For several years now VoIP users in the United Arab Emirates have been fighting an uphill battle with telcos employing restrictive practices designed to cut them off from IP Telecommunication services.
According to VoIP platform solutions provider Voipswitch, these restrictions employed by regional telecom giant Etisalat (News - Alert) (News - Alert) block SIP traffic using packet filter technology. While in the past port blocking – a relatively easy hurdle to navigate– had been employed, the more difficult to penetrate packet filtering is a relatively easy and permanent block to data transfer.
When it comes to SIP based VoIP services Etisalat has focused on blocking the SIP default port service. Of course these business practices are designed to protect the dominant players in the region but the fact that Etisalat is also an IP Telephony user itself - relaying much of its international calls across VoIP gateways– is not lost on Voipswitch.
Now, the company has successfully tested their Vippie Mobile for Symbian (News - Alert) dialer from the blocked regions, according to said Chris Oglaza, CTO of Voiceserve. Voipswitch is a subsidiary of Voiceserve.
Last month the London-based company announced its Voipswitch operation has received Symbian Signed status for its new mobile software module the "Vippie Mobile for Symbian".
The Vippie Mobile is designed to allow users to connect to Internet using WiFi (News - Alert) , GPRS, EDGE or UMTS. And now, the mobile phone end-user, with the help of the new Symbian functions, can select the connection option when beginning the application – even blocked regions such as the UAE.
“We have been using the tunnel for almost two years, just months after Etisalat started blocking SIP in UAE,” says Chris. “Now we added it also to our mobile client and thanks to this solution everyone in the UAE can make and receive calls freely.”
The Symbian Operating System, designed for mobile devices, was developed by Symbian Ltd, which was recently acquired by Nokia (News - Alert) (News - Alert). According to recent studies, the Symbian OS has a 46.6 percent share of the smart mobile devices.
With the launch of the Vippie Mobile software for Symbian and windows mobile phones, the company expects the release for other mobile systems including iPhone (News - Alert) (News - Alert) and Blackberry users will be completed within the next few months, according to Ellinson.
Voipswitch achieved the results using a VoIP Tunnel past the blockade encapsulating and changing SIP into something not recognizable by any blockade, according to Oglaza.
The VoIP Tunnel technology has been developed by VoipSwitch in order to enable making and receiving VoIP calls for users who are behind firewalls that block VoIP traffic, especially in countries like UAE, Oman and some other which have recently decided to de-legalize Internet telephony.
The VoIPTunnel reduces the number of ports needed for VoIP communication to only one. The VoIPTunnel is compatible with any hardware or software SIP clients. It is also embedded in our softphones, both SIPLink and Vippie!.
“It can also use any UDPor TCP port defined by VoIP providers. It works with our Voipswitch,” he said. Besides UAE there are other countries that continue to block VoIP including many in the Middle East, as well as Bangladesh.
Vippie Mobile is an extension of Vippie! softphone family which is intended for mobile users. At the moment the following versions are available: Vippie Mobile WinM is software client for Windows Mobile handsets, full list of supported mobile phones; Vippie Mobile Symbian is a software client for Symbian based phones (e.g. Nokia); and Vippie Mobile for Symbian is a SIP software client for Symbian based mobile phones.
The full list of supported models can be found here http://www.s60.com/life/s60phones/browseDevices.do The most popular are various models of Nokia phones such as e61, e71 and many others.
The demo version can be downloaded from http://www.callto.net/wp/?page_id=21
The version not tied to any provider, the IP or DNS name of the SIP server can be entered in SIP settings menu. The demo version does NOT support tunnel.
Tim Gray is a Web Editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Tim’s articles, please visit his columnist page.