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Internet Telephony

E- Commerce Infrastructure

THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN & NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF BUSINESS MENAGEMENT

Date Internet Telephony


What is Internet Telephony

Name

Internet Telephony is a reference made to various communication services that occur by faxing, voice messaging applications that uses internet as their main way of transmission, as opposed to using traditional telephone networks which are physically available. Internet Telephony draws on open standards and recommendations generated by international groups such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). All suppliers of Internet Telephony Products should meet these standards. Standard now being developed will guarantee a certain level of service in these IPbased networks, since bodies such as IETF have recognized that few or no standards adequately addressed the transmission of voice or video over the Internet. New technologies such as RSVP (resource reservation protocol) and RTP (real-time transport protocol) have therefore been developed to enable real-time operation on today's existing IP networks. One of the main features in Internet Telephony is a segment of hardware and software which helps people to incorporate Internet as the transmission medium in making their telephone calls. Both parties should be equipped with free or fixed price internet accesses, with the aid of the Internet Telephony software people are able to make calls to any location. The basic step in this theory is that analog voice signal are converted into a digital format and then it translates those signals in to the Internet Protocol. Yet until today Internet Telephony was unable to offer the excellent quality of service just as the direct telephone service. In a very short period of time Internet Telephony showed up a massive growth. The main supporting forces were given by PC-to-PC calls, PC-to-Phone calls and Phone-to-Phone calls. This is a great advantage for voice and data networks to get together. And eventually it will try to eliminate the high cost which the customers have to pay up when using traditional telephone networks. Also various enterprises which sometimes have to maintain large call centers are also provided with a better and cheaper solution. Meanwhile the traditional telephone network carriers have too had to incur a cost when

maintenance and operations of the network take place. Comparatively such large investments are not needed in the case of Internet Telephony.

How Internet Telephony is making itself important around the world

There are three major success factors currently identified by the International data cooperation in order to spread out the usage of this technology and let it be acceptable around the world whole world. The major success of this technology depends upon it connectivity. If people are able to connect them selves within no time then they are able to directly dial the number of the other party with out any hesitation, weather the other party is also connected to the internet is some thing out of the question. At the moment with the existing applications this technology is very popular only among the PC-to-PC users. Another major issue is that Internet Telephony facilities should be available every where and anywhere in order to get hand in hand with other options which are now available with the latest communication technologies. Connectivity is now made possible with the reducing prices of broad band connections, also freely available internet access zones where people can use portable devices such as Laptops, PDAs and mobile phones to make this use of these applications. The final aspect is that this technology is currently in need of an open set of standards. One of the most important technologies today regarding Internet Telephony is H.323. This major development has now allowed regular PSTN phone users to make long distance calls via the internet. Internet Telephony on its way attracts individuals and others Internet Telephony has a growing importance because of its benefits. It is a great benefit for companies who operate ground the world because the customers are charged only by the local ISP for the usage of internet gateways which are hosted by the ISP or sometimes the gateways are maintained by the companies own intranet. All charges are made accordance to the local payment rates as opposed to long distance rates. If a company is able to incorporate a single IP network along with Internet Telephony it will act as a

single communication medium in order to carry both voice and data. Both of the above will reduce the cost significantly that an individual or a company has to bare. The increasing acceptance of this technology is because of the growing bandwidth among the networks. More efficient asynchronous transfer mode and Gigabyte Ethernet have made this possible. Now applications such as Internet Telephony are well in demand of. Traditional telephone companies are charging extra money for conference calling, call forwarding, caller ID features, IVR and automatic redialing. But all these are available free of charge from Internet Telephony. If a person need to place more than one telephone call at a given instance according to the traditional system several lines will be required but now with the help of a single broad band connection more than one Internet Telephony can be placed at a single instance. Secure phone calls using the traditional system are hard to be made but as opposed to that by using standardized protocols secure calls are made possible digitizing and digital transmission. The only requirement is to authenticate and encrypt the existing stream of data. There are many additional features made possible with the help of this technology such as audio conferencing, managing address books, message and data exchange. Limitations of Internet Telephony Though there is a huge potential growth shown in this technology there are still some limitations that need to be addressed. These aspects will be threatening to some of the major players who are currently operating in this industry. In the case of scalability only few hundreds of simultaneous calls are allowed to make use of the PSTN-to-IP gateway technology. If the acceptance need to be grown wider a gateway must be made enable to cater today and tomorrows needs of an entire network of

