Analog devices within Microsoft Lync

Some Departments currently utilize inexpensive cordless analog telephones.

Department 1 has requested that they keep the 3 cordless phones and the shop bell. Department 2 currently has 2 cordless phones. A service area would also like to keep their cordless phone.

I looked at 2 options for allowing wireless/cordless communications in these areas. Polycom has a product called KIRK wireless. It utilizes DECT (current cordless 2.4mhz standard) to provide wireless communications. It requires specialized equipment and a KIRK server to manage the calls and provide LYNC services (i.e presence, messaging, VoIP). A simple starter set is outside of our price range and replacement handsets are quite expensive.

The better option for us is to use the analog equipment currently in use; less startup costs and much lower cost to replace equipment. We would use the AudioCodes Equipment we have for fax connectivity to provide analog connectivity. Also we would continue to use the cordless uniden phones and shop bell already onsite.

This implementation would be fairly easy with equipment we have already purchased.

Using the AudioCodes mediapack 118 and 124 and AudioCodes Mediant 1000 gateways we will be able to provide analog services. Per Microsoft Lync server 10 unleashed : “analog devices do not register to a Lync Front End pool, the gateway provides an interface to associate each analog port with a specified Line URI.

So when setting up department 1 we would associate the port on the AudioCodes device to a URI within Lync. All calls to and from would be sent to the associated port. The AudioCodes provides power to run the same type of services that PSTN lines have in the past; allowing us to ring the shop bell — given that the shop bell is connected to the FXS port.  We would set up a response group to ring the shop bell and the other analog ports at the same time. (As an example)

For Department 1 I would suggest that we set up a splitter off of the FXS port to ring both the bell and the analog lines; The MP 118 and MP 124D both provide 100 volts off of each port. This should be enough to ring the bell.

For the Department 2 we could run both cordless phones off of one audiocodes port with a splitter. They would have the same number and ring at the same time. (This assumes that both phones are currently using the same line.)

For the service area; since they only have one phone it would be easy to associate the AudioCodes port with the needed line in Lync. Then just plug the phone in at it will be ready to go.

This is a potential solution to allow cordless communication without chewing threw capital to implement a third party offering. How would you do it?

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A new Gig! and Microsoft Lync

I started a new gig this week. I am now a part-time Network Admin for a Municipality. So far it has been great.

The big push is Microsoft Lync. I have spent alot of my time looking into Microsoft Lync and learning about Unified Communications.

We are starting site surveys next week. The goal is to move everyone off our old PBX onto Microsoft Lync.

What kinds of information do you like to gather when running user site surveys?

What is a Network?

Often I am asked what I do for work. Depending on my audience answering this question can be a little tricky.

For instance telling someone over the age of 65 that I am a Network Engineer. The person will look at me for a moment then say “well that makes sense, you are really good with people”.

Queue the bewilderment! — I never thought I was very good with people and as a Network Engineer I don’t often get much chance to interact with people. I think this answer stems from proliferation of the concept of networking for sales or a job. Which in the past decade has become a buzz word that news anchors like to throw about; like when you were 12 and your parents were trying to let you know they were hip by saying “RAD” and “Groovy”.

Those currently in the working world typically respond by asking me to fix their wireless mouse or telling me about some piece of software that is not working.

While wildly off base, this respond makes me happy. It means that the Network Engineer with their company is doing a good job.

I always say “A good network is one you don’t know is there.” People in the working world know that a Network Engineer is part of IT but they don’t understand the differences among the roles in IT.

So then, what is a Network Engineer? The key word is Network. So let’s discuss what a network is.

 A network is a group of two or more devices that share resources.

Simple, right? (and yes just two devices makes a network).

But, but, but…. that can’t be all it is. How can this be a job? (Let alone a diverse enough topic for a blog).

Understanding devices, resources, and they’re shared is what makes up my job.

Let’s dig into it.

A device is probably the easiest to define. Anything that requests resources (we will get there) is a network device.

          Stick your hand in your pocket and pull out your phone. You have in your hand a network device. Nowadays you probably have more network devices than you could imagine. There is your computer, printer, router, TV, cable or satellite converter, game console, tablet, camera, and maybe even your refrigerator. Your power and water meters are probably networked. If you have a fancy car it might also be a network device.

Really anything can be a network device. One day, we may even have networked pet bunnies. You can clean out that litter box.

Moving on to resources. (Which can be a little tricky to understand for some devices, let’s stick with the three most popular resources: the internet, printing, and files.)

    Tell me the truth, are you reading this blog on your TV, phone, or refrigerator? The internet is probably the most popular and most used network resource. My whole life is on the internet. I use dropbox to store and sync my files. I sort and collate my inspiration on pinterest. I share and update life via facebook. My primary contact method is gmail. I once had to spend 3 days without electricity and thought I would “just die” if I could not get online.

Printing and files were among the first shared network resources. Depending on how old you are the first resource you really shared was a printer with a group of green screened computers. You may even remember how awesome it was the first time you could store your documents on a server and your work mate could go onto the server and get the 854-p form instead of walking to your office and assaulting you with 15-cups-of-coffee-breath. If you don’t remember these things ask your parents; watch for random RAD and cowabunga usage.

Finally how are these resources shared?

This is by far the biggest part of my job: getting devices to share resources. There are pages and pages of rules, protocols and best practices out there. It’s my job (and really joy) to know and apply this information to . I plan to detail much of how network sharing happens here on my blog.

The easiest way to conceptualize these rules and regulations is to think of streets and highways. We have rules of the road that (I hope) we all follow: that dictate how roads should be built and guidelines for building them as well as departments that plan improvements and repairs based on analysis of traffic patterns and user reports.

This is what I do; my roads are made of copper, glass and air.

Shouting In The Wind

Howdy!

I have BIG plans for this space. It is my goal to write two in depth posts a week on the foundational topics on Data Networking. While the topics will encompass the basics of networking my explanations probably won’t be accessible for those who don’t have a background in IT.

I am always open to answering questions and will do my best to break it down in plain English. One thing you will notice in my writing is I don’t rely on jargon and like to anthropomorphize.

It is my hope that I will gain a following and won’t just be shouting in the wind.

Thanks.
Have an awesome day.