ADT Opposes Legislation Targeting TDM-to-IP Transition

AT&T’s plans for TDM-to-IP transition trials are clashing with efforts to de-regulate telecom – an initiative the company also has been championing.

Consumer advocates and ADT, one of the nation’s largest alarm companies, are asking Kentucky lawmakers to delay passing a telecom deregulation bill until the TDM-to-IP transition trials, to be overseen by the FCC, are completed, reports Public News Service. According to an AT&T proposal, TDM-to-IP transition trials would begin in late 2014 or early 2015 and run into 2017.

The Kentucky bill would allow major phone companies to stop providing landline service in parts of the state, Public News Service reports. If the bill were to pass, consumers would have to rely on VoIP over a broadband connection or a cellular service.

And if that were to occur, “there is some likelihood that alarm systems and/or medical alert systems may not be able to send signals to ADT’s monitoring centers,” ADT Vice President of Industry Relations Steve Shapiro told Public News Service.

TDM-to-IP transition trials aim to determine the best way for telephone companies to phase out traditional voice service and other services that rely on traditional telecom networks based on TDM. AT&T has proposed trials for suburban Miami and for rural Carbon Hill, Ala.

Some states have laws preventing phone companies from discontinuing traditional voice services, however. To address this, AT&T has been pushing for bills throughout its local service area that would end that requirement. The company has succeeded in getting such legislation passed in several states.

Vocal IP Networx Adds VoIP Telecom Fraud Protection with TransNexus Solutions

TransNexus, top developer of VoIP network management software, today announced that Vocal IP Networx, home to the industry’s most productive hosted phone system, has chosen the TransNexus SDReporter solution to provide telecom fraud detection to complement their BroadWorks based network.

In 2013, as the threat of telecom fraud was increasing throughout the industry, Vocal IP Networx began searching for a more robust fraud control solution that would proactively protect its customers and its network. “We needed a solution that would integrate with our existing BroadWorks softswitch” said Eugene Gutman, COO at Vocal IP Networx. “When we found SDReporter from TransNexus, we were able to download the evaluation software from the TransNexus website and quickly had it up and running.”

SDReporter is the complete Telecom Fraud Detection and Call Detail Record (CDR) reporting and analysis solution for BroadWorks. Designed to be simple and efficient, SDReporter is easy to install and provides comprehensive telecom fraud and call completion reports and alarms.

SDReporter integrates with Vocal IP Networx’s existing BroadWorks platform by collecting and analyzing BroadWorks call detail records (CDRs). When suspicious traffic triggers a fraud alert, SDReporter can send an Open Communications Interface -Provisioning (OCI-P) command to the BroadWorks switch to block the calls from a specific Groupid or Userid, or divert them to customer service. An E-mail and/or Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) alert is sent to the Network Operations Center (NOC) with the details of the fraud trigger. The NOC can view the details of the alert from the SDReporter web interface and unblock the calls if needed with one click.

According to Mr. Gutman, “SDReporter is easy to use and has been very effective identifying fraudulent calls. SDReporter is a great value and the support has been excellent.”

TransNexus to exhibit at ITEXPO in Las Vegas

ITEXPO Las Vegas 2014TransNexus, top developer of VoIP network management software, announced today that it will be showcasing its new telecom fraud detection features at ITEXPO Las Vegas, to be held August 11-14, 2014, at The Rio in Las Vegas, NV. ITEXPO is the world’s leading business technology tradeshow, and will converge education, innovation and networking across the entire community of IT professionals and thought leaders. Meet TransNexus at ITEXPO Las Vegas at booth #417 to learn more about TransNexus’s strategy for detecting and stopping telecom fraud events.

At ITEXPO in Las Vegas, executives, technology buyers, sellers, resellers and manufacturers from companies of all sizes and industries will assemble to forge new business partnerships, collaborate and learn together and from one another. Dozens of conferences sessions, keynotes and panels will be focused on helping attendees move their businesses forward.

