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09/14/2009

Voxbone's iNum Service Connects Islands of HD Voice

High-definition (HD) voice technology has a lot of benefits. It vastly improves the audio quality of voice calls. In practical terms, it makes it easier for callers to understand different accents, and reduces the fatigue resulting from constantly having to guess whether a certain sound was, for instance, an "s" or an "f". But HD voice also has one big problem: It requires end-to-end IP connections to deliver its super-clear sound.

One solution is to have the IP calls all travel over a single VoIP service or network. That's what Skype and other VoIP services do. Another is to have all calls travel over a corporate IP backbone – something that's not available to the average individual. A third is to have calls travel from one VoIP service to another. If the two services connect or "peer" directly rather than via the PSTN (public switched telephone network), it will preserve call quality. Peering exchanges like Stealth Communications' Voice Peering Fabric and XConnect exist for such purposes.

But different VoIP services often have different ways of identifying subscribers. With Skype, it's Skype user names. With others, it might be SIP (session initiation protocol) URIs (uniform resource identifiers) or something else. Voxbone's iNum service offers one possible solution to that incompatibility. It provides a single global numbering system for VoIP subscribers based on the ITU-designated country code 883. It transports calls over Voxbone's global IP backbone, and connects directly with various VoIP service providers. The providers route calls to numbers starting with +883 directly to the iNum network for delivery to iNum subscribers. A different but overlapping set of VoIP services provide iNums to their subscribers to receive calls on. Calls between the two sets of providers are by definition end-to-end IP connections.

As a result, Voxbone's upcoming announcement this week at the HD Communications Summit that the iNum network now supports HD voice should come as little surprise. The arrangement provides a simple way to ensure end-to-end voice clarity, by routing all calls through iNum. In the short term, in fact, this benefit may overshadow the ultimate goal of iNums: to allow callers from the PSTN anywhere in the world to dial the same +883 number to reach a given subscriber. At the same time, the new capability will increase the incentive for VoIP providers to connect to the iNum network, and to start issuing iNums themselves. And that will in turn bring the ultimate goal of global connectivity via iNums closer.

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Resources

  •     A selection of free documents for download to help make purchasing decisions when shopping for a business phone system.
  •      Get customized price quotes on a business phone system from top vendors.

Reports

  • Choosing the (Near-) Perfect Cloud Video Conferencing Solution
         This 7-page buyer's guide gives SMBs the information they need to choose the cloud-based video conferencing service that fits their needs. As a for-purchase download priced at $9.99, this document avoids the conflicts of interest of papers and guides that are offered for free, or sponsored by, vendors and service providers. Instead, it provides the kind of objective and authoritative information that would otherwise require assigning a staffer to spend days or weeks searching out and evaluating.

  • SMB Video Conferencing: Getting Beyond Clouds & Interoperability
         This 31-page VoIP Evolution report provides an in-depth analysis of a market that has suddenly become very competitive. It identifies and dispels some of the misconceptions that have become part of the conventional wisdom surrounding SMB video conferencing. Chief among these are unrealistic expectations regarding the cloud approach and interoperability.
         The report provides an innovative approach to analysis by illustrating that these issues are just two of many important factors that differentiate solutions from one another. The report surveys 10 Companies to Watch and compares 16 cloud solutions using a unique Differentiation Matrix that clarifies their strengths and weaknesses.

  • Voice Over LTE: More Pitfalls Than Promise for Now
        This 18-page Heavy Reading Insider report, written by Robert Poe, analyzes the prospects for delivery of voice calls over cellular networks using LTE (long-term evolution) 4G wireless technology. Operators are originally looking to use LTE mainly for mobile data services, since a number of technical issues make delivering voice traffic over LTE complicated. The report describes the various options available to operators, and explains why they are likely to move to voice over LTE later rather than sooner. Information about the report is available at Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider.

  • Making HD Voice Happen: Choosing Codecs, Connecting Islands
        This Heavy Reading Insider report by Robert Poe evaluates the impact HD voice will have on voice services providers ranging from traditional telcos to cable MSOs to cellular carriers to VoIP operators. The 20-page report also analyzes the role vendors' and providers' choices of codecs will play in ensuring that HD voice services can be delivered end-to-end, rather than only within individual providers' or enterprises' networks. It also surveys the HD voice efforts of 14 vendors.
        Information about the report is available at Heavy Reading Insider. A column about the report is available at Light Reading.

  • Disruptive VoIP Services: What Carriers Need to Know
        A report by Robert Poe for Heavy Reading, analyzing the innovative VoIP services with the most potential to disrupt the telecom services market over the next three to five years.
        The 57-page report describes the changes VoIP innovation brings to telephony models, practices and concepts. It identifies 17 categories of potentially disruptive VoIP services, and analyzes their potential impact on the market. It also profiles 50 potentially disruptive companies and services.
        Information about the report is available on the Heavy Reading Website. Coverage of the report is available on the Light Reading Website.


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