Problems With VoIP Result in Cause for Concern

By: Michael C. Podlesny

A September 2003 report in This Week in Consumer Electronices, estimates that VoIP revenue will reach $13.76 Billion, yes that is with a "B", by 2010. However, it has its limitations and of course, being the new `kid` on the block, its apparent problems.

Darrell Dunn of Baseline reports of the dilemma of several U.S.-based companies in using Internet Protocol(IP)-based telephony. He claims that chief information officers and other information technology decision-makers in the U.S. are faced with the quandary in attempting to create a long-term communication strategy using the system to replace traditional circuit-switched networks. According to his report, companies are facing the prospect of either joining the next generation of technology or clinging to outdated tools.

Entering the collegiate realm, "VoIP implementation at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte aims to save money on long distance and PBX costs", claims Elizabeth Millard of University Business. "The Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio made a contract with Centrex to maintain charges to a VoIP system with the use of Siemens HiPath 4000 with HiPath Xpressions and HiPath Manager technologies."

Then of course there is always the question of security. Tim Greene of Network World reported in August that the launch of a hacking tool against VoIP signaling protocols H323, AIX and tools to insert audio into VoIP calls by computer researchers in the U.S. Defcon Tech has launched a tool that automatically probe the Session Initiation Protocol for vulnerabilities to convert piggy backing of data over VoIP streams. According to Greene, Barrie Dempster, senior security consultant for Next Generation Security Software Ltd. states that much of the notoriety of VoIP vulnerabilities emerge because the technology is possibly new and its code was not necessarily written with security.

One of the more well known VoIP providers, SKYPE, based out of the UK, has seen a share of its own problems in recent months. Skype has been trying to restore service to millions of its customers after they have experienced problems in logging onto the VoIP service. No reports indicate the amount of revenue lost or customers who abandoned the service.

Greg Scoblete of TWICE reports, "SunRocket, the second largest pure-play voice over Internet protocol provider in Vienna, Virginia to shut down its telephony service earlier in August 2007." He adds, "that the company laid off a portion of its workforce in July 3, 2007 and the company`s assets are being liquidated by Sherwood Partners." According to Adam Somer, president of American Telecom Services, one of SunRocket`s clients, "there were management problems with its management and their systems. A large part of the problem was the company`s nonsensical offers to consumers for two years which slowed the company`s growth since 2006."

Due to is still relative infancy, as you can see, VoIP, as its share of problems. Many experts agree that not to worry. As with all new technology, there are going to be some bugs and hiccups along the way, and that consumers should just hang in there. Many of the hard core tech nuts do hang on, however, the average user will more than likely wait out the problems until they are fixed and the rest will wait until the cost comes down.

By: Michael C. Podlesny

VOIP
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