“We’re very excited to be a part of another ITEXPO,” said Jim Dalton, president of TransNexus. “This conference is a wonderful opportunity to take the pulse of the internet telephony industry. This year we are very excited to be introducing our innovative telecom fraud detection features for NexOSS and SDReporter. ”

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If you have already made plans to attend ITEXPO, we would love to see you. Please click here to request a meeting with a TransNexus representative.

Rural Call Completion Order Affects Industry

The latest issue to face the telecom industry is the rural call completion order the FCC released last year. The FCC initiated the rural call completion order to address concerns such as attempts not reaching the called party, unusually long delays in call setup and poor quality once connected.

To address the concerns, the order requires covered carriers to capture, store, and report specific call-completion data points for the purpose of calculating call answer rates and network effectiveness ratios (NER).

This data must be reported by jurisdiction, aggregated based on whether the area is served by rural LECs. Carriers are required to submit this information quarterly to the FCC and to retain call details for each rural-destined call for six months.

These requirements apply to all facilities-based long-distance providers that make initial route choice and that have 100,000 or more total domestic retail subscriber lines aggregated over all of the providers’ affiliates, including LECs, IXCs, CMRS providers and VoIP providers.

Additionally, there is no sunset date set for the reporting requirements. The FCC indicated that it will reevaluate the order after three years.

VoIP Telecom Fraud Threats Increase in 2014: How to Fight Back and Protect Your Network

According to the Federal Trade Commission, telecom fraud accounted for 34% of fraud complaints in 2012, up from 20% in 2010. These numbers continue to grow, as new technology has led to an onslaught of new telecom fraud tactics. The latest schemes are difficult to tract and investigate because of their frequency, their layers of anonymity, and their global nature.

Cisco’s 2014 Annual Security Report points to these new tactics, along with a worldwide shortage of skilled security professionals, as a proof that that the threat of telecom fraud has reached its highest level since 2000. Simple attacks that caused containable damage have given way to organized cybercrime operations that are sophisticated, well-funded, and capable of significant economic and reputational damage to public and private sector victims.

One of these new telecom fraud schemes is known as wangiri fraud. Wangiri, in Japanese, means “one and cut.” That is, one ring and a cut off phone call. A wangiri phone fraud scheme relies on this single ring method for a quick way to make money. A fraudster will set up a computer to dial a large number of phone numbers at random. Each rings just once, then hangs up. This leaves a number as a missed call on the recipients’ phone. Users often see the missed call and believe a legitimate call was cut off, or are simply curious as to who called, so they dial the missed number. The number turns out to be a premium rate number – anything from advertising to “free prizes” to sex services.

Another new tactic is called toll free fraud. Toll Free fraud can affect any business that uses a toll free number. In this scheme, a fraudster will typically make a profit sharing agreement with a CLEC. He will then use VoIP technology to make multiple calls to a toll free number – often that of a large corporation. The CLEC will perform a dip to the SMS 800 database, and then transfer the call to another network for termination, earning something like 1.5 cents per minute in switched originating access fees. The fraudster will then navigate the automated IVR prompts, avoiding connecting to a live operator. These calls are often left up for hours at a time and automated so multiple calls will be made at once. When large companies, like financial institutions, are targeted, they frequently don’t even notice the huge charges racked up by toll free fraud, even though they are expensive, long calls.

An annual report from Pindrop security puts the average potential loss from a telecom fraud attack in 2013 was $42,546. What is more distressing is research from the Aite Group, which found that only 23% of institutions surveyed track and quantify fraud losses. The fact is that there are solutions on the market now that can help companies not only detect, but also stop telecom fraud.

SDReporter from TransNexus is one such solution. SDReporter monitors and prevents telecom fraud. SDReporter integrates with your existing Oracle Acme Packet, BroadWorks, Cisco Call Manager, or Metaswitch platform by collecting and analyzing call detail records (CDRs). When suspicious traffic triggers a fraud alert, SDReporter can send an Open Communications Interface -Provisioning (OCI-P) command to a BroadWorks switch to block the calls or divert them to customer service. An E-mail or Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) alert is sent to the Network Operations Center (NOC) with the details of the fraud trigger. The NOC can view the details of the alert from the SDReporter web interface and unblock the calls if needed with one click.

