Aswath Rao has written recently about the topic of "IP Communications". In Graduating from 9 out of 9 to Applause, he writes about David Beckemeyer’s win with PhoneGnome, and then goes on to assert that the SlingBox is also an IP Communications device. And, in What is IP Communications? he expands on this theme, defining IP Communications as:
…two or more end-points exchange data having the following properties:
- An identification mechanism which can be used to authenticate users and also can be used to authorize the set of other users who can be contacted. The authorization rule can be static or dynamic (Relevance Engine anyone?); it can be application specific.
- An efficient way to overcome the NAT/FW boundaries without violating the security policies in place.
- A set of application specific data generator that is used to encode/decode the data.
I asked Aswath privately about how this differed from the general operation of the internet — TCP/IP traffic, various encoding mechanisms, and a directory. Specifically, Aswath is advocating
ICE for firewall traversal. ICE solves the problem of traversing a symmetric NAT, which neither STUN nor TURN do.
An open directory architecture — outside the walled gardens of the telecoms. This is very much in line with the Voice 2.0 vision.
I agree with his viewpoint. Ubiquitous communications networks can’t be established until a universal directory scheme exists, and the firewall problems are overcome. Application level peering also has to be present. But that’s a topic for another post.