Goodbye PSTN

The following was written yesterday and did not post. This is my final VPF Summer 2008 post.

Shrihari Pandit got on stage this morning to kick off day 2 of VPF Summer 2008 (1,2,3,4,5) and discussed how the VPF is a distributed Ethernet network which has grown in 9 cities in the US and London. He then explained a bit about the ENUM database and how it is useful in a multilateral architecture. This allows automated [voice] peering – you can send calls to any other network [as long as the number is in the ENUM database] for free. This assumes that peering partners agree of course.

He went on to say there are now 40 million numbers in the VPF ENUM database. “One quarter of a billion calls annually are routed annually through the ENUM database at the VPF,” according to Pandit.

Pandit explained that there is now functional separation of the network allowing Internet companies to take advantage of the ENUM database as well.

You can also now create groups within the database and invite other companies you have bilateral agreements with to join you. You can also specify how the calls route. Users can also take part in multiple groups if they like.

Shrihari said he wants to help enable the shutdown of the PSTN and opening the ENUM database allows companies to hasten its demise.

Pandit explained all this is still free as long as you are a member of the VPF.

He also explained the VPF trading platform allows calls to get routed through user-defined metrics based on quality, LCR, routing, etc. This functionality is enabled by session border control company Sansay which is now tightly integrated into the VPF. Currently, the Sansay SBC will be handling signaling.

He also announced big news… Reliance Globalcom subscribers are now on net through the VPF registry and trading platform — this includes tens of million numbers being added to the VPF ENUM database. Pandit went on to say this extends the reach of the VPF to 50 countries.

Shrihari detailed how his platform now partnered with Reliance allows a call’s billing to be granular controlled — allowing carriers to pay for only what they use and not full circuits when making calls which go through multiple carriers.

So any company can now create its own community via the public Internet, allow other communities to connect to their community and get paid when calls are terminated to their group.

Here are some other points from the Q&A session which followed:

  • The trading platform will be in US dollars for now
  • Next year we can expect other currencies
  • Service providers have an account in the trading platform and the accounts get debit and credits as required

What this amounts to is bringing peering, billing, ENUM and settlement into the Web 2.0 age, allowing an even larger group of companies to take advantage of the principles of voice peering. With the addition of Reliance to the ENUM database, we can expect other international carriers to also join the VPF and ENUM database and as these transitions take place, Pandit is likely correct… The PSTN’s days are indeed numbered.

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