Feeds

VoIP suffers identity crisis

Enterprise network or PC application?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

No fall-back

You don't have anyone you can call if Skype doesn't work, apart from the handful of guys that work at Skype. With an enterprise VoIP set-up you can have someone look at your routers, do an examination of your network, check for incompatibilities between your SIP (session initiation protocol) clients, and your firewall or NAT server.

Your Softswitch, a server which acts like a VoIP PBX, might need configuring and you may have interference from outside your network and perhaps the policy on your session boarder controller, a multi Gigabits per second device, might need adjustment.

The corporate version of voice over IP, and all the digital additions to telephony that can be added around VoIP, is indeed complex. It needs to be secure from attack. For instance what's the difference between an unsolicited email, and a phone call? And yet not only do you want an unsolicited phone call from a new prospect to get into the network, you want it treated with priority.

But how does your network know that a voice call on VoIP doesn't contain a virus if it bypasses the firewall, hence the border controllers that are becoming fashionable from companies like Nortel, but also Netrake, ACME, 3Com, Sonus and a host of others that are all members of the SIP way of doing things in the corporate world. And similarly how do you bridge in and out of an enterprise that still has legacy telephony systems side by side with new VoIP systems, and here more gateways are needed.

Zennstrom says he has the answer, don't use SIP at all, "Because it is a badly written protocol and it just doesn't work." Well that's a bit strong given that the entire VoIP industry has been built around it. What Zennstrom really means is that SIP doesn't work first time on every network and has trouble traversing firewalls and especially NAT servers.

In other words someone that understands networks has to make sure that your network is set up to recognise and receive VoIP packets and route them appropriately. And that, for the most part, includes more expensive, specialised hardware.

In fact this is really part of the Nortel message to operators everywhere, replace declining voice revenues, and those being lost to wireless telephony by offering managed and hosted services. Day says he has seen ARPU (average revenue per user) figures as high as $300 to $600, and on this basis the systems that he was pushing show a payback in under 18 months. Effectively he sees his role as helping to stop the operators go out of business.

The revenue pie

Zennstrom sees the situation differently. In the end he believes that pure voice will only be around a $10bn slice at the top of the revenue pie. The rest will be data, but included in that is voice data.

The interesting thing about the VON community was that Zennstrom's Skype, in the 10 short months that it has been in existence, has made it onto virtually every set of slides that were presented at the event. Skype was always in the corner, at the bottom, described as low end and not doing very much.

The next most frequent thing mentioned at the show was the Yahoo! Broadband service in Japan, where it has amassed 4 million VoIP subscribers across the broadband lines it sells there. An Alcatel spokesman described how Yahoo! employed people to give away home gateways for nothing, outside underground train stations. But no-one from Yahoo! was present to explain just what the economic model for it was.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Next page: Project Bluephone

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
VVOL update: Are any vendors NOT leaping into bed with VMware?
It's not yet been released but everyone thinks it's the dog's danglies
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.