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Communications The Internet

Voice Over IP Goes Global, The DNS Way 193

awehttam writes "A couple of geeks have setup a non-profit public DNS root designed to map phone numbers to Internet protocols. These days we're hearing lots about Skype, and Voice over IP. Asterisk - the open source PBX - is nearing its version 1.00 release, Free World Dialup has applied to run the .tel top level domain, Good old Bell's are migrating to native IP, private sector layer 2 clearing houses are exchanging bits between companies the like of Packet8, China Telecom, MIT and Harvard and even the various regulatory agencies are pondering just what to do about things. In the mean time, consumer SIP phones are dropping in price, and free and open source software is helping to drive a new generation of provide the services networks." Read on for more.

"You just knew the other shoe had to drop. E164.org let's people register their existing phone numbers, and aim various services including VoIP towards a URL on the Internet. Now you can have your calls sent to your Free World Dialup account, or routed to your home Asterisk PBX instead, possibly where you have a $20 card attached to your phone line letting you make and receive calls through both your regular phone line and the Internet. E164.org isn't just about VoIP though, it can also map phone numbers to Email addresses, Instant Messager URL's, or any other protocol that fits in the "foo://bar" scheme of the 'net. :)"

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Voice Over IP Goes Global, The DNS Way

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  • could this be the end of long distance charges?
  • by Mad_Rain ( 674268 ) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @04:45PM (#9226580) Journal
    Does this mean that just when I figured out how to whistle at 2600 hertz, it's become useless? ;)
  • TeamSpeak (Score:5, Informative)

    by Seek_1 ( 639070 ) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @04:46PM (#9226583)
    Personally, I prefer TeamSpeak [teamspeak.org] to Skype. The interface isn't quite as nice, but for group conversations it works alot better (IMO). Less bandwidth too, which is better if you're using it for VoIP while gaming..
    • Re:TeamSpeak (Score:3, Interesting)

      by NeurAlien6 ( 629914 ) *
      i've been using Skype for quite some time now and i really like it. i don't know about TeamSpeak but i don't find that Skype uses to much of my resources. I just hope they won't start charging.
    • Ventrilo (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Daath ( 225404 )
      When I play and use voice comm, I use Ventrilo. When I (or some of my colleagues) work from home, we use Ventrilo to conference, it works very well!
      Ventrilo [ventrilo.com] is also free.
    • Teamspeak is great!

      A group of my friends have a Teamspeak server set up (on my cable line) and we leave it going 24/7 so anyone can join when they like and see if anyone else is around; typically if we are not on TS, we don't wont to be bothered or can be 'knocked' by IM.

      Teamspeak is more like IRC in that you can have lots of people on channel at the same time. Its really reliable too, our uptime record on a dodgey old 350Mhz SuSE box is 64days - only interrupted by a blown PSU.
    • Re:TeamSpeak (Score:5, Informative)

      by walt-sjc ( 145127 ) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @06:05PM (#9226911)
      I'm a little baffeled as to why skype was even mentioned. It completely different and not at all compatible with everything else listed. It's not "phone over internet" even though the authors of skype imply that it is. There is no PSTN connection anywhere. VoIP has certain stadards such as SIP, H.323, etc that are designed to interoperate and pass real phone calls over an IP network. Skype is proprietary and only talks to skype. Ditto with Teamspeak. It's not that they're bad, but they are not IP Telephony.
    • Re:TeamSpeak (Score:2, Informative)

      by MrWorf ( 216691 )
      If I'm not misstaken, TeamSpeak isn't VoIP compliant, nor is Skype (if VoIP = H323).

      Skype is more a replacement for your phone (thats why it uses more bandwidth, better sound and quality... also less latency) while teamspeak is more of a voicebased irc, perfect for games, but not something for my parents.
    • Re:TeamSpeak (Score:3, Informative)

      by anethema ( 99553 )
      I STRONGLY disagree.

      While teamspeak is nice for some stuff(channels, lower bandwidth, selectable codec), I have never been able to eliminate lag with any combination of options.

      I set it up on my home lan (just 3 computers) and it still had about 3/4 of a second to a second's lag. I also tryed it on a DS3 teamspeak/IL2-FB server, and it still had around a second of lag.

