With the world becoming flat, communication costs are on the rise. Enterprises are now spread all over the world, Even in remote corners of the world and with the ever increasing need for constant communication, they are facing soaring communication costs.
IP Telephony or Voice over IP as it suits, has become an affordable alternative for enterprises, to keep in touch internally as well as externally. According to a Gartner Survey, voice and data converges based on IP telephony and VoIP will be under way in more than 95% of major enterprise by 2010. Convergences will drive additional classes of communication enabled business applications and cause an upheaval in the telecommunications industry. So what is IP Telephony ? Wikipedia defines it as the routing of voice conversations over the internet or through any other IP-based network. I call this as making a call to another computer which is connected to the internet. Is that simple?
Why IP ?
IP means internet protocol but keeping aside the geeky meaning it means a path and rules that the internet uses to surf web sites. Internet prices have gone down heavily and is accessible everywhere. When voice was also supported over the internet for chatting to sending data, IT came into conclusion why not make Voice chat into telephony. Just talking to connected user creates a constrain that you should be suing the same client. Why I cant make a call to mom from my computer.
IP had been chosen due to its cheap price. As it can carry both data and voice its same cost for both with a little more requirement in bandwidth. So why should You email saying “hey buddy how are you?”, voice mail them or make a call to their home.
Moreover, cutting the cost is not the just advantage. You get many enhanced features. Mobility is one of it. You can connect to me, or my computer even if i am not on my desk. I can just ask my system to re-route any Ip calls i get to another network and receive the call. The idea of location independent in the network means that an enterprise can use a building block approach for migrating its communications to up on a site by site, group by group or application by application basis.
The major gainers will be business world. Bringing down the price of communication and addition of mobility will give them a boost to transfer information faster. It will simplify the network and easily integrate with applications.
Enterprise in India are now looking beyond IP telephony only for voice callas and are expecting for integrating video using video phones In IP technology. Birlasoft is such one company that has around 450 ports deployed for IP telephony and has invested $3,00,000 for implementation. The next step they are going to follow is to implement Unified Messaging where by the mails and voice stored on telephone instruments can be made available to user as emails with voice message as an attachment.
Is Security a problem with IP Telephony ?
Since IP Telephony uses the existing IP network as its foundation, attacks on this data network can also adversely affect voice services. One of the most common threats is denial of service attack, which shuts down an application or even a server.
According to Cisco, Security is not a deterrent to adoption of IP telephony. However, one needs to follow a holistic approach and network security concerns are to be considered as IP telephony can introduce unauthorized entry points into the network.
There is more concern growing as the world is tending towards IP telephony. As I said before, IP is based on Internet thus facing same security dangers as you email. There are plans to send videos and off line voice over the phone, So if they are not secured it will tend to theft of confidential data which can have more data than normal emails. Moreover, it will be integrated with mobiles which is another easy target for malicious code.
According to Nortel there are new protocol being designed or is available like Secure RTP also termed as sRRTP, signaling encryption and voice firewalls which will take care of the above issues. It is also being decided whether IP telephony should be given a new architecture and network planning and the most important data disaster design. I hope they come with something soon.
IP telephony has a definite great future if implemented properly. We all can have calls to other countries free or so minimal that we all can afford. Looking for a great future with IP telephony hats off for all their work.