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Packetizer News

Packetizer Now Supporting HTTPS

August 17, 2015

Perhaps long overdue, but Packetizer is making the migration to use HTTPS to secure all communications between you and our servers. While there really isn’t much in terms of confidential information shared via Packetizer, using HTTPS is nonetheless a way to help further protect your privacy.

The first move was to switch the primary web site (www.packetizer.com) to HTTPS. All URLs you might have on your sites, documentation, bookmarked, etc. will still work, as we redirect all HTTP queries to HTTPS. Even so, you might wish to update your links where it makes sense.

The next step, which we will be undertaking over the coming months, is the support of HTTPS on all of our subdomains and secondary domains. We are going to take advantage of the free certificates that will be made available via the Let’s Encrypt initiative. That’s an awesome move by the industry, just in case you have not heard about it.

If you find any broken links on the site due to the move from HTTP to HTTPS, or if you get any browser warnings, please let us know about it. Since we operate several domains running a limited number of servers, we do utilize Server Name Identification (SNI). Older browsers do not support that. However, if your browser is so old that it does not work today, you really need to just move to a new, secure browser.

Permalink: Packetizer Now Supporting HTTPS

IETF Publishes WebFinger Specification

September 27, 2013

WebFinger is a protocol that allows one to discover information about people or other entities on the Internet. It is possible, for example, to take one's email address (actually an "acct:" URI that looks like an email address) and discover information that that person wishes to share.

For example, a user might share an avatar, various means to contact them, or even their Bitcoin address to receive money.

The specification was published today by the IETF as RFC 7033, after several years of effort by a large number of interested people.

You can learn more about WebFinger here.

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Packetizer Makes an Open Source WebFinger Server Available

March 29, 2013

WebFinger is a new Internet protocol that allows people to find information about people and things on the Internet. For example, suppose you receive an email from somebody and would like to return a call to the person, but do not have the person in your contact list. If the person publishes his phone number via WebFinger, then your email client can quickly discover the phone number and provide it to you as a contact option. A person can publish nearly anything via WebFinger, including contact information, blog locations, social network identifiers, avatars, or nearly anything else.

Technically, one does not actually publish information within the WebFinger protocol itself. Rather, one publishes this information somewhere else on the Internet; WebFinger just points to that information. WebFinger essentially returns a set of links of a various types. Clients looking for particular information, such as a picture or phone number, would make additional queries to links listed in the WebFinger response. Since each link is labeled with a clearly identifiable link relation type, the client can quickly find exactly what information it is seeking.

WebFinger can simplify interaction with social networking sites, blogs, or other web sites wherein you might normally have an account and log in. When you visit a web site, you can simply provide your account identifier (e.g., your email address). The web site you are visiting can then query information about you, perhaps displaying the name and avatar you published via WebFinger. If the site allows you to post information about yourself, it might allow you to log into the site and WebFinger can help facilitate a seamless login experience using technologies like OpenID Connect.

Packetizer created an open source implementation of a WebFinger server that you are free to download and use on your web site. There are actually several WebFinger server and client implementations already available from various developers.

Permalink: Packetizer Makes an Open Source WebFinger Server Available

Introducing Pug, The Cloud File Archiver

January 4, 2013

Pug is automated backup software designed for use on Linux that allows one to copy files on a server to cloud storage, compressing and encrypting each file individually before uploading.

Unlike other backup solutions that require use of external physical storage and backing up the same data over and over again, Pug works incrementally. As new files are created or as files change, Pug pushes them into the cloud. Only new or changed files are backed up and every version (or as many versions as you specify) is maintained in the cloud, any one of which may be immediately accessed. Further, Pug is smart enough to recognize that two files are identical and only archives a single copy of a file in cloud storage, thus reducing storage costs.

Pug uses Amazon S3 for cloud storage, through the software is designed so that changes can easily be made to support other cloud storage services.

To learn more about Pug, visit the Pug home page!

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Packetizer Enables DNSSEC

August 17, 2012

People are well aware of the fact that there are many security vulnerabilities on the Internet. Perhaps one of the biggest that has largely gone unaddressed is security for the Domain Name System (DNS) that is used on the Internet to, among other things, map names to IP addresses and to identify mail servers. Virtually every domain on the Internet today is insecure in this respect. An attacker in a position to respond to DNS queries and provide bogus replies can intercept confidential corporate email messages, direct people to phishing sites, etc.

The DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) were defined to address this serious vulnerability on the Internet. The extensions are documented in RFC 4033, RFC 4034, and RFC 4035. They have been around for years now, but only recently has the Internet community taken forward steps to enable DNSSEC.

A number of registrars now support DNSSEC, including Packetizer’s registrar. So, we decided to enable DNSSEC. At the moment, there are really very few domains that are protected with DNSSEC, but the number of sites is expected to increase significantly in the next year or two.

Interested in setting up DNSSEC on your own site? Here’s a brief “how to”.

Permalink: Packetizer Enables DNSSEC

Announcing Packetizer Open Community Specifications

October 16, 2011

Packetizer is pleased to announce the creation of a set of specifications referred to as the Packetizer Open Community Specifications (POCS). These specifications are intended to document new protocols or extensions to existing protocols that are created by the public at large.

