VoIP console melds disparate protocols
Radio and telephone console vendor Avtec (www.avtecinc.com) recently launched Scout, the company’s voice over IP, or VoIP, console.
Scout is comprised of PC software elements that work together to form a distributed architecture system. There are four main components in the system: Scout console positions, Avtec’s VPGate multi-protocol gateway, VoIP-enabled end points and the user’s Ethernet network. In addition to the main system components, the console also provides system management tools, a system alarm monitor and a centralized database.
The console position consists of software that currently runs on the Windows XP Pro operating system — a Vista version will be available soon, according to the company — and a media workstation. The software provides a user interface that can be customized per console position, while the media workstation converts VoIP end point packets to audio, said Michael Ridge, Avtec’s product manager. The user can use either a mouse or a touch screen to operate the console.
The VPGate is PC software that communicates to the console’s positions on one side and radio and telephone end points on the other side. These end point devices can be open — such as Project 25 — or proprietary communication protocols, Ridge said. This gateway runs multiple protocol drivers simultaneously so the console positions can communicate to dissimilar devices. The gateway typically communicates to the Scout console positions over a local area network (LAN), but it also can communicate to end points over a wide area network (WAN) for end-to-end, or console-to-end point, VoIP connections.
“Avtec’s multi-protocol … allows the customer the flexibility to choose the type of end points that best fits their needs,” Ridge said. “Since the gateway supports a variety of protocols, such as JPS, Daniels, MAP27, and soon SIP and P25, the customer can choose the ‘best of breed’ for end point devices or mix end point devices to meet the application requirements.”
The Scout and VPGate products also support the company’s “[email protected]” architecture that lets any console in the system, when connected over a LAN or WAN, to have access to any end point or other console in the system.
“Since Scout and Avtec’s multi-protocol gateway software run on standard PCs and communicate to end point devices over existing customer networks, it’s easy to install and commission a system,” Ridge said.
Each Scout console system includes two desktop speakers and dual headset jacks. It costs from $6000 to $10,000, depending on options.