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Proposed Next-Gen Networks' VoIP Support has Limits

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February 12, 2010

Proposed Next-Gen Networks' VoIP Support has Limits

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Proposed next-generation networks, wonderful as they may be in so many ways, still do have limitations in their ability to support VoIP over their data-centric IP networks.

Even though data use is rising, and data traffic is beginning to crush the carriers’ networks, voice will continue to be the killer app. This means that what everybody's going to want are systems that allow high-quality voice experiences. 

Recent numbers we've seen floating past the office window here say that voice revenues will still represent almost 70 percent of overall mobile revenues by 2014. So it's an issue that needs attention.

In a recent interview TMC's (News - Alert) CEO Rich Tehrani did with Payam Maveddat (News - Alert), vice president, product management, Mavenir Systems, Tehrani said, 'We hear more and more about high-definition voice features in IP communications products and services. What is going to drive wideband audio and HD VoIP into the mainstream market? How long will it take?'

Maaveddat replied that from the wireless angle, 'wideband codecs will become prominent  primarily in order to get the voice quality to a higher level as mobile devices become more widely use for all voice applications such as audio conferencing. The challenge remains in radio access as how fast the carriers will incorporate these codecs in the core of their network and whether this transition is economical or not. It will happen much sooner in the fixed VoIP application. It will be at least three to five more years.'

And industry observer Stacey Higginbotham also recently wrote that 'Voice over Internet Protocol penetration among U.S. businesses will increase rapidly over the next few years, reaching 79 percent by 2013, compared to 42 percent at the end of 2009, according to research out today from analyst firm In-Stat (News - Alert). At this point I wonder what market demographic represents the last stand for legacy circuit switched voice. Will it be consumer landlines or will it be mobile voice over 3G networks?'
It's an open question. Higginbotham notes that 'current telephone networks are gradually being phased out as the world moves to IP communications. Right now in the U.S. only 78 percent of consumer homes have a landline and only 22 percent rely on them exclusively.'

But people will always want clear voice. Industry observer Nadeem Unuth recently wrote that 'quality and reliability were the two darkest spots on VoIP's reputation for the past years. Now, in many cases, gone are the days when using VoIP was like testing walkie-talkies! There has been much improvement. But still, people are very finicky about voice quality in VoIP because they are used for years to the impeccable quality of landline phones.'

xG Technology (News - Alert), Inc. is one company that has focused on providing a quality calling experience over IP networks. The company’s xMax technology was built from the ground up to deliver a scalable, high-QoS mobile VoIP system.  According to Chris Whiteley (News - Alert), xG’s director of business development, “Supporting Voice over IP in a mobile environment has many challenges. Unlike current 3G technologies, xMax is optimized to ensure the minimum service guarantees that mobile VoIP requires.”
For more, check out the Mobile VoIP Resource Center on TMCnet

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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