Friday, September 30, 2005

RED ALERT: Neustar and GSMA jointly leaving the Internet and setting up an alternate ROOT 

Neustar and GSMA announced in a press release on Wednesday (completely ignored by the community) with the following title:

GSM Association and NeuStar Sign Agreement to Offer Root DNS Services to More than 680 Global GSM Mobile Operators
NeuStar’s Root DNS service will serve two functions: first, to register domain names under the suffixes “gprs” and “,” which are used to register private domain names that allow operators to retrieve routing information when a subscriber accesses data and multimedia services on a roaming or home network. For example, a U.S. mobile subscriber traveling on business in Singapore will be able to access a video or audio file using their mobile device while roaming on a local GSM network.
This implies that both are ignoring the advice given by the IAB based on RFC2826 to 3GPP NOT to use non-existent top level domain names in private trees because of the danger of leakage.

In addition, the mobile operators will try to set up a complete separate "walled-garden" Internet with the help of Neustar to keep their customers locked in. So you will get a SIP URI such as*

* usable only within mobile IMS networks
Additionally, NeuStar will operate the master DNS root server and provide updates to GRX (GPRS Roaming Exchange) and MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) providers, allowing mobile operators to access updated DNS routing information. “NeuStar’s Root DNS service supports carrier-grade reliability and availability, ensuring seamless business operations involving DNS, such as domain name registrations, calls, messages and session processing,” said Jeff Ganek chairman and CEO, NeuStar. “Due to IP-based network convergence, NeuStar’s DNS services will play an increasingly vital role in the mobile industry for data and content services such as multimedia messaging services (MMS), push-to-talk over Cellular (PoC), and IP multimedia service (IMS).”
This is outrageous.

After the VON Blur - A wrap-up 

One week after the Fall VON 2005 I finally have some time left to get my act together and to make a wrap-up from this outstanding event. First of all I want to congratulate Jeff, Carl, Diana and the rest of the crew for the perfect organization - the only minus was the somewhat confusing layout of the program guide.

The VON was impressive by sheer size: 7000 participants, 400+ exhibitors and (too) many presentations. But was it worth the effort? For me, personally? Did it have a lasting impression on my picture of the telecommunication world, do I have to change my views?

Yes and no. It did not change my basic views, but I got a strong confirmation and many new arguments and background information to back these views up.

For me the VON is basically an instrument to gather new information on upcoming trends, so I am most interested in the keynotes, in networking and in talking to friends and in making new friends and to visit some break-out sessions on the topics I am interested in or working on. This leaves not much time for the exhibition. I just go to some well-know stands to say hello and try to get an overall impression.

There was of course a lucky coincidence with important external events: the new developments in the US regarding Emergency Services and the discussions regarding changes to the out-dated Telecommunications Act, the heated discussions on the sense or nonsense of IMS and NGN, the implications of Katrina on telecommunications (e.g. P2P and viral networks, the Skype-eBay deal and the related-to article in The Economist, leading to the discussion of one of the most important question: who will be the future players in telecommunications? The fixed-line telcos and/or the mobile operators with their walled gardens or the new elephants such as Yahoo!, Google, Amazon, eBay/Skype/Paypal? And what the hell is going on with Microsoft?

To start with the negative: The silent absence of the FCC at this VON was very loud and confirmed the impression I had from the last rulings, especially the somewhat weird and hastily rolled out on emergency services: the FCC is currently heading in the wrong direction.

So what are my take aways?

There is a fierce battle going on between two (technical and business) models: the open end-to-end Internet model and the walled-garden vertical stovepipe NGN IMS model.

This battle will finally be decided by the convergence point: the customer. He or she will finally decide if she wants to use the walled-garden applications of the IMS or the open applications provided by the new elephants. She will have to pay for both, the question is only, how much.

My impression is that this battle is already decided:

IMS will be too late (if ever), too expensive, too complex, too restrictive (there will always be something new and exiting available outside), I do not even believe it will more secure or provide a better QoS.

IMS is now working on PSTN emulation and/or simulation (I never get the difference and what is what). Is this what the new customers, e.g. the kids want? Skype et. al. are already offering the first VoIP 2.0 applications, as Brad Garlinghouse (Yahoo!) showed in his presentation.

It was always said by some proponents of SIP that SIP goes beyond VoIP, especially beyond POTSoIP. This will also be a lesson the current Vonage-type providers still have to learn.

Of course customers want to be mobile and nomadic, but the also want a seamless integration of all applications (voice, video, TV, IM, chat, conferencing, presence, e-mail, filesharing, contact information, identity, identiy, identity, ...) on one device, but they also want to change this device at any time.

It was also said that the telcos cannot compete, because it will take them too long to develop new applications to compete with the new entrants.

So I recommend that the telcos concentrate primarily on the asset they have, the access and the (local) backbone. There will be only local competition. This does not imply that they do not provide (hosting) services for their customers, but they should keep in mind that here they have to compete globally. Some telcos seem to have gotten this message or at least their borad members (e.g. Bell Canada), some not (e.g. Bell South). Bell South is still betting on IMS and will end-up with stranded cost. Some telcos still have not made up their mind yet, which side to take and may end up in limbo.

They should also NOT try to (b)lock their customers in, because their customers will not like this and second, it is useless, as Google has proved this also last week with the "secure WiFi" VPN beta.

This is valid both for fixed- and mobile (wireless) providers.

There was only one displeasing issue pointed out for me by Brough Turner in his presentation: the telcos are squeezed also from the lower layer (layer 0 is he named it). The access is also not a safe heaven in future, because there is (will be) competition here too by independent FTTH providers. They will lease, rent or sell the fiber to the customer. And if the customer has finally a fiber to the home, he is set. The currently existing bandwith gap is solved. And the customer now may choose his ISP at the co-location room.

So both for IMS and access we are finally back to Clay Shirky: you can compete with everybody, but not with your customer.

The regulators are cursed, they live in "Interesting Times": how to deal with this new developments? The existing telecom laws are technology neutral -- as long as the technology is circuit-switched.

The regulators should be very happy with the global competition on the application layer, this is what they always wanted and stated (at least in Europe with their 18 markets - it is all about ensureing competition - or so they say). They went in all this hazzle about carrier selection, number portability, unbundling, regulating the incumbent with significant market power ex-ante and ex-post, etc. Now they should be happy if an end-user may select his VoIP provider on a call-by-call basis on his Snom phone or by using one of the five soft-phone running on the lap-top, but they are not.

They should immediately prohibit port-blocking, because this is also "unbundling", but they do not.

So was all this talk about competition and de-regulation, fostering innovative services and doing the best for the customer and the economy hot-air?

They should go back, re-read their telecom laws and concentrate on preventing bottle-necks, care about universal service (needs to be redefined to broadband), emergency services and lawfull intercept (this seems to be unavoidable today).

So it was a very impressive and interesting week.

PS: about concerns

It seems cool today to have concerns. Everybody has concerns. If somebody comes up with a new idea, some time ago everybody was fascinated and said, let's try it out.

Nowadays everybody has concerns. Either the idea is killed immediately or you are only allowed to do a trial. During the trial you show that there are no real problems. In the meantime they do not think about how to improve the idea, they think about how to come up with additional concerns to be solved in an additional trial, and so on. You can implement the idea or product only if all concerns are taken care of, including the global warming and world hunger.

Of course in the old days there where also concerns: when they implemented the first railways, some people said this must not be allowed because nobody can stand a speed over 25mph and all people on the train will be DoA.

We would have no railways, no cars, no air-planes, no Internet, no mobile phones, etc. today.

EPIC 2014 and Google.zon 

Not only the Telcos seem to have problems with the new communication elephants:

EPIC 2014 from the Museum of Media History (8 min).

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Laughing Stock IMS 

Martin Geddes and James Enck seem to have a lot of fun and some beers together in Amsterdam. After a panel session on IMS and obviously some beers he wrote the ultimate post on IMS I have ever seen, as guest blogger on Skype Journal: IMS: It means something?