voice. One of the options at the moment might be to have multiple gateways located in a particular location. But this is an issue that time has to solve. In terms of reliability until today no other reliable system was ever built other than the current telephone system in to communicate voice. If the interruption of communication continues to happen for a longer period of time the retaining the customers will not be easy. Quality of communication comes handy when there are plenty of sophisticated substitutes currently available in the open market. When it comes to billing and tariffs, tracking calls and issuing bills are not that easy in this technology. As opposed to flat and fixed rate charges the provider has the choice of charging the end user in order to cover up his expenses and also some thing more. This is an important issue which needs to be addressed before making this technology in massive scale. Making emergency calls using this technology is quite hard because establishing the connection and making sure that both the parties are connected at a given time instance and some times carrying out test runs consume much of the valuable time of both parties. Also as oppose to regular telephones making sure that a reliable power source is available is very important because most of the devices like PCs do need a regular power supply in order to be up and running but in many under developed locations finding an uninterrupted power supply is a rare situation.

Internet Telephony Technology

Infrastructure Issues relating to Internet Telephony Connection scenario is a very important aspect when it comes to Internet telephony, which is always being backed up by technical requirements, and country-by-country regulatory differences. The three basic types of connection in Internet telephony are telephone to telephone, telephone to computer, and computer to computer. At present, no specific country approvals apply specifically to Internet telephony, although formal approval is required for any equipment that connects directly to a public network. Such connections comprise standard telephony connections to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) via either approved telephones or modems; connections via internal or external ISDN adapters (BRI or PRI); connections via "nailed-up" circuits such as G.703s or X.21s; and connections via least-cost routers or PBX systems.

In each case, the equipment must meet the requirements of the relevant CTR, TBR, or national variant. The onus of an approval thus lies with the manufacturer of the CPE equipment. CTR8 (ISDN telephony) is applicable only to ISDN terminals with integral handsets (i.e., justified-case handset telephony) and has no further implications for Internet telephony, for which a standard hands-free or headset arrangement would normally be used. The harmonization of IP telephony products will be eased by the introduction of the H.323 standard, which forms the basis for the transmission of audio, video, and data over IP-based networks. A common standard will enable products from different suppliers to be used in conjunction with each other, so that users will not have to concern themselves about compatibility. With no official overall standards yet laid down for IP telephony, several organizations, are now studying the regulatory issues involved and pondering how to proceed. Given the nature of Internet telephony, this work is likely to be focused predominantly on quality of service.

when it comes to finding out other relevant aspects needed for Internet Telephony hardware and software will come next in line because for each connection type, several components are necessary within a given telephony network. On one side there are terminals for Internet telephony, much like traditional telephones but with an Ethernet rather than an analog or digital connection to the telephone network; Alternatively, there are special PC programs that act as Internet telephones (e.g., Microsoft NetMeeting and VocalTec Internet Phone). Gateways are needed at the interface between the traditional telephone network and the IP-based network to map the different signaling and transmission procedures; Also necessary are certain central components such as directory services to map and find multiple terminal addresses (both IP and e-mail addresses and telephone numbers), as well as servers for authentication and billing. These devices typify the range of products now being developed for Internet telephony.

How Internet Telephony Technology Works

When people are making telephone calls over the Public Switched Telephone Network a dedicated circuit will open up between the caller and the receiver. This line will remain until the call ends. But as opposed to this when using Internet Telephony the persons voice is broken into digital signals and then again these signals are broken in to packets of voice. These voice packets will be traveling to the particular relevant destination via the Internet. Communication through voice is real time activity. By some chance if voice packets get lost or if their order changes and arrives late then quality of voice reduces. Though Packet Switched Networks needs less infrastructure the quality of communication always depend upon the internet connection that both parties uses, and also the traffic which will be there in the internet when the call is been made. If by some chance the packets keep on arriving late a latency will be caused. This is also known as lag time the difference in between when a person speaks up and the person at the other end hears the spoken voice. Some people would find this really annoying. One of the main problems is that voice misrepresentation. When some times packets get lost during transmission the relevant telephony software tries to fill the gaps by looking at the nearby packets. The more the software has to pay for loss or damage the more misrepresentation happens. The basic underlying principle behind Internet Telephony is that voice is transferred over Packet Switched Networks as opposed to traditional Public Switched Circuits. Packet Switched Networks significantly differ from traditional Public Switched Circuits which are traditionally placed by the industry. Packet Switched Networks does not require intensive infrastructure. A Packet Switched Network uses routers in order to transfer packets of data. Each packet may contain a header that tells the destination location and the sequence of information. The packets of information are the broken up by hubs and then will be sent to the router s in order to identify the path with a lowest amount of blockages towards the final destiny. When the packet reaches the final destination the voice packets are assembled again to a voice. This communication can take place via PC-to-PC, PC-to-Phone, Phone-to-Phone, PC-toFax and Fax-to-Fax.

