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ORAC
25th Oct 2005, 05:35
Bar Stewards..... Watch out for your own companies trying it.

New Scientist:

"The online edition of IEEE Spectrum, the house journal of the US Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers, says phone companies in France, Germany, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have announced they will block VOIP calls on their networks.

New software from Narus of Mountain View, California, will help them do it. Called IP Planform, it can detect VOIP“s characteristic data packets, allowing the the phone company to block or de-prioritise them. This either stops the call entirely or makes it sound awful, and the companies hope this will drive people back to paid-for phones"

BUMPFF
25th Oct 2005, 06:16
What's VOIP? Is it catching? Is the government going to set up an emergency vaccination programme?

R4+Z
25th Oct 2005, 07:20
I think in most countries this would come under the heading or restrictive practices and wouldn't stand up in court.

Zoom
25th Oct 2005, 07:30
I use VOIP to Canada and the USA and it sounds pretty awful already. I can't wait for it to be downgraded further.

Parapunter
25th Oct 2005, 07:41
We invested a few quid in Skype & it's ok, not great - it can't handle engaged calls without getting a headache & it's impossibly echoey for the first twenty seconds of each call - on our set up at least. However, it is pretty cheap (Skype out that is) so we persist for legwork phone calls.

I would suspect that the Saudis & Egyptians might have different motives from the French & Germans for blocking it tho:rolleyes:

hoofie
25th Oct 2005, 07:59
VOIP - Voice Over Internet Protocol

More info - More info here (http://computer.howstuffworks.com/ip-telephony.htm)

You basically take standard analogue phone calls, turn them into a digital signal and send it across the internet [or your own private network].

For home use, the quality is not great, but if you are a business and can afford faster internet connections etc, then it really comes into its own.

The biggest advantage is that for long distance calls, you can cut the telephone companies out of most, if not all of the connection. You pay a fixed rate for your internet connection rather than a per minute charge.

Its a serious growth area at the moment.

SpinSpinSugar
25th Oct 2005, 08:09
The phone companies are obviously miffed that it's a leech industry that relies wholly on telecoms infrastructure and yet doesn't earn them a penny.

It's all very well Skype providing free calls but they don't have to pay for the installation and upkeep of cabling, exchanges, telegraph poles, men in vans who come and fix your line, etc.

However, that's progress I guess - it's not hard to envisage a world with no analogue voice calls in five/ten years time and telecomms companies charging solely for line rental.

EBay just forked out billons for Skype though so I guess they're not expecting any major headaches in that arena.

SSS

BombayDuck
25th Oct 2005, 09:12
we use VOIP to call land line / cellular phones of relatives in the US and UK from India. The voice clarity is good most of the time and at worst you can still carry on a decent conversation. Bear in mind that we use a dialup connection at home. It costs Rs. 1.25 (less than two pence) per minute not counting internet charges.

Why use the phone line then?

Daysleeper
25th Oct 2005, 11:38
I use Skype all the time in Europe over wifi broadband via my Apple laptop. The sound quality is great a headset kills the echo and at just 1.6% of the cost of using my mobile its fantastic.

they don't have to pay for the installation and upkeep of cabling, exchanges, telegraph poles, men in vans who come and fix your line, etc.

But I do pay for all that. I pay BT a monthly charge of about £9 for my phone line and I pay £20 month for my broadband connection.
As we dont pay for incoming calls I fail to see what these phone companies have to complain about. Of the small amount I pay Skype most of it goes to the legacy phone carrier who's lines are used for the last few miles.

SirToppamHat
25th Oct 2005, 11:45
We bought a Web Camera (one of those little jobs that sits on top of your monitor). It cost 1p when we bought something else and came with a small microphone.

Using MSN Messenger, my son now talks to his friends, with video, for no additional cost on top of the £17.99 I pay each month for Broadband. The other day he was chatting with an old school friend who is in Singapore!

I can see how the telecomms companies are worried, but Broadband rates are increasing, and I can only see this trend spreading - even on my domestic line the quality was more than adequate, and certainly better than a standard international line 20 years ago. No echo, for example. It does not surprise me that the telecomms companies are worried by this.

STH

Helli-Gurl
26th Oct 2005, 10:42
Software that prioritises VoIP traffic isnt new, most of what you refer to here isnt strictly VoIP, it's IPT, the difference being VoIP is usually the trunking or bulk carrying of the Voice traffic in IP form, IPT is the delivery of the call to the desktop, VoIP doesnt necessarily go to the desktop.

The reason for prioritising it is simple, you want to be able to hold a conversation so whether that's a video or voice only conversation then you want to give it priority over ordinary data.

This is all well and good when you own the solution end to end (as in corporate networks), but where you don't i.e using the internet or breaking out to other phone networks it becomes an issue as not everyone uses the same quality of service software or even prioritises traffic, hence the call breaks up.