A must read, I am still ROTFL.

Well done, Martin, perfect.

Germany soon in live-operation? 

I participated yesterday in Frankfurt at the 5th ENUM-Day organized by, the German ccTLD and also responsible for the ENUM Trial. The program can be found here.

It started with a surprise. Andeas Bäß (Boardmember DeNIC) declared the Trial to be finished and presented the results. He also declared that ENUM in Germany is now ready for commercial operation, to be started latest January 1th, 2006. After Sandra Stickelmann gave some details of the operational model and policy, Dr. Mirko Paschke from the Bundesnetzagentur (former RegTP) gave his view on this.

The big surprise here was that the regulator was also taken by surprise about the end of the trial (he has not seen the document yet), and he was also VERY surprised about the statement of Andreas Bäß that operation will commence end of this year.

Although he appreciated that the trial has ended and commercial operation may start soon in principle, he pointed to the fact that first the ministry of trade (BMWA) has to agree. In addition a call for bids and a contract between the BMWA or the Bundesnetzagentur may be required. (See also Monika Ermert - (German).

In the discussion Andreas Bäß stated that ENUM is dealing with domain names and therefore the Bundesnetzagentur has no say. This was definitely - to formulate it correctly - not a very wise statement. Maybe he should go back and (re-)read the "Interim Procedures for geographic country codes", especially section:

3.4 Change in National Position

If a Member State notifies the TSB of a change in its position, the TSB will communicate that change to RIPE NCC, who will implement the change. The changes can be:
  1. A previously granted approval becomes an objection. In this case, the delegation will be removed and ENUM will no longer be available for the concerned CC.

  2. A previously stated opposition, or lack of approval, becomes an approval. In this case, the delegation will be granted and ENUM will be available for the concerned CC.

  3. There is a change in the party to which the CC is delegated, that is, a change in the ENUM Tier 1 Registry. In this case, the TSB will notify RIPE NCC of that change and the change will be implemented.
That is, a Member State may at any time stop, enable, or change ENUM delegations.

So tomorrow the BWMA may get funny and tell the ITU-TSB and RIPE to change the delegation of to say or (because they have more experience and are running the more advanced registry system) - and DeNIC is done.

One last remark to this issue: Thou shalt not take your regulator by surprise.

In the afternoon Rich Shockey and I gave presentations on the current developments in IETF and other standard bodies and also about the status of discussions on Carrier ENUM. Adrian Georgescu followed with a excellent presentation on Number Portability using SIP and ENUM.

Tim Denton (who to my surprise also showed up in Frankfurt) and I liked most was Adrians advice what regulators should really do:
  • Explain what ENUM is because nobody knows (my say ;-)
  • Require VoIP Operators to provide SIP URIs
  • Require national domain registry to support ENUM
  • Require telcos to have ENUM enabled gateways
Also Henry Sinnreich will like this ;-)

Adrian presented the netheads view of NP, SIP and ENUM.

The next presentation was from Martin Fröhlich (Telefonica). He presented the bellheads view. My take from this presentation was that one of us two has a serious problem in understanding IP, SIP and ENUM.

All presentations can be downloaded from here.

Welcome +63 Phillipines to ENUM 

The ITU-TSB has approved the request (19.9.2005) from the Phillipines for delegation of today:
The Commission on Information and Communications Technology(CICT) has selected Advanced Science and Technology Institute of the Department of Science and Technology(ASTI-DOST) as the Tier-1 Registry Provider for the domain for the ENUM Trial in the Philippines.

The National Telecommunications Commission(NTC), the ITU registered National Administration, have also endorsed ASTI to use the +63 delegation for the ENUM trial.

ASTI-DOST hereby requests for the delegation of the ENUM domain for the Philippines E.164 country code +63.
Welcome to the club.

BT vs. Skype - What is the half of zero? 

I am using Skype mostly for Skype-Skype calls, paying 0 pence (0 cent). The rest I call on SIP. The few calls I am doing to the PSTN is a max. of 1 Euro/month. How many users can one reach with BT Communicatior? I do not know, because I am not using BT Communicator. But I bet the community is much smaller then the Skype community (Metcalfe's Law). How does BT compete here?

Again, who is the David and who is the Goliath?

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

David vs Goliath or BT vs. Skype 

I just do not know who is David and who is Goliath?

In today's Herald Tribune International under the heading "BT Group takes aim at an Internet phone rival" (namely Skype) it said that BT Group announced on Tuesday that it would offer international calls half the price of Skype.

The catch is that this offer is only valid for BT's PC-based phone service BT Communicator. A 60-minute call to the US would cost 30 pence instead of 72p charged by Skype. BT standard fixed-line customers stilled get ripped of with 300p.

"Skype is the real competition for us" said John Petter, chief operating officer for BT's consumer division. Aha, BT is well advanced, at least they have got the wake-up call. Other carriers are still sleeping well and dreaming.

"There's going to be a bunch of customers who are going to move quickly to VoIP" said Dimitri Ypsilanti, a telecommunications analyst from the OECD in Paris. "It's really showing that a Goliath is as flexiible and innovative as David. This is an important marketing coup".

I wonder. Is it really innovative to compete with Skype on price? Good luck.
And a marketing coup? Pissing-off the "standard" customers?

And again, who are the David's and the Goliath's here.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Fall VON 2005 Day 3 - XConnect Dinner 

In the evening I was invited by Eli Katz (CEO XConnect and CoFounder of ITSPA) to the XConnect Dinner. XConnect is the world's largest and fastest growing ITSP peering alliance and using ENUM technology.

I was sitting with Eli on my left and Jon Arnold (a co-blogger) on my right. It was a very interesting and enjoyable evening. The dinner ended about 10pm, some of guests now joined the Pulver Party, but for me this exhaustive day was completely finished.

Fall VON 2005 Day 3 - Public and Private ENUM Issues 

My next panel was the BoF: Public and Private ENUM Issues in the afternoon. All presentations can be found here.

The panel was moderated by Karen Mulberry (MCI and Chair CC1 ENUM LLC). Karen gave a short introduction of the speakers, the topics to be covered in the panel and the USG guiding principles.

Next to speak was Richard Shockey (Neustar and Co-Chair of the IETF ENUM WG). Rich gave in his presentation a short introduction of the status of work in the IETF ENUM WG, the three faces of ENUM (Public, Private and Carrier ENUM). It was decided at the last IETF in Paris to discuss Carrier ENUM within IETF ENUM WG, which requires a re-charter of the ENUM WG. This is currently ongoing, but complicated by the reorganization of the IETF areas itself. The IETF is currently creating a new "Real-Time Application and Infrastructure (RAI) Area:

“The Real-Time Applications and Infrastructure Area develops protocols and architectures for delay-sensitive interpersonal communications and will consist of the WG's SIP, SIPPING, XCON, SIMPLE, GEOPRIV, ECRIT, ENUM, IPTEL, MEGACO, MMUSIC, IEPREP, SPEECHSC, and SIGTRAN"

One reason of the change in mind at IETF to deal with Carrier ENUM also was the outcome of the VOIPEER BoF also held at the IETF#63 meeting in Paris. At this session a strong need for Carrier ENUM was expressed. Regarding this needs, the problems with Carrier ENUM are quite simple, the real problem will be a common agreement on VoIP Peering (as I also pointed out in my presentation), which as a pre-requisite for any ENUM implementation. This is still far away, or as Rich said next day on the End-to-End IP Peering Panel: "There where 200 people in the room of the IETF voipeer BoF, and at least 250 opinions." Rich is listing some of the issues in his presentation. He closed his presentation with the statement: ENUM is the NGN IP-SCP and as usual with:

