Category Archives: Voice over IP

Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) cell phones support GSM and Wi-Fi

New Unlicensed Mobile Access (or UMA) cell phones from manufacturers such as Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson are expected to deliver connectivity to both the traditional cell phone infrastructure (through GSM) and to VOIP services through Wi-Fi. However, its yet to be seen whether such functionality will provide competition and lower rates for consumers or whether these devices will be sucked up through exclusive deals by the dominant cell phone companies in the North American market, with the VOIP functionality tied to their networks. In other words, they’ll automatically switch to the cell phone operator’s VOIP service when used inside the home or in the office where cellular connectivity may be weak but where a strong wi-fi signal may be available, but won’t necessarily offer lower rates for such usage. To get the best of both worlds, I suspect early adopters will still need to carry two phones.

SMC All-in-one Travel Voice Gateway SMCWTVG

Talk about an all-in-one device. The new SMC Travel Voice Gateway (SMCWTVG) has almost everything a road warrior could ask for. It can be used as a wireless wi-fi (802.11b/g) access point, client or bridge. 1 FXS and 1 FXO interfaces (with RJ-11 connectors which can be connected to traditional telephones) for Voice-over-IP support. Address Translation (NAT), SPI Firewall and VPN pass-through. Expected to retail at US$199. Availability by end of Q1 from retail channels.

From HardwareZone and The VOIP Conversation.

IPeerX – a VOIP peering service has announced the launch of IPeerX, a VOIP peering service (which originated with FWD) that can be used by VOIP service providers to interconnect their networks and bypass the local public switched telephone network (PSTN) from calls made from the subscriber of one service to the subscriber of a different service. Over 130 service providers are already connected.

The Interconnection Agreement that participating VOIP service providers must agree to is amazingly short and stated to be “non-binding”. I guess there weren’t any lawyers around.

Jajah – Read the find print

ExtremeVOIP warns potential users of a new VOIP service, Jajah, to read the fine print. According to ExtremeVOIP: The company’s privacy policy and EULA, however, seem to imply that the service could be used as a window into a user’s online activities, including monitoring a user’s surfing habits and the content a user posts to message boards and web sites, sending him spam, disclosing personal information to third parties without control and consent, and even potentially allowing a third party to eavesdrop on the conversation.

However, upon a closer look, many of the provisions may not be as bad as they appear. They may simply be the result of inconcise drafting by the author of the terms of use and the privacy policy or the company’s desire to warn customers of the potential risks involved. However, it does appear to show that there is growing sensitivity to security and privacy issues. Lawyers acting for Internet companies need to pay additional attention to the wording of contracts and privacy policies they create for their clients.

Vonage Developments

There have been many recent posts regarding Vonage’s IPO. However, the news that I found more interesting comes from VOIP and Gadgets Blog’s posting – a source informed them that Vonage may open up its SIP credentials to enable users to configure their own SIP softphones and SIP hardphones to work with the Vonage service at no additional charge. I for one had tried the Vonage service early on and had terminated my account due to two factors: (i) many Vonage competitors were less expensive and (ii) the Vonage service would only work with locked telephone adapters and did not allow the freedom of using softphones or wi-fi voip handsets except as an add-on (and at an additional cost). Who wants to have to carry a bulky voice-over-IP adapter around when traveling? On the other hand, Vonage is larger and more credible than many of the smaller VOIP players. If they did open up their service, I would definitely consider re-activating service with them.

Telecommunications Policy Review Panel and Network Neutrality

Canada’s Telecommunications Policy Review Panel is expected to issue its report later this month or sometime in February. Hopefully, the concerns addressed will include the issue of network neutrality. A number of the public submissions supported implementation of a policy providing for network neutrality – including those filed by Michael Geist (pdf), Patricia Arney (doc) and Tucows (doc). Not surprisingly, the Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association took the position that regulatory intervention supporting network neutrality was not required.