A VoIP Milestone: Friday Oct 31, 2008

For quite some time I’ve had a SIP URI of one sort or another. It started with FWD, but I also have Gizmo5 and OnSIP accounts as well. I’ve made some of them public for over three years. I even published one in an article on SmallNetBuilder, which surprised the publisher a little. If you’re looking at the blog on my web site just glance to your right and you’ll find my current SIP URI.

Well Friday, while working in the yard setting up the displays for Halloween, I received a completely out-of-the-blue call from a gentleman in Romania…routed via that SIP URI. This is to my recollection the very first such call that I’ve ever received.

I was at first a little confused as the gentleman was not really trying to reach me, he was testing to see if the call would go through. It did, in fact it was forwarded to my cell phone, which I answered while in the front yard.

I hope that the next call takes a lot less time to come through. I’d like to see people using SIP URIs more and bypassing the PSTN completely. That will position us to see more of the as-yet-unrealized benefits of VoIP.

  • I wonder, sometimes, how this will turn out in the long run. There’s such a LONG history of the PSTN, and it’s so fully ingrained into our culture in many ways. I wonder if people will ever be able to move forward away from it completely — if, in my lifetime, I will ever see the PSTN become truly a thing of the past in favour of another technology. I doubt it, but the pace of technology is ever-accelerating, so I suppose it’s possible.

    I think if Apple had been able to push a SIP phone on its initial release of the iPhone, we’d have been a lot closer to that day. But AT&T is VERY firm in the US in their desire to keep non-PSTN tech out of their phones. This is why, when all of Europe was using the Nokia E61 for a SIP-empowered smart mobile, AT&T commissioned the E62 for the US, which had everything except the SIP capability. And why phones with any sort of broadband phone capability are very hard to find from major players in the US market.

    There has always been a good bit of psychology with phone numbers. Seven is that magic number that the brain can easily remember. And because of its prevalence as a paradigm that people truly understand, even we (and GP) use telephone-number-like numbers in our SIP username schemes (not to mention it makes it easier to dial from a regular phone — or even an IP phone, really, if it doesn’t have a full keyboard).

    I would be eager to see a move away from the PSTN if for nothing else than the number of purely wrong numbers I get. Owning, as I do, IdeasIN numbers in various countries in which I do business (and because family is in Japan and Canada, as well as coworkers in other countries), the number of wrong number phone calls I get is somewhat staggering. All hours of the day or night. I’ve learned to love the Do Not Disturb functionality of the service.

  • I hope that the paradigm of email addresses eventually becomes as entrenched in our cultural psyche, and becomes the path to more commonplace use of SIP URIs. Even number@domain.tld is a step in the right direction.

    When this is commonplace is anyone’s guess. But I certainly expect the ILECs to fight it every step of the way. We can’t let them be the defining element of the equation. If we always let incumbents define the world we’d still be driving cars without seat belts, daytime running lights, or anti-lock brakes.