Penn Pfautz (AT&T) gave in his presentation a short overview on the issues with Carrier ENUM and also some answers to the non-issues:
  • Will carrier ENUM be implemented (yes)
  • Will it compromise user privacy? (no)
  • Will there be private ENUM deployments? (done)
Under what auspices and domain will carrier ENUM be implemented?
  • Carrier ENUM will be implemented,
  • it could be implemented synergistically with UserENUM under
  • it may initially be implemented locally
How open will carrier ENUM be?
  • Carrier ENUM could be implemented in the public DNS, potentially facilitating an evolution toward “Internet Interconnection”
  • Carrier ENUM could be implemented in the public DNS with carriers still requiring interconnection agreements before accepting traffic terminations and providing different POIs for different connecting entities
  • Carrier ENUM could be implemented privately as a closed user group with query access restricted to carrier members
Does public ENUM have a future?
  • By and large, public end user ENUM trials have not indicated a strong market, though an enterprise private ENUM market does exist
  • Carrier ENUM could subsidize initial deployment of user ENUM if implemented in a common infrastructure
Michael Haberler (IPA and followed Penn and explained in detail the options currently discussed at IETF how to integrate Carrier ENUM into

He listed the requirements for a solution:
  • single DNS lookup
  • no shape change for User ENUM
  • additional functionality/code only for carrier resolvers.
  • work with closed and open number plans – avoid wildcards / enable DNSSEC
  • no new NAPTRs just for resolution
  • deployment in finite time
  • local decisions as far as possible
  • no revisiting of global agreements like the interim procedures
  • Address privacy concerns – disclosure of unlisted numbers, user identity
and his proposal is:
  • Add a Carrier ENUM subtree (branch) under
  • Branch location is a per-CC decision
  • Provide mechanism to locate country CE subtree
  • Carriers may populate that subtree
  • What a „carrier“ is is a national matter
  • This suggest a branch under
  • But also enable different scenarios like:
  • or
Regarding resolution and management, Carrier and User ENUM tree should be „ships in the night“

The way forward could be:
  • Get combined ENUM through IETF - ENUM WG addresses only resolution
  • Get consensus as to how the „interconnect agreement“ is mapped into Carrier ENUM semantics
  • Getting service into the field
My presentation was the last of these presentations and focused basically on one point mentioned in the previous presentations - the relationship between ENUM and VoIP Interconnect (VoIP Peering):

It has already be shown that User ENUM does not fly without VoIP Peering - the same is true for Carrier ENUM.

Henry Sinnreich said this all the time, also in his new book SIP beyond VoIP he asks the question: What is real VoIP?

Does the VoIP service allow the user to print on the business card,
  • one single phone number (using ENUM) and/or
  • a SIP URI?
If the answer is YES, then the service is VoIP.

If the anser is NO, it is just an emulation of the circuit switched voive service of the PSTN

So I concluded:
  • If Carrier ENUM is intended to allow the mapping of any E.164 number that can be reached on IP to a SIP URI, Carrier ENUM must be in the public DNS.
  • But this is useless, if the resulting SIP URI cannot be reached. So for Carrier ENUM also an IP Interconnect (VoIP Peering) regime is required.
Work on VoIP Peering is of highest priority, but first we have to get the 250+ opinions mentioned above down to say 5 or 10.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Fall VON 2005 Day 3 - Emergency Services 

Finally back in Vienna, I will now try to catch up with my reporting from the VON. On Wednesday I had two panels to participate. The first was in the morning break-out sessions: Emergency Services for Internet Communications.

The panel bas basically a status report of the IETF ECRIT work currently going on and what's needed to complete this work and get it implemented in today's marketplace. Both co-chairs (Hannes Tschofenig and Marc Linsner) where on the panel and presented the status of ECRIT. This presentation is already available here. Everybody interested in the ongoing work of ECRIT may also go to the weblog on ECRIT and use the RSS feed.

First priority of ECRIT work is the get the requirements document and the threats and security considerations done. The central point for emergency services on the Internet from the ECRIT perspective is the mapping database providing the URI of a PSAP for a given location. Currently three proposals are on the table and the next task of ECRIT after finalizing the requirements will be do select either one of these proposals or define a combination of these. The good news here is that ECRIT should not define any new protocols, but re-use existing protocols from other IETF workgroups, especially SIP, SIPPING and GEOPRIV. One of the proposals for the mapping protocol is based on DNS, another on IRIS.

The next speakers where Henning Schulzrinne and Brian Rosen, both heavily involved in ECRIT and also in NENA work. NENA is currently undertaking a public consultation of the "i2" protocol interfacing with the US national access to PSAP on the PSTN and also working on an Internet only solution in parallel in close cooperation with IETF ECRIT.

Motoharu Kawanishi gave an overview of the status of VoIP and Eemergency Services in Japan.

Emergency Services for the Internet are currently on track and first solutions and implementations may be expected in one or two years. On the other hand, many countries are already forcing VoIP providers to provide ad-hoc solutions (e.g. the US) or are planning to do so.

These solutions are targeted against "interconnected" VoIP providers (whatever that is) or against PATS providers (another term nobody understands really).

National regulators miss two points:
1. there are not only national VoIP providers
2. There are also citizens from other countries visiting and may need to make an emergency call.

My presentation showed a way forward to allow emergency calls from any VoIP provider within a reasonable timeframe:
  • IETF ECRIT is working on a future solution to enable IP end-points to communicate with IP-PSAPs.
  • But most PSAPs are still on the PSTN and can only be reached via national specific emergency systems.
  • Regulators currently are requesting the capability to make emergency calls from "Interconnected VoIP" providers (only) - i.e. POTSoIP providers.
This is not a good idea.
  • Any VoIP provider MUST be able to provide their customers the capability to make emergency calls.
  • But one cannot expect (especially from global VoIP providers) to interface with all 200+ and different national specific emergency systems.
  • So VoIP providers will need some assistance. (Note: one should not forget that ECRIT is defining an architecture where the end-user may no need a service provider at all to contact the nearest PSAP, so why should VoIP provider be required now to put any effort and expenses in a system that may by-pass them in the future?)
  • So I proposed to provide national default Emergency Service Routing Proxies (ESRP) feeding the calls to national or state default PSAPs.
This could be improved gradually and seamlessly to comply with future solutions.

Friday, September 23, 2005

A bad communication day 

I know I owe you still the days 3 and 4 from the VON, but I will do this over the weekend. Currently I am sitting onboard of the Lufthansa plane to FRA and fuming. This day was not good at all, communications wise. Skype, Lufthansa Connexion and MS Exchange.

It started with Skype Zones. I subscribed Skype Zones before I went to Boston and wanted to check it out here. I also checked out some WiFi places near the Prudential. But because the Copley Square Hotel featured free WiFi and it was a busy week, I finally forgot to check it out.

On Logan Airport I opened my laptop asking myself if they still are so stupid like last year to have only one WiFi offer - that is: 8$ for 24 hours. Since also did not intend to stay 24h on Logan this year, I did not take the offer.

But, surprise, surprise, the SkypeZones SW chimed in and told me that I are in a SkypeZones Network. Do yoo want to connect? Ok, I wanted.

After working away some time, it came up with one of the most stupid error messages I ever saw, and I saw many in my computer life, trust me:

You appear to be offline
For assistance, please e-mail Skype at

What do they mean with offline? I was online at the WiFi and could have been connected if I would have been so stupid and paid the 8 bucks, Since I did not pay the 8 bucks, I was of course off-line from the Internet, and basically I subscribed to SkypeZones to overcome this problem. So it is your fault that I am off-line, and I want my 6 Euros for SkypeZones/1 month back.

I also would like to know how to e-mail to you being off-line. Are you kidding?
Trust me, I will e-mail you bastards as soon as I am on-line again.

I think Skype and their people seem to completely have lost their minds since they are sold to eBay. First the are not able to set up a Skype Call for their boss for 1 h at the VON (he may have called me on my laptop) and then they are coming up with such stupid error messages. Are they doing this on purpose?

Next problem:

Lufthanse has now on some planes offering you Internet access (If you are lucky, because you never know, and if LH wants to advertise that, they should be careful, assume one expect to have Internet access and chooses now LH?)

