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Interview with David Mandelstam

Author: Matt Riddell
Daily Asterisk News
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Q1: Could you tell us a little about the history of Sangoma?

Founded in 1984 as Sangoma Technologies, the company has earned a leadership reputation for its robust communications products based on the PC platform.

In May 2000, through a reverse takeover, Sangoma Technologies became a publicly traded company on the Toronto Venture Exchange (TSXV:STC) as Sangoma Technologies Corporation.

Our current solution set includes:

  • WANPIPER internal high performance TDM voice solutions and IP routing of data over T1, E1.
  • WANPIPER IP routing solutions over ADSL and serial links.
  • High performance and reliable communications modules for OEM projects involving ATM, Frame Relay, X.25, SS7, HDLC, BiSync and other protocols.
  • The WAN Edukit(TM) protocol teaching tool for educational institutions.
  • POS (Point-of-Sale) interface cards for security and customer loyalty applications.
Our customers include most of the world's Fortune 500 companies through to the smallest of small businesses.

Q2. Could you tell us a little about yourself?

As the founder, President and CEO of Sangoma Technologies, I am responsible for overall management of the Company. Before starting Sangoma, I ran an engineering company, and was engineering VP of an energy conservation company. I hold a B.Sc. in mechanical engineering from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, an M.Sc. in aerodynamics from the Cranfield Institute of Technology in the United Kingdom and a B.Comm. from the University of South Africa.

Q3: How long has Sangoma been looking at Asterisk support?

We started looking at Asterisk early this year, and did some experimental in-house work at that time. However, it was not until the release of our Advanced, Flexible Telecommunication (AFT) cards in May this year that we could begin to develop Asterisk interfaces with any confidence. Our current implementations interface with the zaptel and zapata drivers of the asterisk code set using correct interrupt handling via deferred procedures and simplified algorithms, particularly for T1 interfaces. Data paths are kept
separate, providing highly reliable data paths alongside TDM voice.

Q4: Which cards currently support Asterisk?

The AFT series: The A101 (single port), A102 (two port) and A104 (4 port)

Q5: What have your impressions been?

Our impressions are that for systems with pure TDM or TDM-plus-local-VoIP with no or little compression and no echo cancellation, Asterisk seems to be quite robust, with almost unlimited capabilities. We are currently exploring the boundaries of performance when echo cancellation and codex manipulation is involved. We have some quite sophisticated tools for
measuring the length of code segments and hope to soon be able to give accurate measures of what Asterisk is capable of with different hardware platforms and different mixes of heavy duty applications.

Q6: Where do you see Sangoma integration with Asterisk going in the future?

We are looking for places where we can enhance performance and reliability without any or only minor increases in equipment cost. There are things we can do in hardware at little or no cost because our AFT cards are all based on large programmable gate arrays. Our plans include a range of hardware carefully deigned to support soft PBX and IVR applications of all kinds.

Q7. Where do you see Sangoma going in the future?

We see ourselves taking advantage of the sudden acceleration in voice-data convergence that has occurred over the past year or so. We want to be the leader in such technologies where they are based on the PCI platform, particularly for the Open Source community.


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