VoIP Systems

Telecom Exec: VOIP Is a Pain

CHICAGO – Supercomm 2005 – A Time Warner Telecom Inc. (Nasdaq: TWTC) VOIP executive threw a bit of cold water on the excitement over VOIP at a panel here today, saying that VOIP architectures are more complex, expensive, and difficult to operate than the old TDM systems... and less profitable (see Does VOIP Business Add Up?).

"Everybody thinks VOIP is as simple as putting a server in a rack and turning it on, and it's just not that simple," says Earl Turner, Time Warner Telecom’s senior director of VOIP technology (see TWT Narrows Q1 Loss). “I know this because implementing new VOIP networks has been my life for the last ten years.”

Because there are so many different equipment providers selling individual VOIP point products, building and managing VOIP networks gets very expensive, Turner told Light Reading during post-panel chit chat (see Time Warner Talk Fuels Sonus). “When you start looking at the total cost of ownership of the network, you see that it is actually far more expensive than TDM networks...

“What took 120 years of switching in the TDM world, we are trying to do in two to three years."

Turner said such thoughts can make him so gloomy that he's even considered a career change. “The only people that are going to make money out of these [VOIP] networks today are the systems integrators. If I would leave my job today, I would go and be a systems integrator.”

Turner spoke at a panel titled “VOIP Networks and Services” on the opening morning of Supercomm. His company, he says, is primarily in the business of providing VOIP networks and services for enterprises and institutions (see Time Warner Telecom Touts Wins and TWTC Offers VOIP Business Services ).

Despite such concerns, there is certainly no going back to the TDM world, Turner and panelists made clear. Operators live in a world where they can’t order a Class 4 or Class 5 TDM switch without giving vendors three months notice, a special order, and some explaining. “VOIP is here to stay. I’m a realist; it’s not negative or positive, it’s just what it is today.”

Not that Turner sits around pining away for the days of TDM. He believes operators will eventually begin to make money on their VOIP networks when all the pieces are in place. “The key reason that these networks are being built now is to provide a framework for more advanced services in the future,” Turner told Light Reading.

To that end, Turner urged the 20 or so service provider people in the audience to pay close attention to the services that SIP and IMS technology will enable in the future. “SIP just amazes me -- I’ll bet you five years from now even your fridge will be controlled by SIP.”

Turner advised service providers to begin engineering their networks to dovetail with the IMS architectures that he believes will dominate the future. The next-generation services those technologies enable, Turner believes, will eventually make VOIP networks a solid revenue generator for operators.

But in the near term, operators will suffer the growing pains that new technology brings, Turner says, and they will learn that it is no easy matter. The Time Warner exec says reengineering the telephony network for VOIP is a process of disaggregating the centralized method of switching that exists in TDM architectures and “putting it all back together again.” (See Session Controllers Storm Chicago.)

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

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alchemy 12/5/2012 | 3:10:56 AM
re: Telecom Exec: VOIP Is a Pain roxymusic writes:
Talk about triple play is very amusing to say the least. As of today there is no way to test QoS for triple play or a way to even generate real triple play traffic from a validation test tool. This stuff is really years away from being reality.

For cable, the video portion of triple play doesn't use the DOCSIS IP access network network. They use completely different downstream edge QAMs that run on different frequencies. Every cable modem and CMTS gets tested at CableLabs for DOCSIS conformance. That includes conformance to the DOCSIS QoS mechanisms. For VoIP, the CMTS does call blocking on individual upstreams. If you've consumed the pool of upstream flows reserved for VoIP, you get reorder tone. There's a separate pool reserved for 911. This is all running today on real-live MSO networks. By the end of 2005, there should be well over a million subscribers doing VoIP over Cable in the US.
wwatts 12/5/2012 | 3:10:55 AM
re: Telecom Exec: VOIP Is a Pain
Nice to know that I'm not the only one who cringes when they read that quote. I'm not sure what the fascination is with adding networking capability to devices that serve their function quite well without it. 10 years ago harebrained CTO's were blabbing about http enabled kitchen devices, today its SIP.
roxymusic 12/5/2012 | 3:10:54 AM
re: Telecom Exec: VOIP Is a Pain Yes, individually there are tools that test pieces of the triple play but nothing exsists that can test all three implementations from one test tool. You have to use different tools for each technology. Hardly the way a real world triple play system test would be performed. There is also no tool currently that generates real world triple play traffic profiles. So that being said, your going ot find the early going very rocky, limited and filled with problems. Over time these will get sorted out correctly with a test tool on ONE platform but we are talking a year or two from now. Buyer beware!!!!!!!
roxymusic 12/5/2012 | 3:10:54 AM
re: Telecom Exec: VOIP Is a Pain I cringe because these harebrained folk think that ordinary household appliances now require network connections to make our lives easier. WRONG. A net connection whether wired or wireles is an open invitation to trouble. First of all the inherent bugs associated with such an implementation will be too much for the ordinary household to deal with. I can imagine the release notes, "If your Fridge content report is in error please reboot your Kitchenaide now!" A net connection to me requires SECURITY. Nothing available as of today gives me any comfort there. Firewalls, NAT, encryption etc etc. I could see a hacker gaining access and turning my fridge off or worse hack the content list directly to the grocer for stuff I don't need, ie "But Sir your Kenmore requested 10 cans of whipped creme and 40 gallons of chocolate sauce!!!!"
No thank you guys. I'll keep it real simple with a piece of paper and a pencil to make my grocery list. Keep out of my appliances, besides I know how much beer is left in there at all times!
rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 3:10:52 AM
re: Telecom Exec: VOIP Is a Pain A net connection to me requires SECURITY.

Agreed. Network security is a huge industry in of itself. http://www.securityfocus.com is a starting point for those wanting to learn more.

I don't think either the phone companies or the cable cos have adequate expertise in this area. Considering they're both stuck on the idea, and wasting resources, replicating each others so-called "services" so they can be "deregulated", it seems unlikely they'll ever catch upto the real needs of our society.

Nothing available as of today gives me any comfort there.

I think the financial industry is probably the leader here. Almost everybody there has gone online proving that security and open access is possible. Talk with an IT guy who setup those systems for an in depth discussion on the topic. Or if you're just going to be a consumer/user, eventually somebody will be selling you a managed security solution along with the bit pipe.

Note: Some anecdotal data. I set up snort http://www.snort.org on my home network (on both sides of the firewall) and tracked all the alerts for a month or so. I was happy with the security a stateful firewall provided. It blocked all the external attacks floating around on the internet. The internal "attacks" were false positives originating from Microsoft computers which violated network protocols.
OldPOTS 12/5/2012 | 3:10:47 AM
re: Telecom Exec: VOIP Is a Pain rj your comment; "eventually somebody will be selling you a managed security solution along with the bit pipe." got my attention.

Yes for just $99.95 the triple play network service. You get .........
And for $59.95 for managed security (the value add service). You wouldn't want anyone to steal your network's ID. Let's you prevent any more ID thefts on the network, even protects your refridg.

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