Anyway, this is a new Airbus A330-300, the seats are still smelling like in a new car ...

Stop: here I have to make another remark:
1. This is a complete new plane or it is completely new refurbished, and they do not have in-seat video in economy, the seats have the niche, but it is empty. Still the old screens poping out. How much does this cost on the life time of the plane to keep the passengers happy?
2. The controls are in the arm-rest where you normally put your elbow. If you put your elbow down, you call the flight-attendant. They really enjooy this. I am sitting just before the galley and hear the ping-ping all the time. The purser said they had this problem in the Jumbo already and now its back again. How stupid can you get?

Back to WiFi in the plane. I connected of course and after paying my 29$ (serious, one must consider this in relation to the 8$ for one our on Logan, this is a 7 hour flight!), I was connected for approx. 10 minutes, long enough to Skype home and to see that I had a bunch of new e-mails, but I could not read them, because the connexion dropped. Something in the atmosphere, they said. (Last time it did not work they said this is because we east of the Ural, and it will for on the other side) The Internet will come back in an hour or so. How is this with the 29$ ?

I had an additional problem: at the same time my MS exchange server at the office started to behave weird (it is now midnight, nobody there to fix it) , so I was never sure if it was the connexion or my e-mail server, what was so slow.

The connexion came back after 1 hour and is still on, but it is very slow. Last time it was much faster.

Why are these morons unable to offer services that simple works. Considering a car manufacturer offering you a beta verson of a car.

To finalize this rant;

I hate pop-up windows popping up BEHIND other windows. This seems to be a new fashion to bother people. Sometimes you detect only after some minutes such a hide-behind window. Again, are they doing this on purpose?

I think we still have some way to go for reliable communications and satisfying user experience.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Fall VON 2005 Nethead Dinner 

On Tuesday evening Timothy Jasionovski organized a "Nethead" Dinner at Kingfish Hall. Approx. 25 "Netheads" showed up. Here some pics, maybe you recognize some of the ususal suspects:

Fall VON Day 2 

I know, I know, I am a bit behind schedule, but the VON is such a busy place (as always), so it is hard to keep up with blogging, and so I have to rely on the other bloggers to keep you informed.

Day 2 started for me with Jeff's perspective: A Summer of Transformation. I have to agree, what happend during this summer is unbelievable. You go on vacation and if you come back, the world has changed. I think also Jeff was taken a bit by surprise with the eBay/Skype/Paypal deal.

Next he covered the Katrina desaster and that again the Internet and VoIP was the only thing that worked (somehow).

He then stated again the Internet freedoms somehow lost recently (in Washington) and the goals of the Global IP Alliance. He is also planning to pep-up FWD again. Interesting the re-launch of 1-500 personal numbers in the US. Here he has the same problem we have in Austria with our number ranges 720 and 780. 1-500 is currently only routed by MCI. The empire tries to strike back.

Finally he presented the VON Schedule for 2006 and some are asking themselves if he is not overdoing it now: there will be now three VONs in the US, plus one in Canada and Mexico, 4 in Europe (London, Stockholm, Berlin and Moscow) and one in Asia. This may be too much for the poor exhibitors.

Next in the ballroom was Eugene Roman from Bell Canada. Related to an incumbent, this was a very interesting presentation for me. It seems that BCE has got the message (at least at the top) how a telco can survive. The question remains, if they will be able to implement these vision in reality. This was a presentation I will distribute within my company.

This presentation was followed by Bill Smith, CTO from Bell South and he started off very similar to the BCE presentation, until slide 6, when he introduced IMS and why Bell South is betting on IMS. Good luck!

Next on schedule was Niklas Zennstrom, who should come in via Skype and Video, but this did not work.

So Brad Garlinghouse, VP Yahoo! took the stage (a fine irony) with an excellent and interesting presentation contrasting the two previous ones.

Side remark: IMHO the VON showed clearly that there is a role for the old players - in the access. But the real music will be played by a bunch of newcomers: Google, Amazon, eBay/Skype and Yahoo! VoIP and Real-Time Communications are applications, and these companies are leading here already. They are delivering the better applications faster to the consumers. And the consumer base here is hugh and global. The incumbent telco providers are not able to deliver within this timeframe and their customer base is local (thanks to the national regulation). Since IMS applications will be developed by the telcos, you will eventually see applications showing up within three years Skype has already implemented yesterday.

There is only one big question mark: Microsoft. Basically nobody understands why MS is not able to really play a role here: they have the RTC, they had the MS messenger, they have direct access to enterprises via MS Exchange, they have the Active Directory, but they do not seem to be able to get these assets on track. Maybe voice communication is incompatible with MS, as it was with daddy IBM. I still remember the ROLM desaster.

Back to Yahoo! Brad of course showed the frontpage of the Economist, but he said that the Internet is NOT killing the phone business, on the contrary, the Internet is creating a massive opportunity for the phone business.

Remark: Exactly, but the phone companies are so blinded by the threats that they are not able to see the opportunities. The new communication companies do not have any threats, so they are able to see and pick up these opportunities.

Yahoo!, Google, Amazon, et. al. moved the Web 1.0 (simple Webpages) to Web 2.0. In the same way these companies will move Voice from 1.0 (POTSoIP) to Voice 2.0.

Brad use the term "Worlds of Communications are Colliding", others say convergence: networks, devices AND applications are colliding.

So the new voice playbook is:
  • Consumers are the ultimate judge
  • Stand-alone does not win
  • Building bridges is paramount
and: Personalize, Converge, Mobilize, User Control

the last one is often forgotten by telcos, but never by these companies.

Communications should simplify your life!

Zennstrom was still not on, so Blair Levin (Legg mason) took over, talking about VoIP and Public Policy. In the meantime the auditorium started to make jokes about Skype, topped by Blair when only some crackling came out on the loudspeakers: "The sound you hear is the sound of eBay stock going down"

He went through a whole lot of issues I basically agree, such as POTSoIP has no future, P2P communcations have voice only as subset, in future you will get paid for management and not for connectivity, the new companies already have tons of customers, they develop applications much faster then the ILECS, no time and distance billing, where is the line between "interconnected" and not-interconnected VoIP provider (sic!) and stand-alone has never a future.

Now they finally managed Niklas to get in, but only on audio. At this time many have already left for lunch. The whole thing was basically a desaster. Niklas confirmed what everybody knew already, that Skype is not a POTS replacement, that the major idea is to bring Skype and Paypal together to bring value-added calls to IP, and that Skype will support 911 activities. A new development will be personalizes Skype. BTW, more on future plans of Skype see here.

In the afternoon I had some side meetings and also made a round at the exhibition. Because of the confusing show guide I missed the Global IP Alliance meeting.

But of course I was in time for the Blogger Panel. It was a pleasure to meet some well-known bloggers first time face-to-face and to exchange some opinions. The discussion was also very interesting, also cause by the US, Canadian, European and Asian mix. Of course everybody missed James Enck, who is AWOL in London, in his own words. Alec Saunders blogged the bloggers session very extensively, so I just point.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Fall VON Exhibition, Asterisk and the humiliation of the Incumbents 

The first impression if you enter the exhibition hall at the VON is the huge orange Digium/Asterisk booth in the center. It must be a real humiliation for the incumbents and their manufactures to be dwarfed by this booth: IBM on the left side, Nortel behind Polycom, Siemens below (if you have very sharp eyes), AT&T and Intel on the left. Rumor says Jeff did this on purpose ;-)

Breaking News: and port blocking 

I had many discussions with Internet Access Providers such as mobile operators that they will prevent Internet access for VoIP or Skype by blocking traffic. I always said:

"You cannot do this, because either you allow VPNs or you will loose all your valuable business customers needing VPN to check their e-mails. And since this is encrypted you will have no idea, if they are only acessing their e-mail and files or also making VoIP calls."

"And I bet that very soon will offer a VPN service for anybody just to break through blocked networks."

