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Voice in the wilderness?

As IP networks take on more voice traffic, the rise of IP telephony should have a profound effect on technology developments. By Jim Chalmers.

The current telecomms industry consensus is that internet protocol (IP) technology is all conquering — with voice services the ‘final frontier’ now on the verge of being breached by IP based solutions. In a practical sense, this is awkward for the carriers who must instigate this change. Voice over IP (VoIP) began life amidst a landslide of hype. Taking voice over the Internet was an idea that appealed to mavericks on ideological and economic grounds; those, such as business users, who required a given level of performance, were ultimately unimpressed.
It is no coincidence that we speak of ‘carrier grade’ telephony when assessing VoIP. While underlying VoIP technologies have matured—mostly off, but also on, the public Internet—the business case must be re-evaluated. In this respect, it has now passed two important tests:
• Voice over private IP backbones matches the performance of conventional public switched networks. Like it or not, IP in these environments is conveying a majority of the world’s voice traffic in the network backbone;
• Mpls (Multi protocol layer switching) has been accepted as the standard for delivering enhanced and reliable IP across the network, from LAN to WAN.

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Vanessa Knivett

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