      This makes it utterly worthless in my book, no matter its other benifets. End up telling someone which server to join...dont hear a answer
      • There must be *something* wrong with your setup as my server pings 2ms locally and my friend connects from Germany (to UK) at around 25-30ms.

        Try using the 7.2 speex codec (good quality) as it requires less CPU and consider using a dedicated box if you typically run high priority processes on your existing one - don't forget, by the nature of TS, it can be having to encode dozens of different ways to cater for multiple clients.

        All of my experience with TS is on Linux so I can't comment on whether the Win
        • Weird.

          I have no idea the actual latency, my numbers are jsut from best guesses for tests ive done on local lans. After writing this I had a friend download it and try it on his lan with a server and two clients. Same results. These arent slow computers, and the lan is 100mbit.

          Lag seems to be around a second..or a touch less.

          What kind of settings do you use?

          I have tryed all codecs, lag doesnt change.

          Also, the server for Forgotten battles on the DS3 is frequently used by a good few clans, and the people
          • I don't really know what to suggest as its always worked 'out of the box' for me. The lag is imperceptible to us, sometimes when someone comes on channel with a bit of feedback, we sometimes hear ourselves 3/4 second later but this is due to the 'double round trip' (codec>xfer>server>xfer>codec>codec>xfer>server>x f er>codec) which can give a false impression of lag; normal trip is (codec>xfer>server>xfer>codec).

            Incidentals:
            Our box runs Linux 2.4.x
            Our box is pretty
  • by TheMadPenguin ( 662390 ) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @04:48PM (#9226598) Homepage
    Obviously we are in the beginning stages of something very large. Telecom as we know it today will change... it's only a matter of time.
  • by Tandoori Haggis ( 662404 ) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @04:49PM (#9226606)
    t ab*5t dr*p ou^ts affe$ting cal$ qu^lity?
    • by ReverendRyan ( 582497 ) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @06:10PM (#9226925) Homepage
      I know you were joking, but I recently decied to try out Vonage [vonage.com]. With a cable connection you cant even tell its using the internet, and the ability to get a real phone number anywhere (well, almost) in the US beats a landline hands down.

      After 2 weeks with it, I've decided I'm going to drop my landline.
      • Thanks for the info. I must admit I'm starting to hear more and more positive stories about VOIP. Its certainly picking up in Europe and I have met engineers who assured me that in practice it can work really well. One pointed out that the quality seems much better than mobile phones and we don't complain about them too often.

        Those Tariffs are interesting 2c / minute is seriously cheap. If I was living across the pond I think I could be tempted.

        Cheers
      • We have Vonage at our office, and while it saves a lot of money on calls (especially to Taiwan, which we call a lot, but we use it for our long distance U.S. calls too), we don't feel that it's good enough to drop out landline.

        Don't get me wrong, I think Vonage is great, and I really like the service - just that sometimes it will break up, or give us strange echos, or other things.

        The Vonage MTA is connected straight to our DSL router (I don't remember the brand), on our SBC DSL line. There's no firewall
        • Your DSL router is probably NAT.

          I would recommend setting up a Linux (or OpenBSD) box with three ethernet cards such that eth0 is your internal network, eth1 is your vonage box, and eth2 is the WAN. Then configure iptables/pf to drop packets on the eth0eth2 route when the eth1eth2 route is "full". This is called QoS, I'm sure there are some nice HOWTOs that will help with this.
          • The DSL router is not running NAT. NAT was turned off in the router explicitly for two reasons:
            1. We have five static IPs (we're using business class DSL), and the MTA is configured with one of those static IPs.
            2. If I was using NAT with the MTA (a Motorola device), then I'd have to forward a few ports (the manual for the Motorola MTA mentions this).

            NAT is running on the firewall, which has one of the five static IP addresses. The corporate LAN uses this. Although the MTA supports a LAN behind it (using
  • Thanks, I've already linked most of those sites and the only useful info I get is that there's a cheaper Asterisk compatible card out now. :( How about a bit more info on how these different methods actually stack up against each other? Maybe some success stories?