Done by Google WiFi

Or as James Enck says correctly: Offence, the best defence ;-)

From the FAQ:

Will Google Secure Access work at other locations?

While Google Secure Access should work, we have not tested it at other locations.

(you can bet ;-)

Will my corporate VPN still work?

Yes. You can connect to your corporate VPN while running Google Secure Access.

(Double feature ;-)

Fall VON 2005 Day 1 Exhibition Booth #745 

The VON Blur starts again at booth #745

Henry signs his new book "SIP beyond VoIP". The author claims that this book is much better than his first one (whatever that means ;-)

Fall VON 2005 Day 1 

Today the real work started with the inconvenience that most of the participants are in the wrong place and had to take the shuttle bus from the Haynes to the new BCEC. The reason is the big success of the VON. Jeff told us already yesterday that there are about 7000 participants and especially the exhibition floor required exceeded the capacity of the Haynes.

We arrived quite early at the BCEC, so there was enough time to meet friends and have some chats over breakfast.

I visited of course the Communications Policy Summit. The first session was also the most important for me, because of the issue and also because of the panelists: Marilyn Cade as moderator and Todd Daubert, Karen Mulberry, Penn Pfautz, Richard Shockey and last but not least as surprise: John Klensin.

The basic topic was the future of numbering in the context of IP, the move from the local context to personal numbers, number portability on IP is basically a no-brainer and to separate the regulatory consequences from numbering. One issue was also the proposal to have a special number range for VoIP also in the NANP. The problem of gettoization of VoIP was raised here and I pointed to the problem we have in Austria with such numbers to get first all natuonal providers to route to these number ranges and after this by the international providers. The tariffing of such numbers is also a problem. Jonathan Askin confirmed this problem with the 500 number range they have for personal numbers in the NANP. These numbers are routed currently only by MCI. This is one of the main reasons why VoIP providers insist on geographic numbers, even if personal number ranges would be better suited.

The highlight of the session was of course the statement from John Klensin: "ENUM is dead, the window is closed". The most interesting with this statement was to watch Richard Shockey's face sitting to the right side of John ;-)

I personally do not think that the window is closed, considering the recent developments regarding Carrier ENUM John may not be aware of, and the urgent need of the carriers to implement IP Interconnect (VoIP peering), but if we are not careful and the US is not changing pace and keeps playing around, the window will start closing soon.

The next session was on lawful intercept. Since I was only partially present, I would like to point here to James Seng, who has quite an extensive report on this session (and also on the session in the afternoon on Communications Act Re-Write).

This session was followed by emergency response. Since I will report on Emergency services in a separate entry after the Panel: Emergency Services for Internet Communications, Wednesday, September 21, 10:30pm in Room 205C, where I also have the honor to participate beside some real experts such as Brian Rosen, Henning Schulzrinne, Henry Sinnreich, Marc Linsner, Hannes Tschofenig, et. al., I will skip this for now.

During Lunch Senator John Sununu talked about the future legislation on IP Communicatuons from his perspective. A summary of his speech is available at the VoIP Magazine from Tim Shelton.

I joined the sessions again with the excellent Industry Perspectives:

The highlight was of course by Jon "maddog" Hall, President, Linux International, who gave an excellent rationale why to use open source SW. A somewhat critical report can be found on Alec Saunders blog.

Alec reports also about the presentions by Tom Evslin and Jeffrey Citron.

One should think that this is enough for one day, but it continued immediatly with the opening of the Exhibit Hall and the Welcome Reception.

I will post this in a separate entry.

Fall VON 2005 Day 0 

On Sunday morning I was sitting in my room at Copley Square Hotel trying to finish finally my presentation for the BoF: Public an Private ENUM Issues on Wednesday, September 21, 2005, 3:00pm to 4:15pm, Room 104 (to be precise, so that nobody has an excuse not to show up to this outstanding session ;-), when Willi Wimmreuter skyped me proudly to announce that he also a member from the Mile High Skype Club, just cruising above Greenland with Lufthansa from Munich to Boston.

The quality was execellent as usual. Since he was scheduled to arive at 2pm, we agreed that he will give me a call when he has checked in at the Hilton nearby.

At 5:30pm I was starting to wonder, so I called him and he told my he is just on the way from the airport, because Lufthansa (or the relevant airports) managed to loose the luggage of half of the passengers (on a direct flight!), so it took two hours until everybody has filled the forms.

Side remark: Since they managed to loose my luggage on a direct flight from Vienna to Stockholm in Arlanda, I am now travelling with hand luggage only whenever possible. I did this also now from Vienna to Boston with a stopover in Frankfurt, which is a very dangerous place, luggagewise. The weather was also fine, no major delays, so I felt safe and thought there could be no troubles. Ha, Lufthansa found a way to provide me with some hazzles. Maybe they do this to frequent travellers to keep them alert and not bored, or as we say in Vienna, to give you cold-warm:

It started in Frankfurt with a nice surprise: the LH-Lady at the gate in Frankfurt exchanged my cattle class boarding pass with an upgrade to business class. Nice surprise. Curious was only the question if I am willing accept this. Who says no to such an offer? Be careful! I got seat 16G in business class and when I entered the plane, business class ended with row 15 and the next row was economy row 20. Since there where approx. 10 other people seated in rows 16 to 19, a mild panic broke out in the crew. They had changed plane last miunte, but obviously did not tell ground staff. Luckily after 15 minutes of hectic they had everybody of the overflow passengers seated (in business class). For us passengers the 15 minutes were not so funny, because there where no seats in ecomomy at all, standing 8 hours is no fun and also not possible and the slight hope to get into first was killed immediatly by the purser who said that the first is also full.

Back to Willi. He finally arrived and I went over to the Hilton. Willi was already in the lobby chatting with Henry Sinnreich. Henry was waiting for some relatives, so we decided to take a taxi to the BCEC to have a look at the Poker game. We first said hello to Diana and got our VON passes and then went up to the game to say hello to Jeff. There was just a break in the game and Jeff proudly showed us his new HDTV Cam.

After saying hello to some other friends and a drink we decided to leave. At the reception we bumped into the Jasionowskies (Timothy and Joanna) and decided to go back with them on the Metro. This was quite an experience, especially the surprise that the Silver Line from the airport to downtown is a trolley bus with a max speed of 15 mph. But the tunnel where the bus is going is impressive. In Europe they would use such a nice tunnel for a highspeed train with at leat 100 mph.

Back at the Sheraton we met the Austrian gang Michael Haberler, Robert Schischka, Axel Mayrhofer and Klaus Darilion (you can meet them at the VON Exhibit at booth #745, they will explain to you whatever you want to know about ENUM in Austria and this is a lot). We then moved over to a steak restaurant, where we were joined later by Dr. Georg Serentschy, the Austrian Regulator.

The evening discussions started with eBay/Skype and ended with the weird results of the German election.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Kevin Werbach on eBay-Skype-Paypal 

Kevin Werbach is back again after a 2 month break and is presenting his thoughts on eBay-Skype. As usual, he is exactly at the point:


I see two ways to justify the deal. eBay has tried to articulate the first one. Real-time communication has always been an important component of commerce, and eBay sees opportunities to enhance its particular form of electronic commerce with the voice, messaging, video, and presence capabilities Skype brings to the table. Add to that the low-hanging fruit opportunities for pay-per-call advertising, in which eBay would take a commission for generating leads that turn into Skype-powered phone calls, and the potential connections between Skype and eBay's subsidiary PayPal, not to mention Skype's potential for continued organic revenue growth through eBay's user base, and you've got some solid opportunities for real synergies.


Traditional telecom companies face two huge economic anchors that prevent them from innovating and growing new revenue opportunities. (They also have to struggle with regulation and internal cultural limitations, but I'll put those aside for the moment.) The biggest economic challenges for a telecom carrier are the costs of its physical infrastructure and its billing system. Skype solves the former, by virtualizing the network into peer-to-peer links between end-users riding on top of the broadband Internet. And PayPal solves the latter, by virtualizing the financial system into similar peer-to-peer links. If Skype wants to realize its potential for generating real revenue and profits, it's going to need a cutting-edge billing infrastructure capable of scaling to hundreds of millions of users. It just got one.