PC-to-PC Calling This enables people to make calls to another person who is online at a given time. Both can use either the same Telephony software or one which is compatible. One of the main requirements in this method people need to use compatible software, a microphone, a set of speakers or there is another option which is to have a PC headset, finally the most important one is that both parties should have access to the internet. Making calls by incorporating a dial up connection is also not impossible. But the most preferable is to have a broad band internet access. These calls are totally free no matter where you are making the call. The negative point is that Lack of quality yet the positive point is that no payment is required for making the call only the internet connection will cost the caller. How this really work, is as follows the senders software will convert the voice in to packets of data for transmission and then these packets will be routed all over the internet. Then the receiver will turn the data packets back in to voice signals which can be heard through the speakers or head phones at the receiving end.

PC

People connected via the Internet

Laptop PC

PC-to-Phone Calling

This allows people to make calls from their PC to any other regular phone. Though the technology is quite similar to PC-to-PC calling there will be a certain payment that should be paid for this service. Yet it is rather cheaper than using long distance telephone service providers. Also people may need to incorporate some equipment when using this facility. How this really works is as follows the PC-to-Phone users PC at on end acts as the originating gateway. This will convert the voice signals in to packets of data for transmission via the internet. At the other end of the gateway provided by the software distributor the data packets will be converted back to voice signals and will be routed to the Public Switched Telephone Network. Then the Public Switched Telephone Network will route the calls to the receivers telephone as it is in a regular telephone call. Gateways

PC

People connected via the internet

Land Phones

Mobile Phones

Phone-to-Phone Calling

This is a kind of new Internet Telephony service but rather it is rapidly getting popular among people. The communication is done via the internet but the technology is rather different from the others. In this case people need not have a computer or more sophisticated software to acquire the service. People will be having traditional telephones at both ends and the service of the Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP) will be required. The ITSP is equipped with gateways all over the world. When a call is taken it will be routed over the internet to a particular gateway which is located close by to the receiving end. Then the gateway will send the particular call to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) of the receivers regular telephone. Just because most of the transmission takes place over the internet this method is quite cheaper than traditional method of long distance calling. Chargers will be paid via the ITSP. How this really works is as follows the people who are equipped with Internet Telephony connections will be placing a call with the help of their land line telephones. Then the voice signals will be converted to digital signal, there after these signals will be compressed and transferred to data packets. When the data packets keep arriving at the gateway they will be transferred back to voice signals. Then finally the voice signals are transmitted back to the receiver via the relevant PSTN. People connected via the Internet Mobile Phones

Gateways Gateways Land Phones

Mobile Phones

Faxing using Internet

Telephony

Support for sending faxes over Internet Telephony implementations is still limited. The existing voice codes are not designed for fax transmission; they are designed to digitize an analog representation of a human voice efficiently. However, the inefficiency of digitizing an analog representation which is a modem signal of a digital representation which is a document image of analog data which is an original document more than negates any bandwidth advantage of Internet Telephony. In other words, the fax sounds simply doesnt fit in the Internet Telephony channel. An alternative IP-based solution for delivering fax-over-IP called T.38 is available. The T.38 protocol is designed to work like a traditional fax machine and can work using several configurations. The fax machine could be a traditional fax machine connected to the PSTN, or an ATA box or similar. It could be a fax machine with an RJ-45 connector plugged straight into an IP network, or it could be a computer pretending to be a fax machine. Originally, T.38 was designed to use UDP and TCP transmission methods across an IP network. The main difference between using UDP and TCP methods for a FAX is the real time streaming attributes. TCP is better suited for use between two IP devices. However, older fax machines, connected to an analog system, benefit from UDP near real-time characteristics.