    Jonah Hex
    • I had never even heard of Asterisk, so this link collection was quite valuable to me. And that $16.99 FXO card that is compatible with Asterisk is extremely interesting. It looks like I may need to look into gettin an Asterisk system up at the house in the next few weeks.
      • The reason you buy the real Digium FXO cards is because it's a great way to support the company that provides most of the coding for Asterisk. You will also get support which can be very valuable when playing with something as complicated as Asterisk for the first time.
      • Two things about this:

        1) Buying the Asterisk-compatible card does not help out the company who has done 95% of the development, both hardware and software, that makes that board do something: Digium [digium.com].

        2) Digium has announced an FXO module for the TDM400 board that replaces the X100P. In other words, you can add up to 12 FXO (talks to telco) or FXS (talks to telephones) interfaces in the same computer, instead of just a couple.

        There's nothing immoral about buying the off-brand X100P's, but it doesn't h

  • Skype to POTS idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dave1g ( 680091 ) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @04:52PM (#9226618) Journal
    I was thinking about this the earlier today, and since it is relevant to this story I thought I would post it.

    Currently Skype is a computer to computer only program, but I have an idea to make it somewhat better.

    At signup each user should put in his local calling area/country codes whatever they all are.

    Then each user has the option of donating his phone line by hooking up his modem to the phone cord.

    Whenever someone wants to call a phone number they could try Skype, or a similar program, and the Skype network would then go search for any available modems in that area code. If there is one then your call would be sent over the net to that computer, and out on his modem.

    Now obviously this is a pretty generous donation on the part of the users. There fore there would have to be controls given to the user such as only allow people to call through your line if they are sharing their line. And there needs to be a polite "get off my phone I need it" button for when a Skype user is using your phone and you need it. Something like a message interrupting the call saying "the host modem owner want to use his phone line, please end your call in 30 seconds or it will be disconnected for you."

    And if there are no modems available in the area code you wish, you will get a message telling you so.

    I think this is would be a nice way of getting around long distance even to people who don't own a computer and/or use Skype.

    Are there any technical problems with routing audio info taken from the internet into the modem in the computer without the host having to listen to it over his speakers?

    What do you guys think?
    • by i_am_pi ( 570652 )
      Great idea, but one flaw.

      modem dials
      person on the other end picks up
      "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRR PTSSSSSSSSSSSS"

      You'd need a PBX with a FXO card to transmit voice over a regular phone line.
      • um... I can transmit voice over my phone line with my modem by simply using the microphone on my computer. I have done this before, even my old compaq from...1996 had this capability in it's 33.6 modem.

        What am I missing here? Instead of having the modem use the mic input it could use an audio signal that your computer took off the internet.

        Help me to understand the issue you raised. If it turns out this idea sucks as, well it was worth a shot anyways :-)

        • Two things:

          1) The AT standard for voice is half-duplex: it can't listen and play at the same time. That won't work for a PBX.

          2) There are plenty of softmodems that can do full-duplex voice. However, their API's are not documented, and therefore are not supported.

          An X100P [digium.com] or an FXO module [digium.com] for the TDM400P [digium.com], in fact, are little different than a normal softmodem: they just have documented API's for dealing with voice. And, of course, buying the products from Digium [digium.com] helps support the people who make al

          • I've been talking over modems on occasion for many many years, and I've never had a single problem with half duplex or compatability problems.
    • by digitalvengeance ( 722523 ) * on Saturday May 22, 2004 @04:56PM (#9226638)
      Privacy is a big issue here. What's to stop me from hooking a $30 voice activated phone recorder to the line and record all of your conversations? I don't know how much I trust someone I've never met and who has no real oversight to protect my privacy. Scratch that.. I do know that I don't trust them at all.

      • well obviously some encryption could be used until the last possible second before offloading it to the modem.

        If that turns out not to be possible, you wouldnt use this for a call that required privacy. If that is the case it sounds like paying long distance would be worth it for the privacy that you want. therefore you wouldnt even be in the market for this use.
        • Encryption? How? The attack described is against the analog line, after the call leaves the computer. At that point there is nothing you can do to protect the signal, you are trusting the person providing the modem to be a good guy.
      • "Privacy is a big issue here. What's to stop me from hooking a $30 voice activated phone recorder to the line and record all of your conversations?"

