VoIP Peering and Metcalfe’s Law

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VoIP Peering and Metcalfe’s Law

For years now I have been writing about VoIP/voice peering (Where Is VoIP Peering Headed?, CableLabs VoIP Peering RFI, INTERNET TELEPHONY Magazine Declares 2006 Year of VoIP Peering, Peering Into The Future), , ) and discussing how this concept is changing the way voice calls are being transmitted. Using VoIP peering, you can reduce cost while increasing voice quality. This is possible because typically when a caller using one VoIP provider calls someone on another VoIP network the call must travel over the PSTN – increasing fees and latency in the process.

VoIP peering eliminates the need for this transition to the PSTN altogether. Calls stay native VoIP from end to end.

The latest news in the world of VoIP peering is that SunRocket has joined the VPF meaning the company could in essence have their customer’s calls stay native VoIP from end to end, never touching the PSTN.

I don’t want to get ahead of this announcement but assuming SunRocket provided customers with stereo headphones and other VoIP providers decided to peer with SunRocket, all VoIP callers could make stereophonic conversations between one another. Sure this is forward-looking but it helps to think about how VoIP is not just about cheap calls – but better calls.

Getting back to all the articles I have written about VoIP peering, keep in mind TMC also launched the world’s first VoIP Peering Summit at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo a few years back. We were the first conference organizer to understand why VoIP peering is such a big deal.

This fall, there will be even more voice peering content at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo. We have worked with the VPF to come up with a killer workshop on voice peering. We decided to call it (drum roll please) the “Voice Peering Workshop“ – pretty creative huh? ;)

We also decided to make this workshop free so that we could educate the maximum number of people about VoIP Peering. As you may recall, I declared 2006 the year of VoIP Peering and I think there seems to be such a level of critical mass making this prediction accurate. After all with AT&T, wireless carriers, SunRocket and Cable companies all peering there is major representation in multiple segments of the telecom market.

The next phase of peering will be larger enterprise, government and universities who are already begin to get the benefits of peering. As more and more entities join peering networks the value of the peering network grows exponentially. That is just not conjecture it is pretty much an accepted theory of computing known as Metcalfe’s Law.

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

Metcalfe's law states that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of users of the system (n2). First formulated by Robert Metcalfe in regard to Ethernet, Metcalfe's law explains many of the network effects of communication technologies and networks such as the Internet and World Wide Web.

The law has often been illustrated using the example of fax machines: A single fax machine is useless, but the value of every fax machine increases with the total number of fax machines in the network, because the total number of people with whom you may send and receive documents increases.

To get back to learning about peering, at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo there will be many sessions on VoIP peering so if you are looking to learn more about one of the most important developments in the world of communications, be sure to come to all of these sessions.


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