вторник, 9 октября 2007 г.

VoIP improving in quality and reliability

by Jan Harris

According to new research by Keynote Systems, the quality and reliability of VoIP is continuing to improve and the technology is catching up with traditional public telephony networks.

Technology testing firm, Keynote, made more than 125,000 calls between New York and San Francisco over a month, as part of the study.

Although the firm recorded some delay and call completion problems, two of the VoIP companies tested achieved a completion rate of over 99.5 per cent.

Keynote looked at a number of indicators, including service availability, call completion percentage and audio delay.

It tested 12 different VOIP and PacketCable phone services for their reliability, responsiveness and clarity and then compared the results with PSTN services from AT&T and Verizon.

The study only looked at VoIP over telephones, and not ’soft phone service’ through computers.

The research found that there was still a problem with audio delay in calls, with VoIP’s performance still lagging behind PSTN and PacketCable in this area.

VOIP providers had a one-way audio delay of between 150 to 250 ms, while both PSTN and PacketCable had a mean average audio delay of below 150 milliseconds.

The most common audio problems for VOIP calls were audio holdover, front clipping, other kinds of clipping, and hum.

PacketCable performed the best in terms of audio problems in nearly all indicators.

Overall, the findings show that VoIP is improving but there is still room for improvement in terms of quality of calls.

четверг, 4 октября 2007 г.

VoIP will make money, not save it

There are two problems with the hype around IP telephony.

First, it probably will not save users as much as they would end up spending on extra hardware to maintain call quality ­the promise of savings is a red herring.

But there is a bigger problem in that most people punting IP telephony completely miss the point about its real value. They are stuck in a 130-year-old mindset in which telephony begins and ends with the ability of two people to talk when they are apart. Several embellishments have been added ­voicemail, caller ID, call forwarding but it is still all about talking. If all that has changed is the way the voice signal is carried, then voice over IP (VoIP) changes nothing.

But if voice is simply another data stream, then it can be mixed up and enriched with other data streams. Once that happens once phone systems are connected to financial and customer records a world of opportunities opens up. Business can start being extracted from a system that was previously just part of the furniture.

Link caller ID with other information, for example, and suddenly when customers call, their profiles pop up on screen even before the call has been answered. Everything can be seen from outstanding invoices, to what happened last time the customer called the company, to how profitable the account is.

Making well-integrated information available to the right people as soon as or even before they need it makes for better, faster customer service and happier customers.

Even better, an integrated system makes it easy to keep information up to date. Suddenly, a customer relationship management system simply is an address book and it automatically tracks every phone call, SMS or email exchanged with every customer. The customer database is always up to date and shared throughout the organisation. It can also become a rich source of information for new business creation.

That is the true value of VoIP. Forget about saving pennies on phone calls and look instead to the new business it can create.

by Brendan Peo, CRN

Sipera Answers $10M VoIP Call

by Cassimir Medford

Sipera Systems on Tuesday said it has snagged $10 million in funding to use toward expansion of its VoIP security business.

Sipera products protect businesses from an array of VoIP-borne threats, including voice spam and toll fraud. The startup, whose funding totals $29.5 million, has managed to hook investors on the promise of VoIP despite a couple of high-profile VoIP company meltdowns.

“There is definitely some turbulence in the consumer VoIP service provider market, but there is very healthy growth in the wireless VoIP market that manifests itself in VoIP over Wi-Fi,” Sipera CEO Seshu Madhavapeddy said.

SunRocket, a well-funded provider of consumer VoIP services, recently shuttered its business, while market leader Vonage has admitted that it is considering bankruptcy after a number of legal setbacks.

Tony Seth, a general partner with Duchossois Technology Partners, the VC that led the funding round, believes that demand for VoIP security will pick up when unified communications, the integration of voice, email, and video into a single environment, becomes a reality.

“As corporate VoIP joins email and video in traversing the Internet it will become more open to attack, and enterprises and carriers will have to address the issue,” Mr. Seth said.

The VoIP market continues to splinter into multiple sectors, each with very different market dynamics and prospects.

VoIP as an alternate consumer carrier service is facing major problems, but VoIP as an application, represented by companies such as Jajah, Rebtel, Jangl, and Jaxtr, seems to have the confidence of the investment community.

In the last year Rebtel grabbed $20 million, while Truphone collected $23.4 million. Jajah took $20 million, while newcomer Ooma topped everyone with a $27 million haul, and most recently Jaxtr got $10 million.

VoIP equipment providers occupy the least turbulent sector of the market. They market gear for wireline service providers, such as carriers and cable operators, enterprises, and even wireless carriers.

But VoIP security, in part because there has not yet been an industrywide call to arms, remains a challenging market.

“Vendors have been warning businesses to get out in front of the VoIP security problem for some time, but that has not yet worked because there has not been some pivotal event that gets everyone’s attention,” said Will Stofega, an analyst with IDC.

And Yankee Group analyst Zeus Kerravala believes the VoIP security market will find traction when businesses truly embrace the Internet for their critical voice traffic.

“VoIP security will become important when business-to-business VoIP takes off,” Mr. Kerravala said. “What you see now is intracompany VoIP, so the concerns revolve around availability, not critical things like stealing VoIP calls.”