A brief technical introduction about the main standards used in Internet Telephony H.323

H.323 is an umbrella recommendation drafted by the ITU to define multimedia communications in LANs that do not provide a guaranteed level of service quality. Now dominating the world of data processing, such networks include packet-oriented TCP/IP and IPX networks over Ethernet, Fast-Ethernet, or token-ring-network topologies. H.323 and other similar standards promise to be extremely important in the development and provision of new applications that will work together network wide. H.323 also covers protected and unprotected connections. Control and data information requires a protected transmission to prevent packets from being lost or not received in the right order. For instance, with video, if a packet arrives late, it loses its meaning and may not be inserted correctly in the clip being played. For this reason, unprotected connections are used only for audio and video transmissions, which are more efficient. In IP-based networks, the connection-oriented TCP protocol, used for protected connections, guarantees an error-free transmission in the right order but causes delays and has a lower throughput. H.323 references TCP connections for the signaling protocol (H.245), for data transmission (T.120), and for connection control (Q.931). H.323 contains technical requirements for audio and video transmission within LANs. It covers four main network components: terminals, gateways, gatekeepers, and multipoint control units.

H.323 communication is defined as a combination of audio, video, data, and control information. The standard's mandatory components are transmission of audio, connection control according to Q.931, communication with the gatekeeper over the RAS protocol, and use of the H.245 signaling protocol; the rest of the text, including coverage of the ability to transmit video and data, is optional. Some of the research facts that proves the success of Internet Telephony in the future

According to ABI Research there will be 267 million paying Internet Telephony users worldwide in 2012. For example, in first quarter of 2007, ABI Research reported that voice Internet Telephony telephone services, which in 2006 counted less than 38 million subscribers worldwide, should have a subscriber base of over 267 million in 2012. According to ZDNet Research there will be worldwide sales of Internet Telephony equipment which will reach nearly $12 Billion in 2010. ZDNet Research says that worldwide revenue from the sale of Internet Telephony equipment is predicted to reach nearly $12 billion in 2010, up from not quite $4 billion in 2005. That's an annual growth rate of 24.7 percent. According to Isuppli there will be 197.2 Million residential Internet Telephony subscribers worldwide in 2010. Isuppli reported that the number of residential Internet Telephony subscribers worldwide is predicted to rise to 197.2 million in 2010, what is 40 times more than from 4.8 million in 2004. According to Gartner 56% of all Phone Lines in Western Europe will be Internet Telephony By 2009.Gartner predicted that in 2009, 56% of the enterprise telephony lines shipped in Western Europe will have an IP end-point. According to IDC the number of residential U.S. Internet Telephony subscribers will grow up to 44 Million in 2010. In 2006, IDC, the premier global market intelligence firm predicted that residential U.S. Internet Telephony subscribers will grow from 10.3 million in 2006 to 44 million in 2010. One of the recent IDC forecast shows that Internet Telephony will be used in 62% of broadband households in 2010.

How Internet Telephony was developed and its key players

Until 1995 Internet Telephony was an area which had a spread only among researchers and hobbyists. Until when VocalTec released the first Internet Telephone in February of 1995 nobody thought that it is economically viable to communicate voice over the internet. There after many companies regardless of there size of the business entered into the competition of becoming an Internet Telephony giant. Some of the key players in the Internet Telephony market are Lucent, PSINet, Cisco, Ascend, VocalTec, NorTel, Delta Three, Vienna Systems, IDT Corp., Quaterdeck, Intel, Microsoft and others. Along with the rapid growth of Internet Telephony the Internet Telephony Consortium (ITC) was erected in the year 1996.The consortium is being used as an open forum in order to make discussions about the market structures of the industry, regulations of policies and also to discuss about the technology. The consortium may identify various loop holes and issues that require standardization. But it will never perform the job of setting standards. In accordance to the original plan of Internet Telephony significant amount of coordination was required. This required that both computers are being equipped with multimedia devices, same application software running at both ends and both computers being connected to the internet via an ISP. With the help of new advancements the gateways paved the path to connect PSTN to the Internet because of that today PC-toPhone, Phone-to-Phone communication via Internet Telephony has become a reality. There are two significant advancements which occurred with regard to Internet Telephony with in the past few years. They are Defining and recognizing H.323 standard in order to communicate over the Internet Telephony network. The creation of gateways between IP networks and PSTNs. These gate ways are capable of building the gap between the circuit switched environments of the public communication network with the IP environment of the internet. These gateways are nothing but communication devices that helps to create an