The impact of a single fraud event can overwhelm a business, and few businesses have the expertise to harden their telephone systems to prevent telecom fraud attacks. SDReporter is that is intuitive and easy for our technicians to use to detect and stop telecom fraud.

Clouds

Prescient Worldwide: Least Cost Routing & Fraud Detection with Oracle Acme Packet and TransNexus

Prescient Worldwide is a nationwide reseller of telecommunication services. Prescient delivers an industry leading proprietary Voice over the Network (VON) infrastructure. They provide businesses and individuals with a growing suite of innovative voice and data products and services using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Prescient also offers a variety of wholesale (carrier-to-carrier or carrier-to-headend) solutions.

As part of its growth strategy, Prescient Worldwide aligned itself with some of the biggest and most respected names in the communications industry including AT&T, Level 3, Global Crossing, Earthlink, Paetec, Comcast, Ernest, and XO Communications. However, negotiating multiple carrier relationships required a solution that was capable of managing all the different pricings and routes, while ensuring that Prescient saved money – savings they could pass along to their customers.

In addition, Prescient needed a solution that could help detect and deter the growing threat of telecom fraud. Fraud can have a significant financial impact for any VoIP provider. According to a recent report, 1 in every 2,500 calls is fraudulent, and for every phone call there is a $0.57 loss. Nearly all fraudulent calling activity results from fraudsters hacking into unsuspecting business owners’ telephone systems. The business owner is completely unaware of the fraud until they receive their bill. “People are used to the way credit card fraud works,” said Mike Pratt, CTO at Prescient. “If your card gets hacked, it’s not your fault. With telecom fraud, it’s the service provider who ends up paying for the fraudulent calls coming from customer’s hacked devices.”

To combat telecom fraud and handle complicated routing, Prescient chose to implement the NexOSS platform from TransNexus. NexOSS is an Oracle Acme Packet Open Session Routing Ecosystem application which provides Least Cost Routing for inter-state, intra-state, and international calls. Least Cost Routing (LCR) of telephone calls is implemented by creating a routing table that matches telephone dial codes with a list of destination networks rank ordered by cost. NexOSS automates the process of quickly building an optimized least cost routing table which may have tens of millions of routes, more than enough to handle Prescient’s many carrier partners’ routes.

NexOSS is the only solution on the market that seamlessly integrates LCR and fraud detection. “Our NexOSS Least Cost Routing is great, but what we haven’t seen anywhere else is the integrated fraud detection. The biggest benefit to NexOSS is the ability to monitor fraud in a real time fashion,” said Pratt. NexOSS detects fraud in real time, by analyzing number portability corrected LCR routing requests. This means that NexOSS can detect and re-route or block fraudulent calls before they are connected. The fraud detection feature enables targeted call blocking without impacting legitimate calls, and provides visibility into how and when fraud attempts occur.

“With NexOSS, we can protect our customers from the costly results of telecom fraud,” said Pratt. “Before working with TransNexus, combatting telecom fraud attempts was almost a full time job for us. NexOSS helped us tighten up our network and route calls more safely and efficiently. There’s no negative to the NexOSS platform. We’re very happy with our results.”

About Prescient Worldwide
As a nationwide reseller of telecommunication services Prescient Worldwide is able to offer a wide range of products and services from a variety of carriers. Our allegiance with major carriers combined with constant training gives Prescient Worldwide a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Prescient Worldwide has partnered with some of the most respected names in the communications industry and we will continue to expand our service offerings into the future. To learn more, call 1-877-312-5564 or visit http://www.comtech21.com/ .

Bee Global Chooses TransNexus NexOSS for Intelligent Least Cost Routing

TransNexus, top developer of VoIP network management software, today announced that Bee! Global, an Over the Top (OTT) VoIP application that enables free calling between smart phones, and cheap calls to the PSTN, has chosen the TransNexus NexOSS solution to provide dynamic least cost routing. Bee services eliminate the need to pay multiple communications providers for home, business and mobile communications. Bee uses their network to help customers break down traditional distance and economic barriers and eliminate the high cost of monthly phone services. Their SIP enabled ‘any device network’ provides quality voice and data communications for residential and enterprise customers.

