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10/13/2009

Internet Traffic Study Points to Future of VoIP Peering

A new study shows that Internet traffic these days mostly bypasses the top transit providers. Instead, it travels through direct connections between traffic generators. The same thing will increasingly happen with VoIP traffic – that is, it will travel directly between VoIP providers without touching the PSTN (public switched telephone network). That will bring significant benefits for users.

The study is the project of the University of Michigan; Arbor Networks, a security and network management company; and Merit Network, a non-profit consortium that connects public universities in Michigan. The study looked at two years' traffic data from large communication companies including cable operators, international transit backbone operators, regional network operators and content providers.

It found that transit traffic had migrated from the 10 to 12 international transit providers that once dominated the business. Now, most traffic travels directly between traffic sources such as content providers, content delivery networks, consumer networks and data center operators. The study also found that about 30 Internet giants, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and YouTube, account for some 30 percent of traffic.

The reason for the trend is obvious: exchanging traffic directly lets the traffic generators avoid paying the transit companies for carrying their traffic. Likewise, VoIP providers that exchange traffic directly, or "peer," can avoid the payments to traditional telecom operators that are required when they send it over the PSTN. They may in fact avoid termination or call completion charges as well, since many VoIP providers deliver each other's calls to their own subscribers for free.

Peering can also help VoIP companies avoid quality degradation. Any call that moves between IP and traditional networks requires transcoding. That decreases the audio quality, even if the call ultimately ends up on the same type of network that it began on. End-to-end VoIP calls eliminate the need for such transcoding. The advantage is even greater when the calls involve more than plain-vanilla voice. For example, with some providers VoIP peering also allows the end-to-end transmission of HD voice calls, which have significantly better sound quality than even standard VoIP, not to mention traditional PSTN calls.

Peering also makes possible the addition of other features and capabilities to the voice calls themselves, including presence/availability detection, integration with instant messaging and video calling. Without end-to-end IP connections, the only thing that gets through is low-quality audio that makes it hard to differentiate between s and f sounds, and even harder to understand people with different accents.

Comments

I absolutely believe this is the way it will go. Why pay the imcubant telephone companies huge sums of money for voice calls based on a legacy charging model (i.e. destination x duration x time of day) when IP (inc VoIP) is virtually zero cost?

However, at present many enterprises (in particular multinationals) still haven't realised the massive potential savings that are possible for intra-company and inter-company voice communications.

Plus they don't need to upgrade to expensive IP-based PBXs and IP-Phones to realise these savings!

Andrew Beresford
Global Voice Networking
www.voice-vpn.com

PS - Better to sell your imcubant telephone company shares sooner rather than later!!

I absolutely believe this is the way it will go. Why pay the incumbent telephone companies huge sums of money for voice calls based on a legacy charging model (i.e. destination x duration x time of day) when IP (inc VoIP) is virtually zero cost?

However, at present many enterprises (in particular multinationals) still haven't realised the massive potential savings that are possible for intra-company and inter-company voice communications.

Plus they don't need to upgrade to expensive IP-based PBXs and IP-Phones to realise these savings!

Andrew Beresford
Global Voice Networking
www.voice-vpn.com

PS - Better to sell your incumbent telephone company shares sooner rather than later!!

Big fan of VoIP these days. Ditched my expensive phone for a couple different VoIP services that I'm currently trying out, and couldn't be happier. Surprised it took me so long to get around to it.

-Marc

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Resources

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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.
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  • 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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