VoIP / Recently Commented

Call for Telecom Industry Wake-Up

As many of you know, I'm launching the Emerging Communications (eComm) conference -- taking place next month in Silicon Valley, at the Computer History Museum. Communications innovation has been stagnant, in my opinion, for nearly a decade. Telecommunications and Internet communications both seem to be at somewhat of an impasse. The communications industry needs a forum to help break through the stagnancy and highlight the huge opportunity space that is emerging. The stagnancy has been strikingly more so in telecommunications... more

IPv6: Do as I Say or Do as I Do?

How important is it for a vendor, service provider or integrator to be using a service or technology that it is pushing on its clients? When Voice over IP (VoIP) came out Cisco began a gigantic push, having its salespersons pitch it to anyone and everyone on their client list. But Cisco had not yet deployed VoIP within its own corporate network. It was still making use of traditional voice systems from vendors that today it probably considers competitors. Many people on the receiving end of a sales pitch recognized this... more

Up to 300 Megawatt Worth of Keepalive Messages to be Saved by IPv6?

The Time Square Ball bringing in 2008 had more than 9,500 LED bulbs displaying 16 million colours while consuming power equivalent to about ten toasters. This compares to 600 incandescent and halogen bulbs adorning last year's Ball. Easy to forget that most mobile devices used by Time Square revelers were behind IPv4 NAT's and that always on applications such as Instant Messaging, Push e-mail, VoIP or location based services tend to be electricity guzzlers. It so happens that applications that we want always to be reachable have to keep sending periodic keepalive messages to keep the NAT state active... more

Walks Like a Telco, Yalks Like a Telco… Must be a Telco

Vonage's latest woes are written up by Om Malik in Vonage: How Low Can You Go. More interesting than Om's reportage (Sprint wins case, Vonage ordered to pay damages, stock drops to $1.30) is the commentary afterward, in which one reader takes Om to task for the "gleeful" way in which he reports the demise of the VoIP companies... Boosters made the argument that VoIP was fundamentally cheaper than the TDM systems that phone companies deploy, and so therefore they enjoyed a price advantage in the market place. Anyone in the business of supplying telecom equipment, however, will tell you that the argument is flawed... more

The Third Stage of the VoIP Rocket Never Fired

Ten years ago was the dawn of Voice over IP (VoIP). The pioneering Israeli company VocalTec had just released its VoIP software for PCs (it was named iPhone, BTW). Industry guru Jeff Pulver (whom I now partner with in FWD) had begun to hold his Voice on the Net (VON) shows. As the founder of VoIP startup ITXC, I was invited to give a keynote at VON in Boston. The evolution of VoIP, I opined with the requisite PowerPoint slides, will be like a three stage rocket. I was right about the first two stages and dead wrong about the third... more

CAN SPAM Applies Even Within a Single Provider

I recently came across a copy of a ruling in the bizarre case of MySpace vs. theglobe.com. Theglobe.com was the ultimate dot.com bubble company. It started up here in Ithaca, and went public at the peak of dot.com hysteria with one of the the greatest one-day price runups ever. Since then they bought and sold a variety of busineses, none of which ever made any money, including the Voiceglo VoIP service which appears to be what the spam was promoting. more

Are We Slowly Losing Control of the Internet?

I have long been intrigued by the question of how do we turn the internet into a lifeline grade infrastructure... My hope that this will occur soon or even within decades is diminishing. Most of us observe, almost daily, how even well established infrastructures tend to crumble when stressed, even slightly... I was at the O'Reilly Etel conference last week. The content was impressive and the people there were frequently the primary actors in the creation and deployment of VOIP. However, not once during the three days did I hear a serious discussion by a speaker or in the hallways about how this evolving system would be managed, monitored, diagnosed, or repaired. more

Addressing the Future Internet

What economic and social factors are shaping our future needs and expectations for communications systems? This question was the theme of a joint National Science Foundation (NSF) and Organisation for Economic Co Operation and Development (OECD) workshop, held on the 31st January of this year. The approach taken for this workshop was to assemble a group of technologists, economists, industry, regulatory and political actors and ask each of them to consider a small set of specific questions related to a future Internet. Thankfully, this exercise was not just another search for the next "Killer App", nor a design exercise for IP version 7. It was a valuable opportunity to pause and reflect on some of the sins of omission in today's Internet and ask why, and reflect on some of the unintended consequences of the Internet and ask if they were truly unavoidable consequences... more

