Here’s the back story: In late 2006, we began planning an article that would examine VoIP in the enterprise and would include reviews of IP PBXes from mainstream vendors. After a bit of brainstorming, a group of editors placed a conference call — by POTS, not VoIP — to Venezia. We were hoping he’d do the reviews.
What we didn’t know at the time was that Paul had already embarked on an open source VoIP odyssey, ripping out his phone system and replacing it with a built-from-the-ground-up, Asterisk-based network. So when we called, the IP phone rang in his studio, then bounced to his lab for several more rings, and finally routed itself to his cell phone, which he answered. We pitched our concept to him, and he countered with an even better story idea: open source VoIP for business, which — he knew firsthand — wasn’t “just for mad scientists anymore” (as we put it on this week’s cover).
That’s not to say that Paul isn’t a mad scientist. After all, this is the guy who built his own house, wired it with 1.5 miles of Cat-5 and assorted fiber, and installed a 10Gig backbone just to make sure he’d have enough bandwidth. Then there’s the Xbox he hacked to create a home-theater and music system, plus the racks and racks of gear, all wired together in bizarre ways. And of course, there’s that crazy VoIP system he rigged. After all, doesn’t everybody have a Cisco 7960 in the kitchen?
Even so, I believe Paul’s assessment of open source VoIP is accurate: The technology is mature enough to be worthy of targeted businesswide deployments. Still, it doesn’t hurt to have a mad scientist around to do the troubleshooting, just in case.
Read more about networking in InfoWorld's Networking Channel.