        F.F.S.! People still use email for conversations. You know, where you send plaintext to your ISP, through the mailservers of a load of people you don't know, to the mailserver of someone you don't trust.

        And we're worried about privacy of phones? (hint: text-searching is easier on peoples' emails)

        No, encryption isn't used. I've never once received a PGP-si
        • It doesn't appear you are paying attention. Skype is a replacement for PGPFone. The voice and chat traffic is encrypted end to end. That makes connecting to the PSTN a rather questionable idea though I have heard some talk about this from the phone companies recently. I wonder how the encryption issue will be handled. Anyhow, if you want a replacement for PGPFone without the debilitating lag try Skype. The audio quality is also much better.
      • "Privacy is a big issue here. What's to stop me from hooking a $30 voice activated phone recorder to the line and record all of your conversations? I don't know how much I trust someone I've never met and who has no real oversight to protect my privacy. Scratch that.. I do know that I don't trust them at all."

        Then why do you have a landline or cell phone? Sorry if I'm missing your point here, it's not intentional, I just don't understand why this concern is different.
    • Oh telemarketers would love this then they could deluge people all around the world with their mazaine subscriptions.
    • Might work in the US but here in the UK we have to pay (rather a lot) for local calls.

      I'm not going to pay $0.08/min (peak) for someone in the US to talk to someone down the road.

      And that's assuming the software is infalliable. Immagine if it broke and you started placing calls to Azejabstan for £2.50 a minute? Given the average buggyness of most software combined with the general attractions of phone systems to phreakers I would expect a call charge after the first month that could be accidental
      • yeah...I thought of that. I think the client program that everyone runs could easily make sure that the phone number is in their area code and wont have any charges.

        You could put a list of the area codes that you can call for free to into the computer and it is pretty easy to make sure only those area codes are used.

        I guess it was short sighted of me to think that everyone had free local call...sucks to not be in the US. Companies know that we wont pay for anything by the minute.....except cell phones...
        • FWD already this, for free... from here in the UK I can call many locations in the US without charge.

          I also have a 'real' IP phone not an MSN clone - works when the PC is off.
      • here in the UK we have to pay (rather a lot) for local calls

        That's changing. For a while now BT has offered a tarif with free calls up to an hour. (Local or national) It costs 25.5UKP / month. From July even the basic line rental of 10.50UKP will give you evening calls up to an hour long for a 6p fixed charge.

        Anyway, there is no excuse for putting up with BT's expensive call options: you can change to a cheaper BT tarif, or you can join one of the hundreds of alternative phone companies such as Onete [onetel.co.uk]

    • That's pretty interesting, but as another reply said, local calls aren't free in many places. That's related to the biggest hurdle: there's no incentive for people to hook up a modem to their broadband-equipped PC in the first place.

      What could possibly work is wiring the VoIP<-->POTS software bridge with a built-in micropayment infrastructre, e.g. using the PayPal web interface, ignoring for the moment the PayPal-being-evil issue.

      That way, people could charge for the use of their POTS line, and migh

      • well most computers still come with modems. And the ability to screen based on the caller having his modem hooked up also would provide an incentive.

        But your paypal idea could easily be worked into the equation. but in order for it to be a good deal it would need to be like $0.001/min

        and I think there would be enough users in each area code who decided to go for free that the paypal people would nver get used.

        Most people barely use their telephones, so you would only need a few skype users (10 pretty goo
        • One thing is that if you want to screen based on the caller having his modem hooked up, then you have to provide some verification of the presence of the callers modem via the 'net, which is difficult unless you actually use the hardware, i.e. call someone with his modem.

          Even if you did this, assuming the software got popular, someone would eventually make a patched/hacked version of it that let you use other peoples lines even if you didn't have a modem hooked up to your own PC.

          You're right that given

    • I had a related thought: Does anyone know how to jumper any of this software to your home phone? Run your server and tie in a regular handset so you could use a cheap cordless phone?
      • I'm confused.

