The V2oIP Quality Alliance launched this week — the goal of which is to increase the quality of voice over IP phone calls. Many of the people I spoke with in the organization would prefer the organization be called the Voice, Video Quality Alliance but regardless, that is what the V2oIP acronym stands for and the association’s goal is to improve voice and video quality over IP networks.
You might imagine that today, voice quality has improved so much that we don’t need such an organization. But video quality can still improve and this (link fixed) blog entry shows that voice quality may not be as good as you think.
One last point worth considering is that with all the talk of voice peering, we must realize that quality has the potential to get worse. There are a few reasons for this — increased latency as calls go from one provider to another and transcoding which basically means converting from one codec to another.
Of course when using peering we eliminate the PSTN so we should see gains in voice quality but like everything else over IP — you need to ensure the network is set up correctly to ensure maximal voice quality.
I think the V2oIP Quality Alliance is a positive step towards improving quality in the IP communications world and as more vendors join the cause I hope we can expect higher quality levels in VoIP and video calls.
This release will give some details on who is participating but suffice it to say there is a smattering of IP communications companies represented from across the industry. Ditech Networks is involved in session border control and transcoding so they are a natural in this space. Empirix is a big player in testing across networks from call centers to service provider networks so they too are perfect for this group.
Telchemy has been producing products to ensure VoIP quality since before just about anyone else. Global IP Sound or GIPS the "Voice Engine" company powers so many VoIP solutions such as Skype they obviously belong in this elite group.
Polycom has such a large share of the IP phone market they too are a natural fit. The one surprise for me is JDSU or JDS Uniphase–the high flying company of the optical bubble years. They recently announced an IPTV testing solution so they are a fit here as well — I am just getting used seeing them play in IPTV.
There are a bunch of other vendors who have joined as well — who weren’t in the release.
OK so who is missing? Spirent, Ixia, Cisco, Avaya, Nortel, Mitel, Alcatel, Ericsson, etc. But this is a new initiative and we should be happy that these companies have come together to start this initiative. As I write this there is a rumor circulating that Verizon (or Verizon Wireless — I can’t recall) may be joining this group as well so that would obviously open this up to lots of other service providers.
So this is a great first step and I hope to see more industry participation in this great cause. The only downside is that voice and video quality is too complex an issue to easily tackle — especially across so many vendor platforms. Of course time will tell and even an incremental improvement is better than nothing.