April 19, 2005

PSTN is a VoIP Killer?

Russell Shaw recognized that the incumbents could mount a good resistance to the onslaught of VoIP features. Excepting, this was discussed last September and again last month. I also relish in pointing out that these are made possible by Intelligent Network technology.

But there is one trick of VoIP that PSTN can not possibly duplicate autonomous communication between two IP end points.

Posted by aswath at April 19, 2005 03:44 AM
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This strikes me as a follow-on to your previous entry about Price vs. Features. But I think everyone is missing it. It's not about one or the other. It's about price, it's about features, and it's about execution (product excellence).

Verizon's IOBI is seems just what I'd like from a provider (and what I get from Broadvoice for free) - and the $8/month isn't bad. But I'd rather have it for free along with my VOIP service. And VOIP gives me unlimited countrywide calling for 20-40/month, not 60/month like Verizon. Yes, I'm ignoring the need for broadband as I'd have that anyway. But a bigger issue is the quality of service issue over broadband. Maybe I've missed that discussion, but for all the calls for a "stupid network", that network sure needs the ability to prioritize isochronous traffic. The inability to guarantee call quality keeps me from recommending residential VOIP to anyone needing more than an early adoptor toy.

Posted by: Jon at April 19, 2005 02:26 PM

I totally agree with you that it is cost, features and execution. But iobi suggests that most of the "VoIP features" can be replicated by PSTN service providers. Given its current market position, the incumbents can easily compete on price. One can argue who will win the execution battle; but it is certainly not a forgone conclusion that incumbents days are numbered.

I personally do not consider lack of QoS in the access is a major impediment for VoIP. But if you turn out to be right, it is more certain that the incumbents are the ones who will survive better.

Posted by: Aswath at April 19, 2005 09:57 PM

There is no such thing as autonomous communication between 2 IP endpoints. It goes through miriad or routers and switches just like in PSTN world. And those switches and routers can have various degrees of intelligence. All this argument about VoIP vs PSTN is nonsense. It is a very simple, from the user prospective it does not matter how it works, just like you don't care about how your toilet flush works when you actually use it. All the features of VoIP can be done via PSTN if necessary and vice versa. Some cost more, some cost less. That's all. The rest is all about taking wealth from one group of companies to another.

Posted by: Alex K at April 20, 2005 04:49 AM

Wow, please explain the lack of concern over QOS? I'm not the only one that finds VOIP unusable when there's other significant activity on my broadband connection. Here's a quote from a Network World article on residential VOIP:

"It works great. I just have to remember to turn off my P2P software or it hogs all my bandwidth, causing my voice quality to degrade."

Imagine if electricity worked this way; you'd have to turn off your airconditioning so that your TV worked ???

Posted by: Jon at April 21, 2005 03:07 PM

It is evident that I have not been expressive enough . Since I am arguing that one CAN similar features in PSTN, I have to grant that VoIP CAN overcome QoS problems. It is possible to develop codecs that have high fidelity and low bandwidth requirement and that broadband access speeds are sufficiently large. Since I can make my point even without this, I can afford to be generous.

My comment is not a commentary on the current status of quality of VoIP calls.

Posted by: Aswath at April 21, 2005 03:58 PM

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