        Do you want to hook up a regular cordless phone base station to your computer and use the accompanying cordless phone to dial out to skype users?

        I think the best you can do in this situation is have one of the phones that supports something like an intercom.

        Then use skype to call some one, and have your modem forward the audio down the phone cord to the base station and then through the air to your cordless.

        Im thinking that this isnt actually possible though. Because I'm not sure if phones
    • You'd lose your phone.

      You think your ISP gets cranky about you running a server? If you did this, and the telco figured it out, (for example by looking for symmetric traffic on your internet line and your phone line, or by subscribing to the service themselves to get a list of numbers) they'd cut you off. Not many people will want to burn down their landline to give away phone calls.

      Twenty some-odd years ago, a guy from my high school was caught running a demon dialer. Southwestern Bell explained to his p
      • "for example by looking for symmetric traffic on your internet line"

        I use a cable line for internet not DSL...

        And number's arent stored in the system, only area codes.

        A Telco cant take away your service just for being on the phone line alot.

        And in the event that I am wrong and they can disable your service. I can still sign up for an alternative provider...we now have choice for local phone service since the 1996 Telco Act...right?

  • by digitalvengeance ( 722523 ) * on Saturday May 22, 2004 @04:53PM (#9226620)
    I've been using vonage.com for my primary home line and fax line for a while now and I absolutely love it. Not only can one talk a lot more for a lot less money, the other features that are included are remarkably useful. I love transferring calls from my home phone to my cell phone before I walk out the door, and I'm planning to put together some code that interacts with Vonage's web "dashboard" to allow better integration with the rest of my digital life.

    Marrying phones and computers in the home is going to open a whole new avenue of technical exploration, and unfortunately, exploitation as well..

    Josh.
  • Excuse me but (Score:2, Insightful)

    Why do you call the Voice Peering Fabric [thevpf.com] a "clearinghouse"? By functionality, it is clearly a "peering center" and not a clearing house [google.com].

    Maybe less fancy and more clarity would improve the eloquence of the posts...
  • kind of worrying? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 22, 2004 @05:04PM (#9226671)
    if we end up relying on making phone calls via the internet, what's to stop the next killer virus knocking out our phone 'lines'?
    • [_] Good security measures.
      [_] Sane design.
      [_] Educated users.
      [X] Unbelievable amounts of luck.
    • The same thing that is stopping them now -- sheer, dumb luck.

      There have already been incidents of 911 systems and certain local phone systems going down due to viruses and worms. Not to mention what a good phreaker can do to a corporate PBX.

      Hey! If we switch to VOIP, maybe phreaking will go away. What's the point in using someone else's phone when yours is free or almost?

      -Charles
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Asterisk is an awesome piece of code. They have presented at several hacker cons in the South East (Phreaknic, Interz0ne), and I have been quite impressed. Most PBXs handle things like T1 frame generation, TDM, switching, etc in hardware. Asterisk does it all in software using Linux
  • by motown ( 178312 ) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @05:10PM (#9226696)
    I'm afraid telcos are letting their legal departments burn the midnight oil in patenting anything obvious and even remotely related to this.

    The combination of two obvious technologies (telephony and TCP/IP) should not be patentable.

    We'll see how this turn out.

    The various Linux telephony projects being mentioned left and right are hopeful developments.

    Now that (soon to be "legacy") regelar phone networks are being migrated to TCP/IP, I think the time has really come to finally seriously start making the switch to ipv6.
    • I'm afraid telcos are letting their legal departments burn the midnight oil in patenting anything obvious and even remotely related to this.
      VoIP is really pretty old (Net2phone popped up around 1996 or so), all the patent-related land grabbing is either over or nearly so.
  • Packet 8 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Scorchen ( 641292 ) <scorchen@nOspam.gmail.com> on Saturday May 22, 2004 @05:18PM (#9226716) Homepage
    I've been using Packet8.net for my telephone service for about a half a year now, and I've been thoroughly impressed. For 20 dollars a month, I get completely unlimited long distance, call waiting, voice mail.