Communications and the Internet are converging. As a result, the idea of paying per-minute for basic telephone calls is quickly becoming an anachronism. The telecom industry as we know it will be replaced by a converged broadband environment with very different economic drivers. The major communications infrastructure providers -- telephone, cable, and wireless companies -- think they will dominate this new world. By controlling the pipes, they hope to extract a share of profits from the applications running on those pipes.

eBay-Skype represents an end-run around that "walled garden" vision. Skype is a self-contained communications platform, effectively designed to circumvent both traditional government regulation and private efforts to constrain applications. Given its huge user base, it could become the dominant Internet communications ecosystem, just as eBay has become the dominant ecosystem for person-to-person transactions online.


No one knows how exactly this story will play out. What is clear is that every major player will want to have communications capabilities as part of its toolkit. Users will get converged communications services from multiple providers: it will sound as awkward to talk about "your phone company" as it would to identify "your e-commerce company" or "your search engine company."

Get ready for some creative disruption!

See also his previous post on Smoking Gun on Network Neutrality, also related to Skype:


The Net Neutrality concept has gradually gained steam in recent years. Former FCC Chairman Michael Powell advocated similar principles in his "Four Freedoms" speech in early 2004, and the full FCC recently adopted a "policy statement" along similar lines. Unfortunately, neither of these statements had any binding force. And the FCC's recent pronouncement was full of caveats and limitations. As Susan Crawford notes, several tech companies have been lobbying for enforceable Net Neutrality rules in the forthcoming rewrite of US telecom laws.

All along, carriers have been making the argument that Net Neutrality rules are unnecessary. Where's the evidence, they ask? What incentive would we have for hurting our own customers?

So then, what to make of this press release from Verso, announcing "Carrier Grade Skype Filtering Technology"?


So Skype is "undesirable" traffic, along with instant messaging and streaming media? Given data from Cachelogic suggesting that roughly half the traffic on the global Internet is peer-to-peer video file transfers, the argument that Skype VOIP traffic (which uses far less bandwidth) is causing congestion is a red herring.

A more revealing quote comes later in the press release:

"This traffic runs outside the traditional carrier revenue generation models and is therefore highly undesirable for them."

In other words, Skype VOIP traffic is undesireable to broadband network operators because it poses a competitive threat. Verso's solution allows those operators to filter, degrade, or block that competitive traffic, leveraging their control of the network.


Friday, September 16, 2005


Ok, it is nice to have something to read on an 8 hour transatlantic flight (tomorrow from Frankfurt to Boston to visit the Fall VON 2005), but enough is enough.

Richard Shockey just pointed me to the Committee of Commerce and Energy, which released a Staff Draft on Broadband Legislation or BITS (Broadband Internet Transmission Services). Since legal texts are usually uncomprehensible by non-laywers, they are so friendly to provide a section-by-section summary for dummies also. Maybe I should start reading this.

The purpose of this document still needs to be supplied ;-)

From the Webpage:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee today released bipartisan staff discussion draft legislation that is designed to grow the U.S. economy by accelerating the deployment of new Internet services for consumers.

"The Telecommunications Act of 1996 spurred the development of telephone competition, but no one could have foreseen the magnitude of the challenges and opportunities that the Internet age has presented. New services shouldn't be hamstrung by old thinking and outdated regulations," said Chairman Joe Barton, R-Texas. "We need a fresh new approach that will encourage Internet providers to expand and improve broadband networks, spur growth in the technology sector and develop cutting-edge services for consumers.

"Updating the 1996 law is one of my top priorities for this fall and this bipartisan discussion draft represents a solid first step. I especially want to thank Ranking Member John Dingell, Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton, Subcommittee Ranking Member Ed Markey and Committee Vice Chairman Chip Pickering for their hard work and critical contributions."

"This staff draft is a very useful starting point in the process," said Dingell. "I look forward to continued bipartisan efforts to resolve these tough issues, and to full and fair committee consideration."

Highlights of the staff discussion draft:

  • Creates common regulatory definition for broadband Internet transmission services (BITS) which includes Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), cable modems, and other broadband services.
  • Ensures network neutrality to prevent broadband providers from blocking subscriber access to lawful content.
  • Provides a uniform, federal regulatory framework for broadband providers, Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP), and broadband video providers, except in some areas where state or local rules still apply, such as rights-of-way.
  • Authorizes the FCC to determine that VoIP can be required to contribute to the Universal Service Fund.
  • Develops a streamlined franchising process for broadband video providers.
  • Applies many current cable video requirements to broadband video providers.
  • Allows municipalities to develop and deploy BITS, VoIP and broadband video services. However, municipalities can't provide preferential treatment for these services and must comply with all regulations governing private-sector providers.
  • Ensures that VoIP subscribers have access to 911.

How the Internet killed the phone business 

Thanks to David Isenberg I have now also the cover to the Economist story I referenced and he said only: 1 picture > 1kword. How true.

Tucows TPR Response Second Round 

I pointed yesterday to the submission of Tucows to the Telecom Policy Review - A Consultation Paper (pdf) from Industry Canada published in June 2005.

Also yesterday a second paper was published by Tucows and Tim Denton:

Second Round Comments of Tucows Inc. in the federal government of Canada's Telecommunications Policy Review September 15th, 2005

This set of comments concentrated upon the interest of government in the matter of network addressing and routing schemes, and the dynamic shift away from the telephone numbering system and to the DNS as the primary identifier-addressing scheme.

This document is therefor of even more interest to me and eventually also for the readers of this blog, because it deals also with E.164 numbers and ENUM ;-)

Some citations:

Question F.1 What other issues should the Panel take into account in making its recommendations? Please provide specific facts, analysis and suggestions that you think are relevant to the Panel's recommendations?

1. Heretofore the basic function of telecommunications regulation was to control the behaviour of economic entities within the jurisdiction of the state. The general problem was the monopolistic tendencies of communications economics, which was characterized by declining unit costs and greater returns the larger the network. Regulation was focussed inward to the territory of the state to control the behaviour of the national economic actors.

2. The current debate in the submissions before the TPR dwell on the ways to address the problem of market power of incumbents. Some favour sectorspecific regulation, while others favour an approach based in competition policy principles, or some different combination than we currently have.

3. This debate about the proper tools to control market power is important and interesting, and Tucows has made specific recommendations in our original submission on these matters. Nevertheless we will venture to say that this issue, however important it may be now, will decline in relative importance as the Internet revolution proceeds. We do not doubt that the control of market power will always be of great, indeed of central importance to telecommunications policy, for a long time to come. Nevertheless we are persuaded that the bundle we have labelled “identifier issues” will grow in importance.

4. Identifiers are the names and addresses whereby machines locate end-points of the network where the person sought can be found. Telephone numbers, which are under the jurisdiction of the CRTC, and derive from the ITU, have traditionally served as these identifiers. Now identifiers are being created and shaped by institutions like the Internet Engineering Task Force1, and influenced by such entities as ICANN. The IETF is not under any particular national jurisdiction, and ICANN functions in a complicated relationship to the US Government. In addition, private, non-universal systems, such as Skype and Instant Messaging, are being created.

5. The Internet revolution has been accompanied by new forms of identifiers, of addressing and naming systems, which are not tightly bound to national jurisdictions. These identifiers have been created – and are being created - in forums in which governments in the past have had little influence, and may not be able or even wish, to exercise much influence.

6. The Canadian government has a legitimate interest in the universality of the communications network. The basic bargain that created the Bell system in 1919 was “universal service”, which gradually ended the islands of subscribers to municipal systems who could not communicate with each other. The price that was paid to obtain the one integrated end-to-end system was the Bell system monopoly in long-distance. Now that voice telecommunications is a horizontally disaggregated application riding on a transport layer, universal naming and addressing systems do not need to come at the price of monopoly in the transport layer.

