My first encounter with Cisco was at year 2000 when I had just started in a small startup as MS sys admin, the company wanted to develop some proprietary voice codec as that was not very successful they wanted to channel there knowledge to make money and VoIP calling cards was the way, in 2000 it was something very fresh and not high quality (very buggy) but the main goal was to save for the card distributers and make some money.
So why am I telling you all thins, I realized that I have never did a VoIP article although that was one of the first topics I learned and worked with Cisco products, I think I should dedicate some words to that part of my past.
May be I will start and tell you how our first setup looked like back then component wise and lets see where it takes us, so “what we had there” (small joke for all Israeli):
3640 with 4 E1 voice cards module IOS was I think 12.0 or 12.1 with voice feature set (sorry cant remember)
US Side (Hudson 60)
Nortel PBX connected to several Cisco 7200
Monitoring and Billing
Monitoring System (HPOV, yes full HPOV over Solaris version 7 or 8 )
AAA and Billing System (some home made Russian using “freeradius” for the AAA)
This is showing the very start:
Very Basic diagram of how it looked like, on the Israel Side first we where connected to the local PSTN and on the US Side we where connected to a privet PBX that was connected in Hudson 60 to many carriers, the IP Side we used first GW to GW setup very basic but as the operation grown and we needed to connect more GW’s and more Global Distributed Termination Providers the management had become less and less efficient, that where (after ~30 Different Interconnected termination points) we moved to a central call management system using a better design using Gatekeeper (until year 2004 we worked only h323) . first system we used was VoiceMaster (by sysmaster.com) I traveled to san Francisco to both learn and adapt that system to our need’s as until we came they where working only with Quintum Voice GW’s, I helped then integrate their system with Cisco Voice Gateways.
The main integration work was on adjusting the TCL scripts for the PrePaid system, we used IVR based on TCL script running in the Cisco pulling voice prompts from a tftp those where the days :-)