TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: VoIP Phone Home?

VoIP Phone Home?

fiatlux (
28 Jun 2005 11:11:12 -0700

Written by: Jason Canon
Peach ePublishing LLC

VoIP Phone Home?

The movie Extra Terrestrial (ET) coined the phrase "phone home" and
each year American's look for more cost effective ways to do just
that. The past 10 years have seen the development and growing
popularity of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies to
achieve cost savings over the traditional circuit-switched telephone
networks. The two dominate technologies used for VoIP are: (1) the
Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and (2) Peer-2-Peer (P2P). For
business and educational institutions SIP VoIP solutions have produced
substantial savings. For home voice users, however, SIP VoIP is still
value challenged.

A typical circuit-switched landline phone costs about $19.95 per month
(plus tax). The good old American landline phone should be graphically
depicted beside the word "reliable" in the dictionary. Not only does
it keep working, even when all electrical power fails, but it can even
provide you with a light to dial with. At $15 dollars per month SIP
VoIP is still value challenged due to the lack of full support for
E9-1-1 emergency services and of course the reliability issues
inherent with using a real time application over a "best effort"
network like today's Internet. Although few VoIP articles still
reference Internet Request For Comments (RFC) 3714 "IAB Concerns
Regarding Congestion Control," the technical challenges associated
with VoIP are widely known. Further, even with the recent dubious
edict by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that VoIP service
providers will provision support for E9-1-1 within 90 days, this still
leaves the reliability issues unresolved. The use of adaptive rate
CODEC's to prevent congestion collapse is a swell idea if it applies
to my neighbor's service but not my own. Using adaptive rate CODEC's
to elicit voluntary user preemption has no appeal in the modern world.
Technology is supposed to be getting better and it is clearly not
better that users receive disconnects or degraded service quality in
order to constrain network bandwidth consumption.

Quality of Service (QoS) has been the four letter word of the Internet
for a very long time. Yet, we know that real time applications such as
video and voice are a mismatch for "best effort" service models. Cost
savings are important, but not if they require users to accept
backward technology leaps. After 9/11 the United States should have
begun standardization efforts to insure that VoIP QoS levels would be
equivalent to circuit-switched networks, especially where emergency
E9-1-1 calls are concerned. The recent FCC order only requires that
E9-1-1 call center traffic be properly routed. It does nothing to
insure QoS of the connection once the call is completed.

As for SIP VoIP in the home, there is too little incentive for savvy
consumers to part with more of their hard earned communications
dollars for an industry offering that simply does not meet the needs
of the user. Until something concrete can be done to move SIP VoIP
forward, service based on P2P such as Skype seems to be the only
sensible choice on the kitchen table. Why should home users pay $15 or
more per month for less reliable communications than they already have
with their land line? Skype gives users the ability to experience
"best effort" voice over the Internet for FREE. Could this be the
reason why more than 125 million copies of Skype's P2P software has
been downloaded? And for the occasions where interconnection with the
existing circuit-switched telephone networks is required, Skype offers
a very competitive 2 cents per minute interconnection rate. With Skype
you can talk for 12 =BD hours interconnected to the phone system for
the same cost as a basic rate SIP VoIP service.

Until genuine changes are made to support SIP VoIP QoS there does not
appear to be a convincing or compelling reason today for users to
choose anything other than P2P VoIP services such as Skype to render
Internet "best effort" home phone services.

You can read the complete article and view associated graphics online

Copyright 2005 Peach ePublishing, LLC

Jason Canon has authored numerous technical research papers including:
photonic switching, gigabit networking, VoIP E9-1-1 and others. He is
an expert author for E-mail: Jason Canon at

NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at . Hundreds of new
articles daily.

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Jim Haynes: "Re: Western Union History"
Go to Previous message: Mike Riddle: "Wheelock Outdoor/Loud Noise Environment Ringer"
Next in thread: Marc Popek: "Re: VoIP Phone Home?"
May be reply: Marc Popek: "Re: VoIP Phone Home?"
May be reply: Fred Atkinson: "Re: VoIP Phone Home?"
May be reply: Marc Popek: "Re: VoIP Phone Home?"
May be reply: Fred Atkinson: "Re: VoIP Phone Home?"
May be reply: Marc Popek: "Re: VoIP Phone Home?"
May be reply: Marc Popek: "Re: VoIP Phone Home?"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page