7. The interest of the government in universal addressing and naming system or systems does not mean either of the following:

• That the definition of universal service should be restricted to time-division
multiplexed (TDM) PSTN service over copper pair, nor
• That private, non-universal addressing and naming systems should be
restricted or somehow disfavoured.

8. The interests of the government in naming and addressing systems may be more extensive than the preservation of universal service or services only. The arrangements for the governance of the telephone numbering system are overseen in order that they may not be used as a source of undue competitive advantage. As the telephone numbering system shifts into a domain name-based scheme over the next few years, naming and addressing systems will be a matter where the government will want to be aware of the changes and keep an eye out
for anti-competitive behaviour.

9. The current arrangements for the assignment of telephone numbers to users will probably not continue unchanged if these arrangements become a source of undue competitive advantage for one class of carrier over another. Moreover, if a universal system of identifiers, such as telephone numbering, is to be maintained while the technical basis of using those numbers undergoes the transformation to IP-based technologies, then it is likely that this quiet backwater of numbering administration will need to be more actively managed or looked after by government than it is now.


Question B.26 Over the next 10 years, is there likely to be a new method of assigning addresses to telecommunications devices which would replace traditional numbering? If so, what might that method be, who should administer it, and how?

Naming and addressing and the Future of Telecommunications:


11. There are five principal types of naming and addressing scheme at use or proposed in the world today relevant to telecommunications policy. (Many others addressing schemes exist of course, such as postal addresses and universal product codes, which we exclude from this discussion):
  • The e164 telephone numbering system
  • The IP addressing system
  • The Domain Name System, which converts human-readable words into IP addresses
  • Peer-to-peer schemes, such as Skype, and Instant Messaging
  • Conversion databases, such as ENUM, which translate e164 numbers into domain names and the DNS look-up system

13. The main points we wish to make about the DNS and newer network identifiers, most of which are based in IP addresses, are as follows :
  • They support innovation by third parties in applications or namespaces without permission
  • They are devised in technical forums outside of Canada, outside of national jurisdictions, and outside of the treaty-based ITU;
  • They will replace or supplant telephone numbers in a much faster time-frame than some intervenors appear to contemplate;
  • They will become the means whereby « calls » are terminated, or to use a less phone-centric term, the way machines will locate humans through the Internet;
  • So that, while telephone numbers will still exist, the technologies which make them work, that is, resolve to persons or devices, will be grounded in the Domain Name System (the DNS) and a set of standards and standards-making bodies in which governments have had little say or interest to date, and
  • If governments want to have a voice in these developments, they will need to develop capacities to act, directly or indirectly, in international or nongovernmental forums where national jurisdiction may not be asserted.


18. ENUM is a translation database that takes telephone (e164) numbers and translates them into domain names. They may be pictured as a telephone number, written out in its normal form, [e.g. 1-613-992-4210] but printed as a hyperlink in coloured ink, which, when activated, leads to instructions as to how to reach a person.

19. As the PSTN collapses under its own inherited costs, carriers will seek to move the function of call completion to a DNS-based architecture. This avoids the inter-carrier settlement regimes of the PSTN. It allows cable companies and others to route calls without ever passing through the PSTN.

20. Once the Internet Engineering Task Force developed Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), it was a foregone conclusion that consumers would eventually use the Internet for voice communications. SIP-based VoIP constitutes the deployment of an efficient, more robust, and functional communications, which will bemarketed to consumers and will seamlessly combine voice, video, text and whatever new technologies may come along in the near and distant future.

21. Naming and addressing mechanisms for the PSTN and the Internet are not the same. VoIP calls that originate on one service provider’s network, and which must terminate on another VoIP network, must default to the PSTN for completion. In other words, there is no authoritative database mapping e164 telephone numbers to SIP Uniform Resource Indicators (URI).

22. ENUM, whether it is made available to subscribers, or remains a purely carrierbased implementation, will allow calls between various VoIP providers to be completed without the need to make the address look-ups in the PSTN. They will also enable different forms of carrier to complete “calls” without the transmissions ever passing through the equipment of the PSTN. Thus cable operators, for instance, or anyone else, could provide a universal telephone service, using e164 numbers, without having to rely on the obsolescent PSTN.

The Economist on EBay/Skype and VoIP in General 

Alec Saunders is pointing to an arcticle in The Economist yesterday: The Meaning of Free Speech:

The Economist uses EBay’s acquisition of Skype as a jumping off point to discuss a number of issues, including the vulnerability of traditional telecoms pricing models to VoIP.

I got the article sent over already in the morning via Vince Humphries from Down Under, he gets up much earlier ;-)

The article is in two parts:

1. the eBay/Skype deal and its implications
2. about the implications of VoIP in general

I like this article, because I was planning to write down and summarize the ideas I scattered over my blog in the last months. Now I saved a lot of work.

There are some minor points I disagree with:

The survival for fixed operators will not be the NGN, the IMS or the 21CN, it will be the access (and the services, as stated correctly in the arcticle)

I also disagree with the role of IPTV (at least as is works currently). I have IPTV and it is nice to watch Austrian TV abroad, but e.g channel hopping is not really possible (because of the buffering it takes more then 10 secs to switch). Maybe it works with integrated services like TiVo in the US (using local HDD andan integrated progam guide with intelligent monitoring of user behaviour).

I fully agree with figure 2 (Vulnerable to VoIP)

This is what I am trying to say all the time:

The vulnerability and the threat by VoIP is much bigger to the mobile operators then to the fixed operators.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Another Canadian Must-Read Document 

Some say: there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. Maybe, but if you ask intelligent questions, you may even get more intelligent answers ;-)

Industry Canada published in June 2005 a Telecom Policy Review - A Consultation Paper (pdf) raising many intelligent questions. In August 2005 Elliot Noss (President and CEO Tucows) responded to a part of these questions (A and B) with a submission that is IMHO another Canadian gem.

The others two Canadian gems which first raised the implications of the layered model and the protocol stack for telecom policy are well known: “Netheads Versus Bellheads, Research into Emerging Policy Issues in the Development and Deployment of Internet Protocols”, T.M.Denton, François Ménard and David Isenberg, 1999, for the Department of Communications, and especially in “A Paradigm Shift for the Stupid Network”, T.M.Denton and François Ménard, June 15, 2000. Old, but still good - and valid.

Although the Canadian Telecommunication Law and also the European Framework are a bit more advanced then the US Telecommunications Act, the discussions show that they all need refurbishing or even better, a complete overhaul. This is recognized in the US (e.g. see the proposal of a framework on the Digital Age Communications Project (DACA) from the Progress and Freedom Foundation) and in Canada. In Europe this discussion is lagging behind, because the current framework is quite recent and some countries are still struggling with implementing it. So it would be somehow counterproductive to come up with something new to soon.

The Tucows paper is also nicely contrasting or complementing the DACA paper. Since Elliot Noss obvoiusly knowns, analyzes and builds upon the publications of Werbach, Lessig, Sucker, Whitt and others (alone the references given are worth to download the paper), it is an important step further in the on-going discussion.

And of course I like the two pictures (I expects them soon to show up in various presentations)

The Internet Model

Various sports (applications) occupy space (bandwidth) above the TCP/IP "ice".

No overt central control is exercised by the owner of the lakebed (transport layer) over who gets on the frozen surface. The ice-surface is shared, but not allocated by authoritative arrangements. Contracts or social arrangements among classes of user determine what activities go where. These arrangements assume a large enough area of ice (bandwidth) is available.

The layers below the TCP/IP “ice” are of no interest to the applications.

The Carrier Model (and of course the Mobile Operator and the NGN IMS Model ;-)

The “applications” are selected by contractual arrangements between the carrier (stadium owner) and the service suppliers (hockey league, ice capades, other acts, etc).

