A Personal Blog
Advantages of IP for Voice
Telecommunications carriers around the world have already introduced IP into their networks because it provides economic benefits over traditional telecommunications networks.
Greater Efficiency: The conventional circuit-switched technology of the PSTN requires a circuit between the telephone company’s switch and the customer’s premise to be open and occupied for the entire duration of a call, regardless of the amount of information transmitted. In contrast, on IP networks, all content — whether voice, text, video, computer programs, or numerous other forms of information — travels through the network in packets that are directed to their destination by diverse routes, sharing the same facilities most efficiently.
Lower Cost: IP systems will offer a more economical means for providing communication connections. Also — and this is one of the sources of concern on the part of incumbent voice long distance carriers — Internet technology makes available to anyone with a personal computer and modem the ability to bypass the long distance PSTN.
Higher Reliability: In some respects, IP networks also offer the potential for higher reliability than the circuit-switched network because IP networks automatically re-route packets around problems such as malfunctioning routers or damaged lines. Also, IP networks do not rely on a separate signaling network, which is vulnerable to outages.
Supporting Innovation: IP is a nonproprietary standard agreed on by hardware and software developers and is free to be used by anyone. This open architecture allows entrepreneurial firms to develop new hardware and software that can seamlessly fit into the network. In contrast, the circuit switched network operates as a closed system, thus making it more difficult for innovative developers to build and implement new applications.
Telecom carriers using IP for their internal networks can reap these benefits. However, individual users seeking to use VoIP over their PCs encounter other limitations. Specifically, IP technologies currently lack a guaranteed quality of service. The ordinary telephone network (if properly installed and maintained) is designed to offer end users a very high quality of service for real-time communications. The Internet Protocol was not designed for voice; instead, it is based on a “best efforts” principle, which means that some packets are “lost” and have to be resent, introducing time delays that are inconvenient at best for voice communications.
Despite quality of service concerns and the policy issues that need to be resolved (discussed more fully in the next section), there are several arguments why carriers stand to benefit from VoIP even in end-to-end applications
- Faced with an uncertain landscape and increased competition, incumbents must retain customers. By offering VoIP, in and of itself, carrier’s can retain customers and increase traffic.
- Moreover, introduction of IP allows carriers to offer integrated services (voice, text, audio and video) over a single connection, thereby further enhancing value to their customers and contributing to profits.
- Especially given the possibility of long distance savings, VoIP can boost consumer demand for local telephone service.
- Carriers stand to realize substantial cost savings as the IP switching equipment becomes less expensive.
- IP helps spur innovation and development. Infrastructure development on IP can take far less time and cost much less compared to the enormous costs of building out and maintaining a state-of-the-art PSTN network.