A Close Look at P2P VoIP Session

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A Close Look at P2P VoIP Session

As mentioned in my previous blog entry, I just got out of the "A Close Look at P2P VoIP", which I moderated and included Skype, Popular Telephony, Teleo, and Nimcat Networks as panelists. It was one of the best most dynamic sessions I've ever attended and I don't say that just because I was moderating the session. No one wanted to leave the room even when the Q&A was finished. Many of the audience members came to the front of the room to personally speak with the P2P VoIP panelists or myself. P2P VoIP certainly has a lot of buzz and interest.

During the session, I "primed the pump" by asking the initial questions, letting the audience warm-up, and then the audience asked some great questions. For example, the third largest Alaskan carrier (name escapes me at the moment) asked a great question asking "If everything is P2P voice, how do we make any money? Or do we just become a dumb bandwidth pipe?"

I asked a very long-winded question, "As you know, the traditional PSTN consists of 'islands' of carriers that then terminate and exchange traffic with other carriers charging a termination or access fee. Today, Skype is an 'island', Nimcat Networks is an 'island', Popular Telephony is an 'island'. Do you envision an open P2P telephony standard with the ability for separate P2P networks to communicate?"

Dmitry from Popular Telephony had the most insightful answer of all the panelists. After my long-winded question, he answered with a short two word answer - "No. Impossible".

<audience laughter>

Some other panelists addressed the question and talked about how through SIP it is technically possible. And to be fair to Dmitry he clarified his answer by explaining that from a mathematical perspective it is impossible, that P2P engines by their very nature are mathematical models that are unique to each P2P network, but that indeed you can communicate with other P2P networks.

My last question was "I'm going to ask the panelists to prognasticate what's going to happen 10 years from now. What will the carrier level look like and what will the customer premise look like and what role will P2P VoIP play?". I threw the question to Skype first, and asked "What do you see 10 years from now and is there anything interesting Skype is working on currently? We can all sign an NDA and not tell anyone, honest"

<audience laughter>

I could tell you Skype's response, but you should have been at the session! I can't type the sessions' entire transcript. To borrow a quote from Dr. McCoy - "I'm a blogger not a court stenographer!"



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