Bee is targeting the Hispanic market in the US. Currently, Hispanics are paying very high rates to call friends and family in Latin America, with especially high rates when calling mobile phones in countries like Mexico. Bee uses social media to radically change the distribution model, passing the savings to customers.

When Bee Global started in 2009, they needed a solution to maximize profits and quality of service for calls routed to the PSTN, allowing customers to contact family and friends in Mexico without access to VoIP. Bee chose the TransNexus NexOSS solution as their core engine for call routing, rating and reporting. NexOSS is a centralized software suite for managing VoIP networks. The applications range from call routing to telecom fraud control to VoIP Peering. Bee Global uses NexOSS to create multiple routing tables based on the needs of local operations while leveraging all the termination carriers connected to a global network. Calls may be routed based on any combination of time, day, cost, quality and geographic preference. In addition, the software supports multiple currencies for routing and rating.

“The dynamic LCR engine from TransNexus helps keep our prices competitive on the global market,” said David Stenson, President of Bee Global. “The billing reports give full visibility into profitability of our VoIP network by dial code and time of day. In addition, quality of service triggers can suspend poorly performing routes to ensure the best experience for our customers. NexOSS is at the core of our routing processes.”

“NexOSS can be central to any type of business that uses telecommunication,” said Jim Dalton, president of TransNexus. “Bee Global, as an OTT VoIP App, is just one example of the many non-traditional service providers that rely on intelligent LCR to keep costs low and comprehensive reports and triggers for detailed management of their SIP network. In the last two years, we’ve seen an explosion of innovative new companies using our platform and VoIP technology to provide clever new services. I am not talking about Robo Dialers. I am referring to companies that are completely outside of the telecommunications business. It just happens, that either inbound or outbound PSTN calls is an important component of the services they offer.”

How IP Telephony Enhances Conferencing

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a methodology and group of technologies that have been designed for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. Other terms that have been commonly associated with VoIP are IP telephony, Internet telephony, voice over broadband (VoBB), broadband telephony, IP communications and broadband phone service.

These terms are used interchangeably in most cases, but technically speaking they are not quite the same thing. Voice over IP, IP telephony and Internet telephony all refer to the channeling of voice calls and voice data through IP networks.

This allows existing facilities and resources that are already used for data transmission to be harnessed, thereby eliminating the cost of expensive line dedication as is the case with public switched telephone networks (PSTN). One of the main advantages that VoIP brings to users is considerable cost cutting.

Internet telephony has been around for quite a few years. I remember my days as an IT manager and attempting to set up an IP phone system in 1998. Unfortunately for me, it is only fairly recently that this technology has become reliable and ubiquitous enough to be a serious choice for business.

Internet telephony was once considered an oddity that was often plagued, as in my circumstances, with garbled and dropped calls. Advancements that we have seen these days show that a well-planned and implemented VoIP system can provide call quality and reliability that rivals mobile phone or landline calls. It also provides a great sense of security because the company can manage security and service quality in-house.

One business area that this technology has really made an impact in is conference calling. New devices offer crystal clear audio performance with an easy to use interface. VoIP offers more than just clear audio. Companies like Skype have shown us that we can take advantage of being able to include video in our calls. The advancements that have been made in 4G LTE technology offer greatly increased data speeds, this means that we can view video in much higher definition than ever before.

In addition to hardware advancements such as IP conference phones, we also have companies that are developing software designed to simplify conference calls. This software can do all of the work to set up conference calls by checking everyone’s schedule to automatically determine the most opportune time, send messages to everyone on the list and allow everyone to conveniently connect.

Thanks to the combination of VoIP and conferencing software, it is not even necessary to be in the office to participate in a conference call. Gone are the days of trying to schedule a call and making sure that everyone was present and gathered in one room, huddled around a speaker phone.