    There are a few glitches every now and then. Somedays it won't let my calls go through, but usually my voice mail bails me out. It's just as reliable as a cell phone, and much much cheaper.
  • by cluge ( 114877 ) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @05:28PM (#9226752) Homepage

    Expect to see legislation with some assinine label like "The VoIP pro competition rules". This will be of course a couple of millions lines of regulatory text that will be sold to the public as "deregulation".

    What will this legislation accomplish? It will help the baby bells and large phone companies hold on to their market shares and stifle competition.

    Jaded? Me ? Naaaaa, just experienceed with more than a decade of being told "We are for de-regulation" while signing bills that give the big guys even more. The FCC unep ruling recently is a perfect example of such double talk.

    cluge

  • by Seydlitz ( 690174 ) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @05:28PM (#9226754)
    Yeah, VOIP is big- but at the moment, let's face it, the name sucks.

    I mean... VOIP? Try discussing that in a bar or in a non-technical environment. No, seriously, go try it: how do you even pronounce VOIP? I guarantee that you'll get laughed at, or stares at the very least.

    Therefore, I suggest that we replace Voice Over IP with Talking Over The Internet, or TOTI. Think about it!

    Instead of discussing VOIP down the pub, you can talk about the latest TOTI that you saw Samsung introduce. Or ask if your fellow geek has checked out the new TOTI down at the phone store. Or if you see a nice looking young lady (or man!) in town, you can whistle and challenge those around you to check out that TOTI.

    You see? It's perfect. Sure, it isn't as descriptive as VOIP, but it gets across the main idea, kind of. I mean, yeah, there's going to be the odd pedant that will contest the change, but don't listen to them- they're probably a taxman in real life or something.

  • If nothing else (Score:5, Informative)

    by doormat ( 63648 ) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @05:40PM (#9226798) Homepage Journal
    VoIP is very good competition for the POTS phone companies. Its funny now I see plans for $50/mo unlimited long distance. A few years ago I can remember a friend paying gigantic sums of money on long distance phone bills. Now for $50, its an all-you-can-eat buffet.
  • VoIP Quality (Score:5, Informative)

    by TgrMan ( 444653 ) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @05:42PM (#9226812)
    As with anything running over the public Internet, there will, at times, be issues which cause disruptions in service; ie. a M$ worm sucking bandwidth, neighbor downloading lots of pr0n and slowing down your cable modem connection, etc.

    The key to voice quality with VoIP is latency. Most VoIP endpoints have a built in jitter buffer which is able to recover from some latency, usually around 3ms, but after that is begins to be difficult to carry on a conversation. The latency here is the latency between you and the provider's media gateway, such as an Asterisk box. Normally if you have less than 50ms of latency, then you'll notice no degradation in call quality. If you begin to have more latency, the quality of the call will begin to drop off.

    I've been using Nuvio [nuvio.com] for almost 6 months and it rocks! Latency on my cable modem is around 30ms back to their servers so I rarely, if ever, have a quality issue. Their web interface is pretty cool and they do some cool stuff you can do with regard to voicemail and e-mail. Plus it's not PC based, just plug your regular phone into the adaptor they send you and you can take your adaptor with you when you travel, plug it into any broadband connection and still make and receive calls just like you never left home. This is pretty cool because I travel a lot and if the hotel has broadband in the room, it works great. I even have a few virtual phone numbers across the country so people I know in those cities can call me for free.

    As someone mentioned before, it's a lot like cell phones. You just have to look at what you're getting and decide if it's right for you. If you'd rather pay less than with a regular phone provider and be able to make TONS of long distance calls where an occasional dropped call is ok, then go sign up with Nuvio [nuvio.com]. It's really as good as the reception is with a cell phone, and most of the time lots better. It all depends on the latency.
  • Non-profit? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If you think that the people behind e164.org are in it for the good cause, you're kidding yourself. There already is an official phone number to DNS tree: e164.arpa, as designated in RFC 2916 [faqs.org]. This is a fight for the root of _the_ registry of all POTS-number to VOIP/email/web mappings. There's money to be made, and lots of it.
  • BT's Bluephone.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KitKitNet ( 255106 )
    Someone should check out this new [theregister.com] Bluephone [btplc.com]! It is the ultimate VoIP package, u can use your cell over Wifi, 3G or GSM networks, probably the killer app for VoIP.
  • by v5out ( 782147 )
    There's no way for the little guy to make any $ with it so it will be owned by the big corps forever. No, Asterisk is not the answer because, while it works, it is totally not a commercial product. And even if you productize Asterisk how do you sell it? Companies are not going to put their mission critical phones on some open source thing. Would you? (IT and telephony guys only please)
    • Companies are not going to put their mission critical phones on some open source thing. Would you?

