Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Coming VoIP Battle

The article is rather old but worth noting. I imagine this technology will become perfected as a means of stopping Skype users from using their phones to make free calls. No one may complain if and when Verizon, AT&T, and the rest come out with their own VoIP services.
Mobile phone operators around the world are investing in equipment to counter what they see as a growing threat to their voice revenues from voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.

The moves add impetus to a petition that leading VoIP player Skype lodged with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last month demanding that mobile phone network operators allow their customers access to VoIP services via their mobile phones.

The gear in question is Deep Packet Investigation (DPI) equipment, which analyzes and identifies data packets as they flow across a carrier’s network.

Initial investigations using DPI have startled carriers. One major European operator recently found that Skype usage over its network was far higher than its worst fears, according to DPI equipment supplier Allot Communications of Israel.

“Revenue loss was staggering,” according to Antoine Guy, Allot’s marketing director.

Some carriers are blocking access to web sites from which Skype software can be downloaded as a result of what they have learned from DPI technologies.

For example, Volubill said its technology can analyze traffic patterns and identify the traffic as Skype with a high degree of accuracy and subsequently block it. But Skype may then be able to dynamically reroute around the technology by using other ports, for example, which then need to be identified in the same way, said David Knox, product marketing director at Volubill.

But that does not mean that carriers are not trying to do just that. South African carrier MTN and Vodafone’s German subsidiary have both informed customers that Skype usage could lead to cancellation of their services.