The first specification published (POCS-1) is titled “Using OPTIONS to Query for Operational Status in the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)” and is a document the authors tried to publish through the IETF. It failed to gain traction, not because equipment manufacturers are not implementing the procedures (they are, actually), but because trying to get consensus in the IETF is sometimes like herding a bunch of cats. Rather than expending significant effort trying to jump through hurdles, the authors decided to publish the specification so there is a permanent record, but outside the IETF.

The second document published (POCS-2) is titled “Transmission of a Session Capacity Estimate (SCE) to Prevent Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Server Overload” and represents a valid and proven approach to preventing overload of SIP entities, particularly devices like Session Border Controllers. In this case, the IETF opted to limit the scope of their work such that SBCs and similar devices could not benefit from the defined overload mechanism. Specifically, the scope of the work in the IETF was on stateless entities like stateless SIP proxies. In the real world, there are many SBCs and a better approach is needed.

Packetizer would like to extend an invitation to the Packetizer community to publish new and different specifications as POCS documents. The type of documents that would be accepted include anything that might be of interest to the Packetizer community, including extensions to existing communication protocols, new web protocols, protocols for cloud computing support, etc.

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Electronic Meetings to Progress AMS to Resume

September 30, 2010

Earlier this year, work on AMS, the ITU-T’s next-generation multimedia communication system, was conducted through electronic meetings held twice each month. As the SG16 meeting at the end of July 2010 approached, the meetings were suspended. It is now time to resume those meetings and a meeting schedule has been posted to the Packetizer Calendar page.

The electronic meetings are open to all who are interested in helping to progress the work on the revolutionary new multimedia system. Part of the time during the first meeting, to be held October 5, 2010, will be spent bringing participants up to speed on the work done so far, what work is currently being actively studied, and what needs to be done. Subsequent meetings will consider contributions submitted by participants as they are submitted.

If you have any questions or wish to engage, visit the site www.h325.com for more information, including subscription information to the mailing list.

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Understanding and Troubleshooting Videoconferencing Networks - UW Course

August 31, 2010

The University of Wisconsin-Madison will offer its very popular course Understanding and Troubleshooting Videoconferencing Networks on November 2-3, 2010. The course will be held on the University campus in Madison, WI and will also be available via live videoconferencing.

By attending this course, you will master the H.323 standard and embedded protocols and then extend this understanding to SIP based and proprietary systems. Topics include:

• H.323 standard: components and functions
• Call signal processing and audio/video data flow
• QOS: options, implementation issues
• How ITU H.323 relates to IETF SIP and MGCP/Megaco
• Options for handling firewalls in the network
• Addressing and directory services
• Performance characteristics of various audio and video codecs
• Network security and other advanced features
• High definition videoconferencing options and content display
• Troubleshooting and analysis tools and techniques
• Understanding audio and video compression technology

Your course instructor, Gary Thom, is President of Delta Information Systems, a recognized expert in the field of videoconferencing, and the author of versions 1 & 2 of the H.323 standard.

Reserve your space today!
Call toll-free 1-800-462-0876
Or online at http://epdweb.engr.wisc.edu/courseL800

Permalink: Understanding and Troubleshooting Videoconferencing Networks - UW Course

Symantec is Blocking Ericsson and Others

May 10, 2010

We have reported several times about our email server being blocked by spam-fighting organizations. While most organizations are quick to respond, some refuse to address the issue and others refuse to even talk to us about the issue. What's most frustrating is that our mail server does not send spam.

We are still blocked by SORBS, who told us without hesitation that, until Amazon pays them money, they're not going to unblock our address. The way they phrased their demands, it sounded like extortion to us. Apparently, they block all Amazon IP addresses and, since our mail server operates in the Amazon EC2 cloud, customers of SORBS are unable to participate on mailing lists we operate on Packetizer, specifically lists.packetizer.com.

More recently, Symantec has become a problem. Sadly, this is an organization that we could generally consider more reputable than others. Unfortunately, the company decided to block our mail server by assigning it a 'bad' reputation. This has affected Ericsson and perhaps other companies that would normally participate in ITU-T SG16 activities.

We tried contacting Symantec and they told us that they will not correct the problem, since we are not their customer. We've tried to explain that their customers are entirely unaware of the fact that they are being blocked, but they did not care. We alerted Ericsson once we became aware of this issue, but we do not have any way of knowing if other companies are blocked due to use of Symantec's Brightmail or other spam blocking services or products offered by Symantec.

If you attempt to join a mailing list on Packetizer and never get a response indicating that you successfully joined and your company uses Symantec products or services, then Symantec may be to blame.

Permalink: Symantec is Blocking Ericsson and Others

OpenID Gaining Widespread Support

March 27, 2010

OpenID is a web technology that allows a user have a single user identity and password that may be used to access any number of web sites, thus removing the age-old problem of having to maintain separate login and passwords for all of the various accounts on has on the Internet.

It is now supported by many web sites, including Google, Slashdot, Blogger, Flickr, Yahoo, Orange, MySpace, WordPress, AOL, and Facebook. Some of those organizations are 'identity providers', while some are end-user sites that rely on the identity providers to allow users to gain access to site content.

We produced an OpenID identity server software package for anybody who might be interested in running their own identity server. Perhaps equally important, though, is that we also added support to Packetizer Forums so that one may use OpenID to login, post questions, or reply to questions.

We hope OpenID support proves to be a popular and valuable service to the Packetizer Community.

Permalink: OpenID Gaining Widespread Support

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