The TCP/IP “ice” is still present, but the access to it is controlled. The stadium owner wants an audience (to fill spare capacity) but he selects what is shown on the rink according to his best judgment. The range of “applications” (shows) is determined in part by what the rink-owner determines will fill seats in the arena.

Ice-time (bandwidth) is limited. Users pay to occupy seats. Vendors pay to appear on ice. Arena owner collects ticket fees and rents for ice and pays for upkeep of the arena.

Cost of building another arena limits duplication of facilities in the same market.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

(Carrier) ENUM is an applet of IP - Interconnect 

ENUM (Carrier and User ENUM) is an applet to IP -Interconnect. To be able to use an applet you need to be able to use the applications the applet is running on.

You cannot use e.g. an applet integrating your Skype buddies in MS Outlook without having Skype and MS Outlook installed and running on your laptop.

Same with ENUM:

ENUM is useless without the possibility to enter an E.164 number in DNS and the capability to use the resulting URI, e.g. in case of real-time communications a SIP URI.

Using a SIP URI means you take it and establish a communication with the destination server. Therefore this SIP URI must be a public identity. Of course a group of carriers may decide to use "private" SIP URIs to route calls between them, but then these SIP URIs are not public user identities. A public user identity is something you may put on your business card without additional context e.g. +1 301 123 4567 or Skype:hugo or ICQ:detlef are NO public user identities in this definition.

Any national IP Interconnect solution is equivalent to the group of carriers approach described above using "private" user identities. They would require a super IP - Interconnect solution above.

Back to ENUM:

If you are not able to resolve the resulting SIP URI in the DNS AND if you are not able contact the server running on the given IP-address in most or all cases, the result of the ENUM query and therefore ENUM itself is useless for you.

A SIP URI given in User ENUM MUST be usable by any other end-user globally, like e-mail.

Note: this implies that a SIP URI given in User ENUM is also usable by any "Carrier" if he decides to query User ENUM. IP Interconnect between End-Users is defined via the IETF Standards, so no additional work is required (although a BCP may be helpful here ;-)

A SIP URI given in Carrier ENUM MUST at LEAST be usable by any other carrier (whatever that means in contrast to end-user) globally.

Note: this does NOT imply that an entry in Carrier ENUM is usable by any end-user.

The basic requirement for Carrier ENUM to work is a global IP Interconnect (VoIP peering) solution for "Carriers".

Again, a group of carriers may decide to use a private ENUM tree to resolve all E.164 numbers used within these group of carriers, but if you really want to use IP Interconnect for ALL E.164 numbers reachable via IP, you are shifting the problem only one level upwards. You need another Super ENUM tree to resolve the rest - or you dump the call to the PSTN, which is not the basic idea of IP Interconnect.

One problem remains for Carrier ENUM:
Who has the right to enter a E.164 number in Carrier ENUM?
Or reformulated: what is a "Carrier" in the context of "Carrier" ENUM?

Since this is connected to the assignement and distribution of E.164 numbers, and since this is a national matter, the definition of a "Carrier" and who has the right to enter E.164 numbers in "Carrier" ENUM is also a national matter.

On the other hand, the minimum requirements for IP Interconnect cannot be defined nationally, this has to be defined globally.

To summarize:

1. The minimum requirements and rules for IP Interconnect based on routing via SIP URIs have to be established globally. Note: if the minimum requirements are fullfilled (e.g. TLS), the calling server must be able to resolve the SIP AoR to the IP-address of the called server and also to be able to contact the called server. The called user MAY have additional agreements in his profile, e.g. to reject all anonymous calls.

2. Only if this is in place, Carrier ENUM makes sense on a global scale. This does not imply that Carrier ENUM may not be trialed and used commercially earlier, but only in a limited way.

3. Carrier ENUM must be available on a global scale. This implies that Carrier MUST be available for any carrier who wants to use it. This implies that although it is a national matter how to implement Carrier ENUM in detail and to define e.g. the entity operating the Tier 1, there should be no opt-out possible (this is IMHO the most problematic point).

4. It is a national matter to define who is entitled to enter which numbers and the corresponding NAPTRs in "Carrier" ENUM,

e.g. an entity is only allowed to enter numbers in Carrier ENUM if it is hosting the final destination of the E.164 number on behalf of the end-user (that means no signalling transit is allowed)

or if it is providing a direct gateway/SBC to the own destination network hosting the E.164 number on a private IP-based network (NGN) or on the PSTN. National number portability issues have also be taken into account here.

If an entity is assigned an E.164 number directly (e.g. an 800 number or a corporate number), and if the entity is running the SIP server on its own, it may also be allowed to enter this number and the NAPTRs in Carrier ENUM.

4. There is no user opt-in or opt-out possible in Carrier ENUM. The entities allowed to enter NAPTRs in Carrier ENUM MUST be aware that the data in Carrier ENUM is public, therefor end-user privacy MUST be assured. This implies that either the E.164 number or a random number (userid) is used in the user-part of the SIP URI. The mapping from this number to the end-user identity used further (even if it is a public identity) MUST be done within the end-systems.

5. All SIP URIs entered in Carrier ENUM must be reachable via the minimum requirements of IP Interconnect as defined in 1.

EBay - Sykpe - PayPal Roundup 

The blogging scene was quite shocked by the eBay-Sykpe deal, everybody of course reported the fact, but then there was a short pause. Most needed some time to get their grips together an analyse what the implications are - me too - and I am still not sure.

So I waited on the experts and of course they all stated thinking loudly. Now I wanted to write a wrap-up, but I found out that Alec Sounders did this already ;-) So no need to do this again.

I may only add that he missed one of the best Skype experts: James Enck.

James wrote a series:
Niklas and Meg 4-ever
I remember Skype

Many are seeing the most synergy between Skype and PayPal, James is also pointing at Telcoland in Chastened?:

To the collective group of telcos who consistently adopted an adversarial stance towards Skype, or dismissed it as heretical or ridiculous, I think you have really and truly blown it by not taking out Skype yourselves at some earlier stage in its development...

and concludes:

No doubt the telcos will probably laugh at eBay, but I can't help but feel that this situation is a shameful reflection of the shortsightedness of telcoland.

I only can agree: yesterday I was in a meeting with a majority of telco people when the message came through, and especially the mobile operators where laughing and joking about Skype and Ebay. They still do not get the message - until it will be too late.

Pride goes before fall - or- presumptious and stupid.

On the other hand, the whole issue could be much simpler, as Patriza is summarizing it in one sentence:

Good grief, with a nearly $5 billion carrot (if all financial incentives are met) dangling in front of them, the Skype folks would have been IDIOTS not to take eBay's dumb money.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Skype Deal Done 

It is out now: eBay buys Skype.

Mark Evans raises the valid question at the end of his post: what is Niklas doing now? Maybe some answers will be given next week at his presentation at the Fall VON 2005 in Boston.

Or will Skype now be auctioned via eBay? ;-)

See Skype Journal:

Deal done. Retail VOIP in the offing? Views later.

eBay has agreed to acquire Luxembourg-based Skype Technologies SA, the global Internet communications company, for approximately $2.6 billion in up-front cash and eBay stock, plus potential performance-based consideration.
Skype generated approximately $7 million in revenues in 2004, and the company anticipates that it will generate an estimated $60 million in revenues in 2005 and more than $200 million in 2006. For Q4-05, eBay expects the acquisition to be dilutive to pro forma and GAAP earnings per share by $0.01 and $0.04 respectively. For the full year 2006, eBay expects the transaction to be dilutive to pro forma and GAAP earnings per share by $0.04 and $0.12 respectively, with breakeven on a pro forma basis expected in the fourth quarter of 2006. On a long-term basis, eBay expects Skype operating margins could be in the range of 20% to 25%.

The acquisition is subject to various closing conditions and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2005.
eBay will host an investor conference call to discuss the announcement at 5 am Pacific Time today. A live webcast of the conference call can be accessed through the eBay's Investor Relations website at An archive of the webcast will be accessible through the same link.

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