application specific network structure that is capable of providing bi directional, real time communication between packet switched and circuit switched networks. Some of the major players who are dominating the business today are as follows. Currently small scale companies such as Vonage and even the massive companies such as AT&T have started providing Internet Telephony services. But before using freely available commercial products carrying out a test drive is better before actually start using it. Windows Messenger includes Telephony features. Microsoft web site provides this software free of charge. With Yahoo! Messenger people can make world wide calls only at a charge of few seconds for a minute. But with Yahoo! Voice making PC-to-PC calls are totally free. Vonage offers variety of flat rate service plans for unlimited calling and it has taken mainstream Internet Telephone calling. Depending upon your needs Net2Phone will offer a wide variety of calling plans. Microsoft offers another software known as NetMeeting which is capable of offering PC-to-PC and some times PC-to-Phone calls. It can be already installed in some PCs and also can be downloaded from Microsoft web site. It is a product that enables online communication with some excellent features. Skype is a product which offers PC-PC calling at free of charge but SkypeOut which is used for calling telephones is offered at a cost. This product can be used in any of the following platforms such as Pocket PCs, Linux, Windows, and MacOS X. Currently it is being owned by eBay. Also it is very popular among people because of its user friendliness.

Future and current issues various strategies relating to Internet Telephony

Though this technology has shown some successful features there are still some unsolved matters in some countries. It has even reach up to the level of seeking legal advice in order to solve some matters.

Some countries are highly regulating this technology one reason is because this technology uses the internet on a direct basis and some proprietary technologies and products are dominating the market.

Where as some countries who are already involved in screening websites have already banded these free products and relevant projects from their countries. That can be due to security and other issues because ultimately if some major crisis happens there is no way of tracking these incidents with the aid of telephone conversations which some times act as major evidence to a crisis.

But some countries allows the use of this technology only up to a limited extend where people an only use these products for making long distance calls. Yet some countries do not allow locating and using any gate ways within the country for making calls via the Internet. Some countries have found it very hard to regulate this issue within their countries because there are plenty and lot of foreign troops located in their country and they use these kinds of free communication technologies in order to keep in touch with their homeland.

Some very successful countries were able to come up with their own way of operating this technology from few years back. This is mainly because they have the sound talent of handling any technology for their countries own benefit rather than always depending upon what others provide them.

According to the rules and regulations of some countries people do need to follow a very tedious procedure when ever they are trying to adopt a new technology, when try to implement modifications to the countries telecommunication infrastructure and when ever they are trying to bring down various highly sophisticated telecommunication or net work equipment to their own country. The reason for this could be because of various security reasons or because there are various monopolistic forces that still rely on age old technology, currently prevailing in the

countries telecommunication market and they tend to act as invisible forces behind the government policies. Some times due to various red tapes and barriers in counties, telecommunication and network experts tend to leave their own countries and go in search of free lands where they can make use of their own knowledge and do some thing good for the whole world. So the counties will be loosing their own valuable resources just because their policies bottom line tend to state that sacrifice is more important than the usage. In conclusion though Internet Telephony is regarded to be a quite primitive technology, and despite of many positive and negative influences that it has to face from all over the world there is still some hope left at least according to the statistics that this technology will have a bright future in the coming years and also it is still in a stable position to compete with new technologies which keep on blooming day after day. This is mainly because it has been in the hands of the technical experts for some years and people have already gained confidence that they can handle and meddle with this technology rather than always going for the new because some believe that old things are gold. References Voice over Internet Protocol, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, wiki article, January 29 2009, accessed 17 February 2009, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Voice_over_ IP>. Shergold, S 1999, Internet Telephony: An Introduction, Compliance Engineering, accessed 17 February 2009, <http://www.cemag.com/archive/1999/marchapril/Shergold.html >. Beal, V.A. 2007, Quick Reference: Internet Telephony, Webopidia, accessed 17 February 2009, <http://www.webopedia.com/quick_ref/internet_telephony.asp>.