      I would. I would also put a mission critical email, web, and server systems on some open-source thing. Then I won't be so damn dependent on the vendor's mercy.

      I prefer architecture designed to do things well over an architecture where doing things well is only a method to make money and where things that don't make money (or enough money to be profitable for the vendor) are neglected (and where doing things

  • Picked up a SIP Phone [sipphone.com] Call-in-One [sipphone.com] and I've got to say, I'm really impressed. It does exactly what they say it'll do, it does it well and it does it cheap. Living in Madrid, until now, meant I was sort of cut off from my brother. Now, I call him whenever I want, talk as long as I want and it doesn't cost me anything other than the bandwidtch charges for the DSL connection that I was already paying. Definitely impressed.

    Also, we've been using the SIP Minutes thing to make calls to Canada, Chile and and a cou
  • Scenario. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mindstrm ( 20013 )
    My mother has a SIP phone (actually, a SIP adapter) at home.

    So does my uncle.

    So does my little sister.

    So do a half dozen friends (spread out over several countries in both hemispheres).

    All these SIP devices connect to a very small linux box colocated in the US, running asterix (which is an excellent piece of software, btw).

    Through that, I issued everyone an extension, voicemail, etc.

    Further to that, anyone who wants an account at iaxtel, free world dialup, voicepulse, well, the asterix box can connect
  • Here's [borud.no] an idea that me and a friend thought a bit about last year.
  • Reversal ? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Naut ( 211748 )
    its kinda funny 10 years ago you had to use p.o.t. service to get on the internet , now you'll be talking on your phone thru a i.p. proticol no phone lines need . I can see maybe in the next 10 years there might not be any phone lines left , and if they are it will be in those areas that are hard to reach with broad band now .
    • Of course you will still need the phone lines!
      Unless they are replaced by fiber to the home, or so. But that costs so much that rarely anyone is doing it.

      Broadband is also transported over phone lines.
  • One down, one to go (Score:3, Informative)

    by Graabein ( 96715 ) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @09:38PM (#9227712) Journal
    Disclaimer: I'm a partner in a Linux and Asterisk based VoIP startup in Norway.

    Thanks to efforts like E164.org, one day phone calls will be just another service running on the Internet. There will be no fees for doing simple peer-to-peer connections (me calling you to say hi), however special content and services will still have fees. Gateways to POTS* will be one such service for the foreseeable future.

    What this means is that we're in for a revolution. We're rapidly moving from a model where the Internet is run over phone lines to where the phones are run over the Internet. IOW, basic communications go from a metered service produced by a relatively small group of very lucrative companies, some of which are still state-owned monopolies, to the Internet model which we all know: A basically cooperative network where people purchase the bandwidth they need and agree to connect to their neighbours in order to join the big network. As I'm sure you've already figured, selling that bandwidth will still be big business, but nowhere near as lucrative as selling metered service.

    The big thing to get here is that the production of value, i.e. stuff that people are willing to pay for, will move from the center of the network to the edges. That is, from the big (sometimes monopolistic) phone companies to you and me. Welcome to the Internet revolution, you thought it was mostly over but in reality it's just starting. Oh, and if you thought the RIAA was running scared, they have nothing to fear compared to the big ol' phone companies.

    So what do I mean by "one down, one to go"? Two things, actually. First, e164 directory services are the first step, the second involves VoIP providers creating an environment where they can exchange traffic and get paid for services they provide to other providers. Say a user on your VoIP provider in the US calls a POTS number in Norway via a VoIP provider in that country with a POTS gateway. Peering the actual voice traffic is just one part of the exchange, peering the business end of things is the other. But this too will fall into place, sooner rather than later.