Network Neutrality

In January of this year, a frontpage article on WSJ quoted Verizon Chief Executive Ivan Seidenberg "We have to make sure they (Google) don't sit on our network and chew up our capacity". Both AT&T and Bellsouth also made similar statements in the same article. A few days ago, Verizon repeat their call to "End Google's Free Lunch": "A Verizon Communications Inc. executive yesterday accused Google Inc. of freeloading for gaining access to people's homes using a network of lines and cables the phone company spent billions of dollars to build." ...it is no surprise that Network Neutrality, a concept where broadband providers are not to discriminate rivals when they charge tolls or prioritize traffic, is now on the agenda of the US Congress. more

Taking Aim at 8 Myths about ENUM

ENUM has a critical role to play in telephony services convergence. Although many carriers are adopting ENUM there are myths swirling around the confuse newcomers. In data networks, the domain name system (DNS) is responsible for converting Uniform Resource Locators (URL's) to IP addresses in order to route data traffic. The ENUM protocol performs a similar essential function of linking E.164 telephone numbers to Universal Resource Identifiers (URIs) -- enabling communication services to use traditional phone numbers to set up calls over IP networks. Unfortunately, there's a good deal of hype and confusion around ENUM, which might lead carriers to delay ENUM implementations. That delay would be a mistake... more

IPv6: Extinction, Evolution or Revolution?

For some years now the general uptake of IPv6 has appeared to be "just around the corner". Yet the Internet industry has so far failed to pick up and run with this message, and it continues to be strongly reluctant to make any substantial widespread commitment to deploy IPv6. Some carriers are now making some initial moves in terms of migrating their internet infrastructure over to a dual protocol network, but for many others it's a case of still watching and waiting for what they think is the optimum time to make a move. So when should we be deploying IPv6 services? At what point will the business case for IPv6 have a positive bottom line? It's a tough question to answer, and while advice of "sometime, probably sooner than later" is certainly not wrong, it's also entirely unhelpful as well! more

Questioning “Net Neutrality”

I'm kinda foxed by the some of the discussion going on about "Net Neutrality". The internet was designed from the outset not to be content neutral. Even before there was an IP protocol there were precedence flags in the NCP packet headers. And the IP (the Internet Protocol) has always had 8 bits that are there for the sole purpose of marking the precedence and type-of-service of each packet. It has been well known since the 1970's that certain classes of traffic -- particularly voice (and yes, there was voice on the internet even during the 1970's) -- need special handling... more

Internet Governance: An Antispam Perspective

All those Internet Governance pundits who track ICANN the way paparazzi track Paris Hilton are barking up the wrong tree. They've mistaken the Department of Street Signs for the whole of the state. The real action involves words like rbldnsd, content filtering, and webs of trust. Welcome to the Internet! What's on the menu today? Spam, with some phish on the side! We've got email spam, Usenet spam, IRC spam, IM spam, Jabber spam, Web spam, blogs spam, and spam splogs. And next week we'll have some brand new VoIP spam for you. Now that we're a few years into the Cambrian explosion of messaging protocols, I'd like to present a few observations around a theme and offer some suggestions. more

A Fundamental Look at DNSSEC, Deployment, and DNS Security Extensions

In looking at the general topic of trust and the Internet, one of the more critical parts of the Internet's infrastructure that appears to be a central anchor point of trust is that of the Domain Name Service, or DNS. The mapping of "named" service points to the protocol-level address is a function that every Internet user relies upon, one way or another. The ability to corrupt the operation of the DNS is one of the more effective ways of corrupting the integrity of Internet-based applications and services. If an attacker can in some fashion alter the DNS response then a large set of attack vectors are exposed. ...The more useful question is whether it is possible to strengthen the DNS. The DNS is a query -- response application, and the critical question in terms of strengthening its function is whether it is possible to authenticate the answers provided by the DNS. DNSSEC provides an answer to this question. more

Cricket Liu Interviewed: DNS and BIND, 5th Edition

In follow-up to recent announcement on the release of the latest edition of the very popular DNS and BIND book -- often referred to as the bible of DNS -- CircleID has caught up with Cricket Liu, co-author and a world renowned authority on the Domain Name System. In this interview, Cricket Liu talks about emerging issues around DNS such as security and IPv6 support, and important new features such as internationalized domain names, ENUM (electronic numbering), and SPF (the Sender Policy Framework). "Cricket Liu: We're now seeing more frequent attacks against DNS infrastructure. ...Turns out that name servers are terrific amplifiers -- you can get an amplification factor of nearly 100x. These attacks have raised awareness of the vulnerability of Internet name servers, which is possibly the only positive result..." more