Brough Turner Revisits QoS Or The Lack Thereof

Brough Turner has written an updated version of his classic opinion/overview of network QoS. His opinion that we’ll never have end-to-end QoS on the internet raised some eyebrows in December 2006…but he was dead right, and remains so to this day.

The updated version includes some new information about potential business opportunities for farsighted ISPs who might offer a better class of service through ensured QoS.

Not to give away the punchline, but here’s his summary:

There is no Internet QoS today, and it’s unlikely any complex QoS scheme will ever be added to the Internet as a whole. To the extent next generation networks with rich QoS are deployed, it will only be within walled gardens. But there may be opportunities for ISPs to create a simple premium service that could generate incremental revenue.

It’s a good read, not too technical and with references from good solid sources.

My own posts about small network QoS and traffic shaping have been the most popular posts since I started writing this blog. There appears to be real hunger for information about this stuff. Brough gives us a definitive overview of the subject.

Many thanks!

On Security: Intercepting VOIP Over Wifi

OK, VOIP over Wifi and VOIP via mobiles (cell phone networks) is getting a lot of attention lately, be it Skype, Truphone, Gizmo, iSkoot or whatever. Martin Sauter has a nice post about just how easy it is to capture, decode and hear VOIP call on a wifi LAN.

Is this news? No. It’s not. This has been known for some time. Like all things on networks some attention needs to be paid to matters of security. If you’re in the wild world (ie. not on your own LAN) then its difficult to be certain that the call is secure. You can use VPN technology or TLS/SRTP if your provider supports this. I look forward to TLS/SRTP support in Asterisk, which is underway and to be in v1.6.

While we’re on the topic, if you’re at all concerned about VOIP security you should be paying some attention to the Voice Over IP Security Alliance (VOIPSA) This is a great resource for voice security information.

Siemens S685IP Cordless Phone Review

s685ip-handset-171x300

Alan Lord recently posted a review of the new Siemens S685IP SIP-DECT cordless phone. These look very nice. Less expensive than the snom m3, and able to switch between one analog line and numerous VOIP providers.

I hope that these become available in the US some time soon.

snom m3 DECT Repeater Coming In June

This week I finally received a response to a query I sent to snom about the m3 system. I need a little extra range in some cases so I asked about roaming between fixed bases. They responded that they do not provide roaming support, which would add considerable complexity and cost of the system. However, they are expecting to offer a DECT repeater some time in June.

DECT repeaters are a little like Wifi range extender devices. They expand the wireless range by using a wireless peer-to-peer backhaul strategy between bases.

Given that the m3 hardware is OEM’d from RTX, a Danish company, it could well be that snom is planning to offer their DECT repeater as well.

Incidentally, the RTX Dualphone 3081 looks identical to the Polycom IP200W. Literally identical.

VOIP Enhanced Customer Service

Here’s a neat thing that’s about to happen to enhance our customer service approach at work. I work for a UK based firm. We have a small staff in the US, the core of our development and support operations being at the head office in Cambridge. So I call overseas a lot.

Sometimes our customers need to call the UK based support staff to get detailed answers to technical troubles, or initiate diagnostic processes. In many cases they simple call the UK number.

However, we’ve recently encountered a situation where a significant user (ie large investment in our systems) can’t actually call our head office because his corporate telecom policy precludes him dialing overseas from his desk. This is a serious drag, but he works for a large enough enterprise that policy cannot be changed or even questioned.

A VOIP solution to the rescue. We’re setting up a DID local to his office that brings him to a basic IVR allowing him to “press 1 for tech support”, “press 2 for….etc” where the menu options route his call to various UK or US based staff. This number will be a dedicated support hot-line for that company.

How’s that for improved customer service? A dedicated support line with toll-free global reach….all for you…Mr Customer. Such made-to-measure service offerings are just one example of using voip technology to extend the reach of your organization in new and effective ways. New applications are the key, not new technologies.

VOIP Projects On The Horizon

Now that the NAB show is over I can reclaim some of my personal life and resume a couple of projects already underway, as well as add some new ideas. Here are some highlights of things to come;

GSM Gateway

My exploration of the Portech MV-370 SIP-GSM gateway will continue. I’ve decided that this will happen in two parts. Part one is a backgrounder exploring factors that could motivate a VOIP user to consider adding wireless gateway capability, what problems they might solve and a market overview of the available devices. This part is almost ready for the publisher and will appear at www.smallnetbuilder.com.

Continue reading “VOIP Projects On The Horizon”