Interoperability, the next challenge for VoIP

November 16, 2010

At the recent VoIP Conference and Expo, hosted by the Illinois Institute of Technology’s School of Applied Technology, the talk centered on the need to make different platforms able to communicate. The amount of IP traffic on the core backbone is growing steadily, and during the next three to five years, there will be a major shift in traffic growth due to the popularity of handheld devices and smart phones. Experts predict there will be at least three major operating systems surviving and interoperability between them and the rest of the network world must be made a priority.

The Conference this year reflected that set of priorities, with major topics including:

  1. Voice over IP over Anything – VoIP services delivered over multiple network types – Cellular, 3G/4G/NGN, Cable, Ethernet, WiFi, WiMAX – the architectures and logic enabling the convergence and the associated security and quality issues
  2. Voice over HTTP over IP – Voice over Web – Web-based VoIP service creation – enabling web developers to incorporate real-time voice and video features in a consistent, stable and secure manner
  3. Voices from Beyond the Internet – Everything that can be brought onto IP networks via a gateway – information carried in VHF, UHF, PSTN trunks; Sensor data – Use VoIP and HTTP as bridging and backbone technologies that enable the inter-operation of all types of radios, sensor and telecommunications services.

Other areas of interest also explored the following fields:

  • Unified Communications
  • Cloud Telephony
  • VoIP in the Browser
  • Voice and Video Over Converged Networks
  • VoIP Architectures – IMS, P2P, SIP Trunks, SBC, SoftSwitch
  • VoIP – Relationship to Network Protocols and Architectures – IPV6, LTE, 4G
  • Call Control Options – Centralized vs Decentralized
  • Converged Applications – Converged Architectures
  • E911 and N11 Services on Future Generation Networks

The VoIP industry is fully aware of the fact that the network of tomorrow will be less about individual products and more about the integrated user experience. While voice and data channels are separate in a CDMA system, the move to LTE will help because that technology creates a pure VoIP solution. Mike Paradise, assistant vice president at AT&T Network Operations, and one of the Keynote Speakers at the Conference rematrked that,

“We’ve got to get to the point where services are designed to work together with a more intuitive customer experience,” he said, although the imbedded base of traditional TDM is “not going away soon. VoIP is the key to an integrated networking vision.”

A huge range of devices and applications will emerge if the Web model and the cloud-computing environment integrate with SIP. As industry consultant Henry Sinnreich noted,

“Web developers hold the keys to the golden gate, which are the apps. That is what consumers buy. All these Web apps are mute. They have no voice. SIP has one single application: voice. To bring these two together, you have to try to integrate them in some fashion.”

While is clear that the goal should be to bridge the two worlds, VoIP needs also to be attractive to web developers, and therefore it needs to function in the same fashion a web widget would, having embedding capacities and activation options on a Web page so that application developers can add voice and even video into apps.