changed. In the last 12 months, Sangoma has been focussing on core values, reconnecting with our customers and reinvigorating our channels. And part of that was bringing me back to run as Global Marketing.

My focus has been to deliver what our customers actually need with an eye to renewing and refreshing our channel program with all the tools our customers need to be successful, and this includes a close collaboration with our professional services team to deliver professional certification training, implementing a deal registration program which will help our empowered by Sangoma partners become more competitive. And create clear descriptions for what our channel customers and their end customers can expect when it comes to installing and configuring Sangoma products, and understanding annual maintenance for our new system level products like Session Border Controllers and a return once again to free interface card support.

We really encourage any of VoIPon’s resellers, integrators and partners selling Sangoma to become empowered by Sangoma today.

CH: That all sounded very interesting and we’ve seen the updated range of Sangoma gateways, the Sangoma Vega 100G, Vega 200G, Vega 400G. What are the advantages of these models over previous versions?

KR: As you and your listeners may know Craig, Sangoma purchased the Vega brand from Vegastream back in 2011 because we wanted to respond to our customers need for appliance based products that didn’t require a PBX software to run on premise. As part of that integration into the Sangoma product family, Sangoma re-engineered the Vega brand to Sangoma’s high standard, to deliver ‘Because it must work’ quality. The gateways are still the most fault tolerant in their class, has PSTN failover and redundancy, and as such are perfect for business continuity plans. Because once you get connected with a Sangoma Vega, you stay connected, even in the event of a single external network failure, unlike many of our competitors, internal calls can still continue. In addition, Sangoma recently received Microsoft Lync qualification for the Vega Gateway line.

CH: Quality has always been key with you guys, and we are excited that you’ve released the new Sangoma PBXcelerate, the IP PBX range. Could you tell the VoIPon audience more about these products and what they’re best used for?

KR: Ok, well Sangoma’s PBXcelerate is the fastest way to bring your PBX appliance to market. It can come preloaded and preconfigured with the IP PBX software of your choice such as Asterisk, FreeSwitch, Elastix etc, and is right size for use with Sangoma’s interface cards. There are a number of SKUs and even private label options. If the products is of interest to you and your customers Craig, I suggest that you get in touch with Sangoma and we can work together as a vendor/distributor team to help your customers bring their PBX solution to market.

CH: That sounds excellent, and I’m sure our customers will be all over a product like that.

Could you tell us why SBCs are so critical in terms of securing a VoIP network and how does Sangoma lead the way with this technology ?

KR: It’s quite simple and really quite scary if you actually think about it. No matter what your service provider may be telling you, your SIP line into your enterprise is simply not secure. SIP headers expose network topology and you need a device in addition to your firewall that hides these SIP headers so that the network topology is not exposed. Exposed network topology can provide an easy route into your network by external hackers. But even more scary, is even if your carrier is saying “I have an MPLS network and the SIP headers are already hidden”, then someone downloads something and brings another device onto your network, malicious code can still infiltrate your SIP network, run up your’s or your customer’s bill, and I can guarantee they are not going to be pleased about that, and they’ll even take down your network or expose other sensitive information. Why don’t service providers tell you this? It could be a simple, honest mistake, or it could be because they don’t want to have to charge you more, because it may not make them as competitive with an ISDN type service.

When it comes to the benefits of implementing UC, it simply cannot compare with a plain old telephone network, and you really do need your network and your customer’s network and data to be secure. The legal risks are far too high and if you read the terms and conditions with your service provider, they may try to put all that risk on you, so it’s pretty scary stuff when you think about it.

Why is Sangoma leading the way? Well our technologies have been in mission critical infrastructure for over 30 years and we’ve been bringing carrier quality technology to the enterprise. Sangoma has the experience to make our SBCs work with whatever product you have, and they are also qualified and tested against many important technologies including Microsoft Lync. Plus, we are making an enterprise SBC affordable and we can expect that it should become a staple of your corporate network, becoming just as commonplace as a firewall is today.

SH: I see the uptake of SBCs in the VoIP industry being very similar to that of firewalls when we all started connecting to the internet 15 or 20 years ago. Nobody would come along now, even in their home network and connect up to an internet connection without a firewall, and we’re beginning to see that same uptake of SBCs in the VoIP world. There are a number of good reasons as to why a firewall simply is not good enough to secure your VoIP network because it isn’t developed specifically as an SBC so it isn’t VoIP aware and there are many security weaknesses in firewalls that people can exploit, so really the SBC, the front door to that enterprise network is becoming a critical component now.

CH: We’re finding SBCs are really starting to take off, we’re really starting to sell more and more, customers are starting to talk about these. Security really is key and we’re glad we’re partnered with Sangoma to deliver high quality solutions such as these SBCs.

We’ve spoken about the Sangoma gateways. Why should VoIPon customers purchase Sangoma gateways over rival products from companies such as Digium, Patton, MediaTrix or Xorcom.

SH: There are a number of great reasons why you should choose Sangoma over our competitors. The first one I’d like to talk about is the ease of deployment and management. So all of the Sangoma Gateways share a very common web UI, there’s no need ever to log in to a command line interface and learn lots of the proprietary commands to run Sangoma gateways, it’s all via a simple web browser. There’s no applications to download onto your pc, just with firefox or chrome or any other up to date browser, you can completely deploy and manage Vega gateways. That ease of use and ease of deployment, you’ll hear me talk about that time and time again and one of the other areas where we’ve concentrated heavily on that is with our Quick Config feature. Over the 10 or 15 years we’ve been developing these gateways, they have become more and more flexible in order to deal with lots and lots of different deployment configurations. That means that the number of configuration options rose over time, and while that’s great for our expert users, what we see is that 80 or 90% of the cases, just a very simple config will do in order to connect up to service providers, so we created quick config as a skin over our web UI and now on 3 simple screens it’s very easy to get Sangoma Gateways doing it and time and again i do demos to prospective customers and i get SIP calls up and running in under 5 minutes from behind a standard PBX.  

One of the other areas we’ve been working hard on is our SNAP tool, so SNAP is a 3 or 4 page web base that sits up in the cloud and it allows for simple configuration to service providers so all of the standard config is stored up in the cloud and you just add in the SIP usernames and passwords and you come up with a file that you can download to the Vega gateway and get deployed very easily, so we’re getting towards that zero touch install nirvana that we’ve all been looking for.

And finally, as Kathleen mentioned earlier, resilience is very important to us, so how do calls persist across network failures or across failures in the gateway and we have a number of different techniques where calls can be re-routed and stay up so really the Sangoma Vega Gateways range is truly the most resilient range in its class.

CH: It’s been a very busy year at Sangoma, can we expect to see any new products launched from Sangoma this year? If so could you tell us more about them?

KR: Well certainly Craig, you can expect to see some improvements more than new products necessarily. We’re looking at bringing in some more in demand features. So look for some cool stuff to launch soon but as you are aware we are a public company and we can’t share specifically what we’re working on with the general audience. For insight into our product roadmap, your listeners should prequalify now to become an Empowered by Sangoma channel partner, or certified Application Partner at sangoma.com/join/voipon and if your business meets the criteria for joining our channel and certified application partner program, we’d be able to share some specific roadmap information as it becomes available as you would come under NDA at that time.

CH: I’d really like to thank you both for your time today and for bringing VoIPon listeners up to speed with the latest developments at Sangoma. This has been a VoIP Uncovered podcast. For more information please visit www.voipon.co.uk.

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