Ed Driscoll

VOIP-A-RAMA! I know what you're

VOIP-A-RAMA! I know what you’re thinking: where can I go for the hippest, freshest, coolest look at voice-over-IP, that bitchin’ 21st century technology that sends voice over the Internet?

Well, my friend, look no further than my column today in Tech Central Station! It’s VOIP-a-licious!

UPDATE: Reader Ken Whelan had some feedback about the article that he emailed me:

Good article but I can tell you, now that Voice over IP is here, it has so many more positives that you did not mention. We are a small company. Probably 100 stations or so at the most and we just installed the Cisco solution. We are finding that things are so seamless, just tonight I brought home a phone, put it on the inside of my cable modem and VPN router (SOHO) and running the high bandwidth protocol (G711) had good voice quality. If I dropped it down to G729, there would be no problems whatsoever. We have several people working from a home office and soon you will not be able to tell as they will be on the same phone system.

Another positive that you did not mention. We have a satellite office that is going to have 5 phones in it. It is connected to us by a 56k frame relay connection that in no way has enough bandwidth to carry the data and the calls. However, for the price of a router and phones, we can install a phone system down there and use the Call Manager Servers at the host site to manage the call switching, the only thing going over the frame connection will be the switching information. Now voice brings regular phone lines into the router and they will not be able to tell the difference. With a little bit of programming, it will appear that they are extension to extension dialing from the host site when really the connections are going out regular phone lines. I did not mention that as we install this, this particular office is in flux: they are in a temporary building now. In the next 6 months they are going to switch buildings 3 times due to construction. Rather than dig in phone lines from one building to the next, only to move them two more times in the next 6 months, we are using a Proxim point to point (directional) wireless solution to connect Ethernet to the remote building (the one that is moving two more times). Each time we move, we will just point the antenna at the new location and move the phones to the new building. This is one of those eminent domain situations where a road is taking half the lot, so we have to remove a building, move to a construction trailer and then build a new building.

Every day we are finding new ways to save money because we put the infrastructure in place. The technology is here and it is mainstream. Nothing like having your voicemail arrive as an E-Mail attachment that you can pickup anywhere, anytime, without even having a phone; just find an internet connection.

Cisco is going to be a very very very rich company. As big as they are now, when this VOIP really gets a foothold, they are THE only company with a fully VOIP solution the rest of them are hybrids that really don’t end up being fully VOIP.

I appreciate his comments. I’m far from an expert on VOIP; like most of my articles, I tried to simply find the guys who are experts, interview, and quote them.

But it does make perfect sense that VOIP systems will eventually dominate telecommunications.