VoIP goes Mobile

VoIP mobile phoneMobile VoIP phones are phones that allow VoIP calls by connecting directly to an IP network using technologies such as Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Two types of protocols are generally supported: cordless/DECT/PCS for short range or campus communications where all base stations are linked into the same LAN, and 3G/4G for wider area communications.

There are several methodologies that allow a mobile phone to be integrated into a VoIP network. One implementation turns the device into a standard SIP client, which then uses a data network to send and receive SIP messaging, and to send and receive RTP for the voice path. Another implementation uses a soft-switch like gateway to bridge SIP and RTP into the mobile network’s SS7 infrastructure. In this implementation, the mobile handset continues to operate as it always has (as a GSM or CDMA based device), but now it can be controlled by a SIP application server which can now provide advanced SIP-based services to it.

As the technology improves it becomes more and more evident that mobile VoIP is more than just a passing trend, it’s the future of data transmissions. It is estimated that the surge of VoIP applications will cost wireless phone companies all around the globe a combined $479 billion USD in losses through 2020. Or put in another way, at least 1 billion customers will save that combined amount of money by 2017. These figures are calculated from both national and international calling revenues, as well as text messaging revenue, all of which can be used via VoIP and messaging applications at low cost or even for free.

It’s easy to see how the mobile operator industry business model conflicts with the expectations of Internet users who are accustomed to having free access anywhere they visit, or call. That’s why most innovations in mobile VoIP is expected to come from campus or from projects like Asterisk, which in spite of being Open Source, is perfectly capable of powering IP PBX systems, VoIP gateways, conference servers and virtually any other communications app you can think of, which makes it very attractive to small and large businesses alike, and is a reality today in many call centers, carriers and even governments’ offices worldwide. Other sources where VoIP research is taking place are those corporate areas where the potential benefits are high enough to produce incentives to carry on expensive R&D, such as in medical or military applications.

Here at RackNine we’re doing a fair share of VoIP R&D, and after several years testing, developing and implementing different technologies for a wide range of companies and individuals, we have refined an innovating set of Canadian-focused mobile VoIP solutions that will allow you to make inexpensive VoIP calls from your mobile phone to virtually any Internet-connected place in the world. We currently support iPhones, Android phones BlackBerry, Windows Phones and Symbian phones. Contact Us for more details.

FoIP, the logical addition to VoIP

FoIPFoIP (Fax over Internet Protocol) is the technology that enables fax machines to communicate with each other via a packet-based network. FoIP is the logical addition to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), the technology that allows the use of a broadband Internet connection to make low-cost phone calls. With VoIP your voice is converted to data packets that are sent through the Internet and converted back to audio on the receiving end.

The same principles can be applied to faxing over the Internet, with a few major differences. Faxes are already digital, so the conversion to analog can be skipped. However at the same time, traditional fax machines are unable to interact by themselves using the IP protocol, so in order to deliver fax documents over IP networks, a new set of protocols has evolved, such as T.38 (an standard for sending FAX across IP networks in a real-time mode) or T.37 (an standard for sending FAX across IP networks in a “store and forward” mode).

Using FoIP in real-time mode a fax is transmitted via the Internet by separating the digital data that originates from the fax machine into packets for transmission, as opposed to the traditional method of converting the fax data into an analog signal that is then sent over the PSTN. Digital data requires less bandwidth than analog data, so FoIP turns out to be more efficient than analog faxing.

In theory you don’t even need to buy a new fax machine to use FoIP. By using gateways between phone lines and the Internet you could get traditional fax machines to transfer data over the Internet. But if you want to skip traditional phone lines altogether, you can use a dedicated FoIP machine that connects directly to the Internet. Apart from the advanced technical features such machines possess, the transmission is faster because it is routed entirely via broadband channels.

Among the “store and forward” methods that offer almost the same functionality are Fax to Email and Email to Fax. With this approach, fax data is transferred as an e-mail attachment using an e-mail Internet protocol such as SMTP. This method have been most commonly employed when using a computer to emulate a fax machine. When the data arrives at the other end, the e-mail client is configured to print out the pages. Not exactly what we typically understand a fax document to be but the result is just the same, if not better in terms of quality.

Another big advantage of FoIP over traditional faxing is the capability of managing and storing documents. Organizations that deliver documents using fax over IP can automatically archive the information, enabling them to become almost completely paperless and at the same time fully searchable.

All these technological advancements have produced that in recent years more and more companies have begun to adapt these types of FoIP solutions. RackNine has deployed dozens of these installations across Canada that provide our clients with the facility to have their email, fax and voice calls all within an integrated portable environment (anywhere broadband Internet access is available), while at the same time reducing costs. Compared to traditional phone lines, you can save up to 85% off your monthly bill by installing a VoIP / FoIP solution.

Configuring a FoIP server is very similar to VoIP, and in fact you could send IP faxes using an already implemented VoIP server equipped with some software modifications. Another possibility is installing from scratch a specialized server that is optimized for both VoIP and FoIP applications.

To request more information on FoIP, VoIP and related topics, please contact us through the following URL: