Video conferencing was a lot more interesting to watch in 2011 than was VoIP. It wasn't that nothing happened in VoIP during the year. It was just that a lot more happened in video conferencing. This was especially true in the SMB space. Early summer saw a slew of significant announcements from vendors and providers. These announcements figured prominently in the VoIP Evolution report "SMB Video Conferencing: Getting Beyond Clouds & Interoperability."
Continue reading "The Top 10 VoIP & Video Conferencing Developments of 2011" »
A new report by Infonetics Research shows that sorting through mobile VoIP options won't be simple anytime soon, even as user numbers explode. It starts with the fact that there are two main methods of delivering VoIP to mobile devices. One is over-the-top (OTT), in which the voice calls travel over carrier-provided data networks. The other is via LTE (long-term evolution), a technology that lets carriers themselves deliver voice calls over IP links to the handset. Prominent OTT providers include Skype, fring, Line2, Nimbuzz, Rebtel, Truphone, Viber, Vopium and others. Verizon Wireless will introduce native mobile VoIP over LTE in 2012.
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Given the names involved, many observers unsurprisingly expected whatever deal Skype and Verizon Wireless planned to announce at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to produce a major breakthrough for mobile VoIP. But when the announcement came, it turned out to be less than overwhelming. It involved an application that will allow mobile users to make Skype calls over the Verizon Wireless network using smart phones. The deal does little to alter Verizon's traditional cellular model. It doesn't transport VoIP over the 3G data network, and it won't be a major money-saver for users. The main change it brings is making Skype somewhat more convenient and accessible for Verizon customers.
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Verizon Wireless was for a long time the most conservative U.S. carrier. It did everything it could to keep even mildly disruptive applications and services off of its network and handsets. In the last year, though, it has claimed to be changing, saying it planned to make its network as open as possible. In October it said it would introduce two handsets running the Google-developed Android operating system, and with Google Voice installed. It subsequently announced a deal with Google to jointly develop and sell products, including such Android-based devices. Now it appears set to announce a deal with Skype.
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There were more advances than true innovations in the VoIP world in 2009. That's because some of the most important developments had more to do with commercial and political maneuvers than with technical creativity. Still, such maneuvers often helped spread the benefits of VoIP as much as did technical innovation. And collectively, the advances brought some already-evident trends into clearer focus. A key such trend is the increasing integration of voice with other applications and services. Another is the intensifying interest in HD voice. A third is the growing interconnection of VoIP services, in part in response to the possibilities that end-to-end HD voice offers. With such trends as background, here, in no particular order, are our top 25 VoIP advances of 2009.
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The most widely recognized obstacle to mobile VoIP running over cellular data networks is carriers' opposition. Mobile operators don't want to allow services that compete with their lucrative voice minutes businesses to run over their networks, because it means all they'll get paid for is transporting the bits carrying the voice, a far less lucrative business. A less-known obstacle to the service is call quality concerns. Regular voice calls can sound bad enough, but delivering them over a data network not designed with real-time services like voice in mind. A Global IP Solutions (GIPS) answer to the latter problem is now available for Android users.
Continue reading "Nimbuzz First Customer for GIPS Android HD Codec" »
The timing of the announcements by Verizon Wireless and AT&T was almost transparent. Both came just a couple of weeks after new FCC chairman Julius Genachowski's September 21 speech on network neutrality. In that speech, Genachowski stated, among other things, that neutrality rules should cover wireless communications. Even then, it was clear that mobile VoIP would be the most explosive issue in the network neutrality battle.
Continue reading "AT&T's, Verizon's Mobile VoIP Moves Reveal Political Concerns" »