VoIP Peering Takes the PSTN Out of the Equation

The panel, Peering Into the Future of VoIP, will focus on the growing new business of VoIP peering, in which VoIP service providers exchange traffic directly as VoIP much like ISPs exchange IP traffic without converting it to the PSTN.

The panel will be moderated by Rich Tehrani, president of communications media company TMC and founder of Internet Telephony, SIP and IMS Magazines, and will include Jim Dalton, CEO of Transnexus; Don McNeil, vice president of carrier services operations at XO Communications; and Shrihari Pandit, founder of Stealth Networks Inc.s The Voice Peering Fabric, a VoIP peering provider based in the United States.

Tehrani says 2006 will be the year of VoIP peering. He points to the announcement just a few weeks ago of a joint initiative of cable operators in The Netherlands comprising UPC Netherlands, Casema, MultiKabel, Essent and CaiW with more than 7 million subscribers and more than 450,000 VoIP subscribers. They awarded a VoIP peering contract to a partnership of XConnect, a provider of VoIP interconnection services based in the United Kingdom, and Kayote Networks, a provider of interconnectivity products for routing and peering. This landmark agreement enables all participating operators to share VoIP traffic directly over their IP networks, completely bypassing traditional phone networks and thereby eliminating PSTN interconnection fees.

The Dutch cable operators formed a working group in late 2005 in order to identify a service that would ensure full IP communication services between cable operators with no interconnection through the incumbent telephone networks. The group selected XConnect and Kayote Networks for the VoIP peering contract following their joint response to the cable groups RFI. That response addressed critical VoIP peering issues, such as ENUM management, full interoperability between disparate cable operators and a wide range of VoIP security challenges. The joint solution by XConnect and Kayote, called the XConnect SIP-Exchange, also will enable multimedia IP communication services to be delivered.

This is one example of what seems to be growing worldwide momentum in the peering space. Tehrani has assembled this panel of experts who will discuss the benefits of allowing carriers to peer with one another. Expect the panel to touch on the benefits and drawbacks of peering and, at the same time, help carriers figure out how best to get into the VoIP peering game.

Dalton, whose company provides systems for settlement of traffic exchanges, said, Traditional interconnect and settlement doesnt apply in the world of voice over IP. However, he cautioned, There are a lot in VoIP who say that interconnect billing and settlement is a huge mistake. They think it is folly. So I am going to point out that it doesnt appear to be total folly.

Daltons presentation will describe the reasons why there will always be settlement in VoIP peering. Part of it is regulatory and part of it is because they can charge for settlement. After all, data peering is not free. He added, If someone thinks that VoIP peering should be free the way e-mail is, that I think is folly. So I take an economist view that VoIP peering is real and will occur, and there will be settlement.

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