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VoIP is everywhere

Last week I described the PSTN as simply a legacy user interface to today’s communications networks, based on the fact that most of the core network is already VoIP. The PSTN is simply the average person’s experience of an all VoIP network.    While the description of the PSTN as UI drew some comment, nobody argued that the core was anything but VoIP.

This morning I draw your attention to two more facts to back the assertion that VoIP is everywhere, even if not widely visible.

Tomorrow XConnect will announce their growth from last year – near doubling of revenue, 81 percent growth in IP traffic, a 108 percent rise in routing queries on its ENUM registry, and 64 new interconnect customers. This from a company who’s inglorious mission is simply to connect one IP carrier to another.

In mid-January, Telegeography published research showing that Skype last year carried 54 billion international voice minutes – nearly 12% of the global international voice traffic.  That’s one company, all IP.  Skype has an innovative GUI for users, but also provides local dial phone numbers in many countries, for those who would prefer the legacy user interface — the PSTN.

The revolution continues. 

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Chris February 3, 2010, 4:26 am

    Amen, Alec. The networks have been VoIP since the 1990's. An LD minute on Skype that replaces a traditional phone call is not in any way a growth story for VoIP in terms of traffic, it just substitutes one interface for another. I like your framing in terms of endpoint interface; that puts the focus of the discussion on the product and not an underlying technology, which the majority of consumers could not care less about and is rarely defined accurately by media and analysts that get paid to know better, but don't. There seems to be some sort of embedded assumption in these reports that VoIP never existed until Skype and Vonage came along, but using your metaphor, they just delivered a new interface to it. Interestingly, incumbents are the biggest users of "VoIP", but our friends in the media and analyst firms never count them because that would invalidate their narrative that VoIP will kill the incumbents. It's actually made them much more efficient.

    "VoIP" = most abused and misrepresented acronym in the history of telecommunications.

  • Brian February 3, 2010, 5:46 am

    This is a response from the uninitiated. I know none of the jargon, but is this not a little like the "medium is the message".
    I only relate to how I interface with the technology. Much like CRM software, I won't use it until it is as easy as writing notes on scrap paper.
    I remember trying to sign up for Vonage once and giving up in frustration when trying to install the hardware.
    I know they spent millions so a monkey could do it easily but it defeated me.
    Whatever it is based on, simplicity to me is the key.

    • Alec February 3, 2010, 6:27 am

      Exactly, Brian! McCluhan's notion is that specific media have characteristics which make the experience of the "message" on that media different. To apply the analogy to communications networks, the way in which we perceive todays VoIP technology is through the lens of the experience we have previously had with the old telephone network. It's as if we told a story using video by displaying images of the words in a book, rather than through the use of actors.

  • Tony Palik February 3, 2010, 8:02 am

    I take a slightly different view. Though I agree that the notion of packetising voice has been taking place over the network for some years, I don't believe that on a macro scale we are anywhere near exploiting its benefits. I am happy to here about XConnect as I have dealt with some of their competitors but even there direct peering only covers a minority of traffic even though intra-network many operators are using a form a voice.

    One issue is the amortisation of legacy TDM gear that is still working well and the ROI isn't justified even with the OpEx benefits of IP peering rather than routing calls through a LEC.

    On the end-user side, the average person has no understanding of E.164 and its benefits. I am waiting for the day when we all have this and local presence can be achieved via SIP URI forwarding to the main E.164 entry. Rather than tarif by minutes, meter it by bandwidth allowing for the customer to pay for quality routing vs. lowest cost.

  • VoIPBazar April 5, 2010, 11:43 am

    VoIP technology has been around since many years but due to expensive internet bandwidth and lack of good quality speech codecs it has recently been possible to leverage the true benefits of VoIP technology.

    G.723 speech codec is capable of delivering crystal clear voice and it only utilizes 6 Kbps of data streem each second. That means if you have a 1 Mbps connection, you can carry more than 100 telephone lines.


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