Some providers are now becoming worried as this type of traffic is on the increase hence these moves to 'block' or in most cases 'throttle it back', they achieve this by a variety of means, limiting the amount of VoIP/IPT traffic their network will carry or simply as per this software down grading the priority of the traffic, all of which unfortunately mean the quality of your call degrades.

The only way of ensuring a high quality service is unfortunately to pay for it and in the carrier industry, that is serious bucks!

:)

phnuff
26th Oct 2005, 11:45
I do remember uising yahoo VOIP on a dial up - boy that was something else. Distorted, disembodied voices echoing out of my PC.

I now use Skype to call friends around the world from my Apple G5 on a 2mb broadband link and have found that the quality is fine - ok no replacement for a normal phone, but it is cheap for long distance calls.

ExSimGuy
26th Oct 2005, 11:50
I'm pleased with the quality that I get, even when I'm on a decent dial-up line.

Major problem from home though - I have a satellite internet connection - and sometimes it's quite good, other times absolutely awful!

But when I'm travelling and manage to find cable or DSL (or a WiFi to one of these) it works just great.

Parapunter
26th Oct 2005, 12:02
Does anyone have experience of Vonage? good, bad or indifferent??

Onan the Clumsy
26th Oct 2005, 12:14
If you were a miserable old bastard like me then it wouldn't matter as you wouldn't want to talk to anyone anyway. :*

ORAC
26th Oct 2005, 12:31
I use Vonage (UK) from my apartment here in Madrid. I have a DECT answerphone plugged in so do not have to use their voicemail (included in price) system. I have a UK telephone number and can make unlimited free calls to anywhere in the UK or Eire. On a 1Mb broadband line the quality is excellent.

My mate got one as well and is very pleased, reduced his Spanish telephone bill by over 60pcm, and that was before his kids came for the holidays and used it to talk to their mates at home.

Also works to send faxes.

R4+Z
26th Oct 2005, 15:35
Voip is fast becoming the way of the future but that doesn't mean it is the answer for the future. Voip in the correct environment is a cheap solution but to interface with "legacy" networks is what costs money. I work in the PABX field and whilst you can download a free Voip PABX from the net (asterisk), would you want to gamble your business future on it?

Most people don't even realise the increased hidden costs involved in moving to Voip. A PABX (your average medium to large buisness telephone system) has built in batteries to keep it working in emergencies. To provide the same in a voip system requires multiple UPSs and each of those have batteries with a limited life. So you have to factor in all those additional costs to highlight just one area. There are many other downsides I could go into but the problem is that the IT area of most businesses are taking over the responsibility for the voice side of things and as most IT people are indoctrinated to believe the company whose name begins with "C" can do no wrong many are moving to voip possibly misguidedly (sp?).

From a home point of view, until you can get QOS (Quality of service) settings on internet traffic, you get what you get.

Parapunter
26th Oct 2005, 15:45
Well, we did it for 70 quid & that was just two boxes the fee software!

broadreach
27th Oct 2005, 00:56
R4+Z, interesting comments. We're just about to sign on the dotted line for a voip provider and realise we'll have to expand our bandwidth considerably to get acceptable quality. But, the way it's looking now, it will save us nearly £1,000 a month which, for a small company, is better than a slap in the face with a wet whatever.

For personal calls I've used Skype since its inception two years ago (?) and no complaints. For some reason, less clear when speaking Brazil/Brazil than Brazil/US or elsewhere.

(BombayDuck, my son and daughter-in-law are on Skype all day with Mumbai for business reasons and it's a hell of a lot better than the normal phone line!).

With regard to Voip taking advantage of existing infrastructure, well yes, it does. I think it's called leapfrogging. But, if I'm not mistaken, the first signs of Voip appeared some seven or eight years ago so its advancement as a serious medium of communication should not be too much of a surprise, even to those companies who paid zillions for telecomms rights in the newly privatising economies. They presumably had access (and the necessary cash) to the same talent that developed Skype et al.

R4+Z
27th Oct 2005, 06:05
Using a voip service provider is slightly different to what I was talking about. However there may still be some limitations you need to keep in mind.

It has been my experience that dial up modems do not work over Voip links. So you may have to retain some copper links (PSTN or ISDN) if you use or connect to dial up modems.

There may also be a threat to service on Voip due to problems with 911 emergency calls (the problem may also exist in the UK) and where the call is routed to. Imagine the liability case if a company moves to a service that has problems dealing with emergency calls, if the service provider informs the customer and subsequently an employee dies because they couldn't call emergency services. Who would be liable should the relatives sue?

See Here (http://www.sundance-communications.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/30/t/000046.html)

Send Clowns
27th Oct 2005, 10:39
Only ever spoken once over Skype. I was using a headset on a friend's computer, and the sound was extremely high fidelity, much better than a telephone. This was over a broadband connection, but most people can get those now in their homes.