    The other thing I'm thinking of as "one to go" is TV. Today most countries are building separate infrastructures running parallell carrying different services: Voice over phone lines, TV over cable or OTA** and Internet over whatever's available. I'll give you an example:

    In Norway the Storting (Parliament) has decided to spend $0.5 billion to build an OTA infrastructure to transmit digital TV signals. Once the new network is in place, the old analog network will be switched off. And you thought the US digital TV mandate was bad...

    My prediction is that before the new digital TV network is in place it will already by severly outdated, completely overrun by the Internet revolution.

    The world is rapidly becoming digital and the Internet is the enabler. There is no future in building any kind of infrastructure unless it is dedicated to carrying Internet traffic. Wired, wireless, optical, satellite, it just doesn't matter as long as it moves the bits.

    Welcome to the revolution, we're just starting.

    * POTS: Plain Old Telephone System
    ** OTA: Over The Air, traditional broadcasting



    • Not trying to be picky, but the VOIP thingy, with asterisk, e64.org and all others, are still not qualified to be called a "revolution"

      A revolution means Industry B replaces Industry A, just like the cars replacing the horse-buggies.

      No matter how the VOIP progress, at least in the short term, will NOT replace POTS. This means, two industries will exist side by side, with some bridges in between the two camps.

      This scenario is much like the toothbrush and toothpaste symbiosys - without one, you don't need
    • >In Norway the Storting (Parliament) has decided to spend $0.5 billion to build an OTA infrastructure to transmit digital TV signals. Once the new network is in place, the old analog network will be switched off. And you thought the US digital TV mandate was bad...

      >My prediction is that before the new digital TV network is in place it will already by severly outdated, completely overrun by the Internet revolution.

      I don't think it will be that bad, unless they take a decade to build it.
      Digital TV req
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 22, 2004 @10:33PM (#9227860)
    Don't any of you really understand what e164.org is? It's an ALTERNATE ROOT SERVER. That's right, folks, this is just like someone saying that they have a good solution to the .com name problems - they'll just start up their OWN .com root server and have everyone point to it! Then, you can get whatever domain name you want!!! ...as long as everyone points to that root server. We've been here before - don't any of you remember?

    e164.arpa is the "real" root zone that e164.org is trying to replace. There are good reasons for wanting an faster/better/more clueful interface to ENUM, because e164.arpa is clogged with political sewage. However, I would want to see an organization with a little more clout behind them before I'd ever consider putting any time or money into an alternate root service; don't be surprised if suddenly you see a "cost recovery" (cough, cough, , cough) charge for usage.
    • Mod parent up: this is an important issue.

      I'm disappointed the Slashdot editors didn't notice that e164.org is in essentially competition with e164.arpa; this is very important to understanding what e164.org is about. As the parent says, it's like Alternic or, to avoid the unfair comparison with Altnernic's business practices, New.net.

      I don't accept my sibling post's claim that e164.org is not in competition with e164.arpa but is merely "supplementary": that's like saying ".travel" is "supplementary" to .
  • What about ENUM? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CoolGopher ( 142933 ) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @10:48PM (#9227903)
    Without having read the article (this is slashdot after all), what's wrong with ENUM [ietf.org]? That already provides phone# to location/service mapping via DNS...
  • I was wondering how long it was going to take someone to set up a DDNS server for this purpose. About time.

    I wrote a cool app which streams voice in between two IP addresses after having some bad experiences trying to get some of the more complex app's to work well, and thru a firewall correctly.

    It's here... [comcast.net]

    It just uses one UDP port (51981), and works pretty well. Other things work well, but they require a service, like yahoo IM... and I like the software to be independent of any servers, and be
  • I can't seem to find a good answer as to whether SIP phones support encryption or not. I don't feel too terribly comfortable with transmitting my voice conversations unencrypted over the net. From what I've read SIP phones actually use a combination of SIP to initiate sessions and RTP to move the actual voice data, but no straight "yes, it is" or "no, it isn't" answer on whether encryption is supported or not.

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