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Monday, December 10, 2007

Enum directory - The next major push for VoIP

I had argued earlier that one of the major bottlenecks for widespread VoIP adoption is the dependence on the PSTN for completion of VoIP calls. Consider VoIP as another telephony option like cellular or satellite phones. One of the reasons why cell phones could became so popular was their independence from the PSTN networks, i.e. a call from one cell phone to another did not rely on the PSTN network for completion.

This is not the case with the VoIP telephony, at least not currently. But things are looking up and the future could be very different from what the situation is today. ENUM, a protocol that uses Internet DNS system to translate ordinary telephone numbers into IP addressing schemes, is slowly gaining momentum. Enum is to VoIP, what DNS is to internet. Enum facilitates completion of the call by locating the end points. You can visualize Enum as a telephone directory, with an address for every VoIP connection.

But for Enum to be efficient all the players should be a part of the directory. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Most of the major players like AT&T, iConnecthere are not part of the network, making the completion of the call difficult without routing through PSTN network.

UK has embarked on an ambitious project to integrate telephony networks across the country. The first phase will cover creating a directory for the internet telephony network. In the next phase this would be linked with the PSTN network. If this project succeeds then we might see similar implementations in other countries. But due to the lack of common regulator this implementation might be delayed as nobody can force a country to adopt ENUM. But there is always a potential for inter country partnership. Between Europe and US, we have the bulk of the VoIP market today. If these agree to partner on the ENUM directory, things would change overnight for the VoIP telephony.

1 comment:

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