The European Union is considering “binding guidelines” that could force wireless operators to allow mobile VoIP services such as WUG’s service and Skype run over their data networks.

According to German newspaper Handelsblatt the company explicitly voipresponsible for bringing the wrath of the EU is Germany’s Deutsche Telekom. The T-Mobile subsidiary balked at allowing their customers’ access to the more affordable (i.e. free with wireless access) communication tool and categorically denied the use of any form of VoIP software on its network – even the perfectly legal Skype app for the iPhone.

Deutsche Telekom apparently pulled a Time Warner and cited “risk of excessive bandwidth consumption” for their restriction, but the EU isn’t buying it.

(Check out our blog on Time Warner’s decision to effectively limit online video consumption)

However, as you are so aware, blocking a competitor’s service by monopolizing the market makes you very vulnerable to antitrust charges – and this is where Deutsche Telekom presently stands according to Handelsblatt.

The EU’s telecoms commissioner, Viviane Reding, has called for the EU to undo arbitrary obstacles to “innovative services” on cellphones. A draft of the VoIP measure is reportedly completed, but still unfinished due to a lack of precise wording.


Here’s to hoping that our government and the governments in the E.U. continue to challenge companies like Time Warner and T-Mobile’s German subsidiary to embrace and change with today’s innovative technologies instead of simply trying to stand in the way in the name of protecting outdated business models.


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I have made the point in my Technology Seminars in USA and Canada that VoIP imposes additional network requirements. This story in IT Business Canada illustrates the point nicely.

“When voice over IP first began appearing on business networks, many people expected to simply fire it up and start talking. But when they tried it, a lot of what they had to say never made it to the other end of the line – which was probably a good thing, because when they discovered how well VoIP worked on their existing networks, some of their language wasn’t very polite.

Because many early VoIP adopters expected it to be plug and play, networks often got no pre-implementation testing to see if they were ready to handle voice, recalls Brad Masterson, product manager at Mississauga, Ont.-based Fluke Electronics Canada LP, a maker of network testing tools. That frequently led to problems when the IP telephony application was turned on.

In 2003 Jeremy Urwin, a technical sales support director at Telus Corp., told the story of LAN administrator who refused to have Telus check his network for VOIP readiness before going live, even when offered a discount on the work. “The first two calls went through flawlessly, “ Urwin reported. “The third call dropped, and guess who that was? That was the CIO.” Telus belatedly did the readiness report, the network was adjusted – and the customer got a new LAN administrator.

Such hubris on the part of network managers not only cost a few unfortunates their jobs, but battered the reputation of voice over IP technology and some of the vendors who sell it. As a result, some major VOIP vendors now insist on testing every network on which they install their wares to make sure beforehand that it’s ready for voice.”

Read the complete story here.

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A recent eWeek article talks about yet another kind of convergence; that between fixed and mobile VoIP.

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As voice over IP completes its first decade, the technology has become firmly established in corporate voice, data and video communications networks.

Now the eyes of the VOIP community are turning to what might be the next big thing on the horizon, FMC (fixed-mobile convergence), or the ability of cell phones and VOIP devices to send and receive voice and video calls—even though significant technology hurdles stand in the way.

“[FMC] is a good cool thing. I hope it happens in our lifetime, but if it does, it means we have a secret sauce for seamless roaming,” said Jeff Pulver, chairman of Pulvermedia, which sponsored the VON Enterprise conference here, at which his remarks came.

In a demonstration that such convergence might not be too far off, Pulver initiated at the show a video call from his laptop PC to the cell phone of a worker at the offices of Radvision in Tel Aviv, Israel. The call worked and Pulver’s Radvision contact appeared in a video screen, although the video quality was not completely life-like.

The VON conference marked the 10-year anniversary of VOIP technology, during which time VOIP has grown from the status of a fringe method of carrier bypass to broad acceptance by corporations, individuals and telecom carriers—a remarkable transformation that vindicates Pulver’s early enthusiasm for the technology.

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I recently uncovered a cool post on VoIP Lowdown.

VoIP technology has the tech geeks buzzing. It has been touted as:

– the killer of telecoms
– a solution for the third world’s communication gap
– revolutionizing factor in international business

But despite all the buzz, and the predictions that everyone will be it using it by 2009, why does it seem that every time you make a phone call with Skype the quality stinks…or that your Vonage calls constantly get dropped…or worse, that teenage hackers are stealing your personal information and bringing down the whole network?

A VoIP network is susceptible to the usual attacks that plague all data networks:

…viruses, spam, phishing, hacking attempts, intrusions, mismanaged identities, Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, lost and stolen data, voice injections, data sniffing, hijacked calls, toll fraud, eavesdropping, and on and on and on.

The only difference is, with other technologies people take basic steps to protect themselves. With VoIP, nobody is doing so. As a result, all we hear about in the mainstream media is how vulnerable and unreliable VoIP is. And let’s face it…until people start taking the steps to safeguard their networks, this technology isn’t going to go places.

So for those you geeks who want to see the technology get broadly adopted, (and maybe fulfill some of the lofty aspirations mentioned above) start by first protecting your own VoIP network, and then helping to protect those of your friends and neighbors. Pretty soon, we can dump the “vulnerable” label and start gaining some non-techie fans.

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WhatsUp Professional(R) Enables Intelimind to Deliver Enterprise-Class Network Monitoring Services to Small and Mid-Sized Businesses

LEXINGTON, MA — (MARKET WIRE) — October 30, 2006 — Ipswitch, Inc., a leading developer of network management, messaging and file transfer solutions, today announced that Intelimind, a leading service provider of network infrastructure managed solutions, has selected WhatsUp Professional to provide enterprise-level network monitoring services to the SMB market. Intelimind uses Ipswitch WhatsUp Professional to extend its core level of network infrastructure managed services to organizations that do not always have the resources to employ full-time network managers.

“Although SMBs may not have access to the same level of IT resources that enterprises do, their networks are just as critical to their businesses and they must constantly manage network activity in order to identify threats and maximize uptime,” said Ennio Carboni, director of product management at Ipswitch. “They are becoming increasingly reliant on their networks for crucial business processes as more and more applications are being written for their unique needs, yet they don’t have large IT staffs to oversee their networks and, in many cases, rely on part-time IT people to manage this critical component of their businesses.”

read more “Ipswitch WhatsUp Professional Selected by Intelimind to Power Managed Network Monitoring Services”