The recent advancements that we have seen in several areas, such as wireless technology, VoIP and software make it possible for companies of any size to have meaningful conference calls. The fact that the software will also allow you to use your computer to process the call gives the added benefit of being able to include video. This is a major factor if you need to discuss diagrams or drawings.

Using VoIP for conference calls gives a company much greater control over the entire process. The fact that the call is going through the network allows for security options to be in place, it also allows for the call to be routed to a phone or computer, thus giving more flexibility to everyone. As we see more advancements being made, we will also see more benefits.

Colorado Looking to Update Telecom Regulations for Internet Era

Colorado lawmakers are struggling to update their 1980s telecom regulations for the 21st century, according to The Colorado Statesman. State Representative Anglea Williams of Denver, a Democrat, has been meeting with various stakeholders, including state politicians and executives at major telecom companies. “I’ve been communicating with them on a daily basis as to the status of the drafts,” she told The Colorado Statesman. “I’ve asked them to have flexibility and patience as we try to work through a few more of the points of the bills so that we can get them ready for introduction.”

Williams is the chairwoman of the state’s House of Representatives Business, Labor, Economic and Workforce Development Committee. She has decided to introduce three separate bills rather than an omnibus telecom regulation law. Broadband development has emerged as a major political issue in the U.S., especially since President Barack Obama has championed it both when he campaigned as a candidate and in his State of the Union addresses. The impetus for telecommunications reform in Colorado came from the state’s own Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, who also advocated for it in his own State of the State address.

The reforms have bipartisan support, with both Republicans and Democrats working to update the state’s regulations. Some lawmakers, including Colorado Senate President John Morse, a Democrat from Colorado Springs, want more money to go into rural broadband deployment. Many rural areas lack broadband, as the deregulated telcos are free to neglect them and concentrate on more profitable urban areas.

Recent attempts to build up these rural networks in Colorado brought about congressional hearings due to “overbuild,” or building networks in areas that already had them. While telcos might balk at regulation, Morse’s ouster in a recall election has actually made them more willing to deal with legislators. Only time will tell how legislation adapts to a new world where more and more things happen over IP networks. Other states will undoubtedly be watching closely at what Colorado does.

VoIP Adoption Growing Worldwide

It’s become a cliché to say that VoIP is the future. Everything seems to be migrating to over-the-top services offered over the Internet these days; even TV is moving to OTT with services like Netflix. But a study by WhichVoIP shows exactly how much VoIP technology is growing.

“The capabilities and cost-saving advantages of VoIP over traditional telecom are driving its rapid acceptance as the new standard for voice communications,” Mike Bragg wrote for WhichVoIP. “However, unlike past technological advancements, VoIP is seeing growth not only in advanced economies or specific sectors, but on an international scale. In fact, some of the fastest growing regions are those that traditionally have had less developed infrastructures. So where is this hot industry growing the fastest, and where is it facing resistance? We have crunched the numbers to get a truly global picture of the bright future of VoIP.”

The whole VoIP market is expected to reach $82.7 billion by 2017, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.46 percent. The number of OTT subscribers grew by 550 percent in 2012 and is expected to reach one billion by the end of this year. Voice traffic worldwide grew by five percent to 490 billion minutes of talk time, with VoIP accounting for 34 percent.

In terms of worldwide adoption, the U.S. is the VoIP leader, with a 10.15 percent growth rate and the most subscribers, 32.09 million in 2012. On the other hand, the country has the lowest percentage of VoIP penetration, with only 30 percent of broadband users signing up for VoIP. Japan came in second place, with 28.92 million subscribers, and 77.5 percent of the country’s broadband subscribers signing up for VoIP. The country also has the highest number of mobile VoIP subscribers, with 68.2 percent of smartphone owners using an OTT service. France came in third with 21.19 million subscribers, but with 93.6 percent of broadband subscribers signing up for VoIP.

The survey shows that a lot of technology adoption comes from outside the U.S. On the other hand, a number of countries, including Pakistan, Brazil, Ethiopia and others limit or ban outright VoIP technology to protect their native telecom industries.