A Slice of TADSummit: Open Source

In this weblog we focus on the presentations given about Open Source at TADSummit Asia 2021. Without open source telecom software the programmable communications industry would not exist. The technology would still be trapped in the ivory tower of the telcos and their strategic vendors.

Open source telecom software is driving innovation across programmable communications, for example the rapid adoption of cloud computing and containerization, and advanced tools for security testing. Open source is also disrupting programmable communications, the core CPaaS functions are now open sourced through jambonz, which is available through a cloud API.

Programmable communications is on a similar trajectory to the web / internet, and is also converging with the web, not only because of WebRTC, but the many other relevant initiatives coming from the W3C.

Open Source enables you to build a telecoms infrastructure based on modern software design principles, backed by a global community. Where you control the core value creation (scripts and implementation) to be able to operate in internet-time (changes made in hours/days) versus traditional box and wire telecom-time of months/years.

Here are the presentations, and below we review them and their importance to the programmable communications industry. Click on the titles to go to the weblog for the video, slides, outline, review and Q&A.

BTW we have an Open Source Telecom Software Survey 2021 underway. The purpose of this survey is to gather your experiences and opinions in using Open Source Telecom Software, and share an anonymized aggregate result with those that compete the survey. This survey follows on from the surveys run in 2020 and 2019, with the results presented here: 2020 and 2019. Thank you for your continued support.

Introducing Cloud APIs for jambonz

Dave kicks off by referencing Dan Jenkin’s excellent TADSummit EMEA Americas 2020 presentation, “The Difference Between Your Project Succeeding or Burning To A Crisp Is Actually You.” Where Dan highlighted the importance of taking a leaf out of Element‘s book – make it extremely simple to sign up to the project’s cloud platform. And that’s just what Dave has done.

I love the frank review Dave provides on the challenges of completing this “last mile” of the project. It’s not as fun as building the core, and it has a significant opportunity cost and out of pocket expenses. This is often why commercial organizations sweep in and use a project to help create multi-tens of billions businesses with little to no kick-back to the project.

The demo Dave provides of setting up Jambonz is amazing, just watch the video. In just a few minutes he has a full CPaaS operational and running live services. Having helped many companies through this process over the years, this is revolutionary. Please join Dave’s private beta of Cloud APIs for jambonz by contacting him here. You’ll be glad you did.

Web is Communications

With one web server you can reach 4B people! The web is an amazing platform. Yes, there is the awareness issue, let’s assume your service goes viral ? Permissionless innovation is made possible, you can just do it on the web!

Security is critical, and anchoring trust in identity is a hot topic, with WebAuthn, Decentralized Identifiers, and Self Sovereign Identity. Guillaume from TeleSign also presented on the importance of the convergence of offline and online identity.

The Web Neural Network API (WebNN) will be important for many communication applications such as noise suppression, transcription, translation, and recognition.

With Web Transport, QUIC, and HTTP3 there a many new ways to optimize communications performance over the internet. One topic Dom mentioned is scalable video coding; matching coding to the screen. I worked on a European project nearly 30 years ago on SVC, back then it was broadcast and contribution quality SDTV and HDTV. Not the explosion of formats we have today.

The scope of W3C is vast, also encompassing progressive web apps, payments / monetization, and the Immersive Web (AR/VR). The Web is Communications, and any company involved in programmable communications should be part of the W3C. Check out the presentation’s Q&A if you’re not convinced.

Introduction of ASTPP – A Smart TelePhony Platform

Billing is one of those functions that catches many service providers by surprise. “We have a real-time usage dashboard, we can convert that into real-time billing easily.” Or, “we’ll do a monthly invoice based on the spreadsheet we can create for each customer’s usage.”

Soon new services, use cases, credits and discounts, product codes, and reporting appear requiring updates to the now legacy billing platform. The company starts to feel like it’s turned into a billing platform maintainer; where the biggest gate on the product roadmap is billing. It’s surprising we’ve not seen more open source billing projects like ASTPP.

Samir runs through some of the deployments of ASTPP. It’s a nice evolution of how a service provider may start with SIP trunking, then add multi-tenant IP PBX, and then interconnect as the business scales. The scale of ASTPP surprised me, it supports 13 languages, and has 11k+ deployments across 95 countries. Please check out ASTPP.

Tools for Offensive RTC security

In Sandro’s previous talk for TADSummit EMEA Americas 2020, he spoke about why it is critical to take an offensive approach when dealing with RTC security.

With this presentation he focused on their commercial offer SIPVicious PRO and the demo server to test out all the potential vulnerabilities SIPVicious can expose.

Open source projects need to find a way to put food on their table, giving away software does not do that. In the awesome RTC hacking list there are some great projects that do not get maintained because of this issue. At TADSummit we try to promote projects to a broader audience, outside the open source community.

Some projects have a big sponsor (sugar-daddy) like Asterisk with Sangoma. SIPVicious PRO provides one of a number of revenue streams (in addition to training, consulting, and offensive security testing) to help Sandro continue to support the open source SIPVicious and demo server. It’s simply up to the community to keep him balanced between the OSS and commercial sides of SIPVicious; as we see with many other open source projects that lack a sugar-daddy ?

OpenSIPS. Or How One Open Source Software Project Disrupts all Telecom Customs!

Bogdan gives a nice overview of OpenSIPS, and frankly shares the benefits of using open source software, and the barriers he experiences to its adoption in the telecoms world that are more experienced with closed software / appliances.

OpenSIPS is a fully programmable and highly scalable open source SIP infrastructure software. After you download the software and set up an instance, you use scripts to configure what you need. You can set up a complete VoIP solution across SBCs, softswitches, and virtual PBX; all through scripts.

The value with open source isn’t the SIP infrastructure software, that’s free. It’s in the knowledge to implement what you require from OpenSIPS, backed by the support of a global community of fellow OpenSIPS users, who are all testing, enhancing, fixing, and updating the software.

Many in the telecoms industry are experienced with closed source appliances: a function that does X, and interfaces to another function that does Y. Its the ‘box and wires’ approach to telecom infrastructure design from the ’90s. But it’s now all just software, containers running on a private, public, or hybrid cloud.

Open Source, and OpenSIPS in particular, enable you to build a telecoms infrastructure based on modern software design principles, backed by a global community. Where you control the core value creation (scripts and implementation) to be able to operate in internet-time (changes made in hours/days) versus traditional box and wire telecom-time of months/years. The programmable communication industry (RingCentral, 8X8, Talkdesk, Twilio) has shown its possible.