A Practical Navigator for the Internet Economy

Extending The Reach Of Internet Telephony

Francois Menard Explains Player's Strategies -- Describes Wide Range Of Market Of Approaches & Protocol Development Designed To Leverage Differing Infrastructures pp. 1 - 5

Francois Menard of Mediatrix discusses a range of issues involved in the current state of IP telephony. In his discussion he makes a useful distinction between session initiation protocols and device control protocols (for example Level 3's IPDC protocol which has since metamorphosed into MGCP).

He points out that these protocols are useful for "replicating the exact behavior of the PSTN on the Internet. In other words, if all you want to do is clone the behavior of the PSTN and try to sell something that's equivalent to that by having it ride on top of a network using TCP/IP for transport, then all you need is a device control protocol. That's really what I define as IP telephony." "By having something in software that looks like a telephone switch, you can make a remote-controlled, IP telephony end-point in the network, benefit from the same type of telephone number routing that currently exists on the PSTN."

Menard contrasts IP telephony with what he considers true Internet telephony which is just one more service on the Internet, saying: "so why should it suddenly be sold and billed to the customer as if it were conventional telephony? It's a fundamental belief of mine that replicating the behavior of the PSTN on the Internet has a business model that is fundamentally incompatible with Next Generation Internet Services. On the Internet you bill for quality of service and services behind application servers. On the Internet, you cannot bill by the minute for doing nothing more than routing a telephone call to someone."

Menard foresees three different solutions for three different potential deployments. H.323 for legacy H.32x networks, Device Control like MGCP for those environments where users are happy with a third-party remote controlling their telephones and SIP for Next Generation Internets.

Some legacy telcos may have enough invested in H.323 to justify (in their minds at least) building and operating the third network that it requires. Menard also expects that "device control from a centralized call control entity will find its own acceptance in the marketplace. As an owner of LAN telephony devices, you may want to let your carrier control these devices. This can be referred to as "outsourced call control". He finds that SIP will be the protocol of choice for those who want to do true internet telephony over next generation Internets. In addition to letting third parties control your telephony systems, any time that an Internet telephony or IP telephony application has to deal with the PSTN, you will wind up having to deal with MGCP which can become a migration path to true Internet telephony. With IP telephony the network operator is in control. But with Internet Telephony the end user controls.

Menard goes on to talk about Videotron's modernization of its cable network that will allow it using MGCP to offer IP telephony as part of its cable services beginning late this year. Cisco is pioneering a new business model by building the network for Videotron in return for a share of the profits. The exact numbers are kept confidential, but a Montreal newspaper called Les Affaires disclosed that the deal was a cut on the service over a 5 year, renewable period.

In Videotron's case, its IP telephony will be sold like conventional telephony services. When Videotron has competition from traditional ISPs who will eventually gain access to Videotron's infrastructure, [the CRTC, Canada's FCC, has a proceeding for third-party residential access to cable], Videotron will be likely to be forced into selling IP telephony as just another Internet service.

Technology Choices For Running IP Over Glass

Nortel VP Describes Business Model Conditions Dictating Selection Of Four Possible Combinations: Ip & Glass, Ip, Atm, & Glass, Ip, Atm Sonet & Glass, Ip Sonet & Glass pp. 6-10

We interview Derek Oppen, Vice President for Carrier Router Products at Nortel. Oppen finds that because the capacity of fiber to carry bits has grown even faster than that for chips, the industry is looking at massively parallel architectures for backbones that allows one to scale routers up to terrabit speeds. Over the past 24 months the carrying capacity of fiber has increased 20 times from two lambdas at 10 gigabits per second to forty.

Carriers with legacy and multi service as well as IP traffic on their networks will Stick with running IP over ATM over SONET over Wave Division Multiplexing. This architecture will pay a roughly 25% of throughput bandwidth penalty because of ATM and SONET and demand. It will also be expensive to operate because of equipment and staffing demands.

A second operational choice involved removing SONET and letting IP run over ATM and glass. ATM handles all the networks multiplexing up to OC 48 or OC 192. IP over ATM over WDM is particularly well suited to an environment where you don't have just IP traffic but you have traditional voice traffic or frame relay traffic and you want to consolidate it in ATM.

The third option is IP over SONET over WDM in a three box solution getting rid of the ATM box. This is really IP over PPP. This is the type of option you'd use if you have lots of IP traffic and what's coming out of the IP side is less than OC-48 or OC-192.

The fourth option is IP over glass - layer 3 and the bottom half of layer 1. Note that even with the inherent simplicity of this scheme traffic engineering is necessary. Still required is thin layer two for traffic management and thin layer one for protection and survivability. While MPLS is likely to be used in favor of thin layer two, SONET or Giagbit Ethernet framing for thin layer one. The most likely candidate for this architecture are of course the next-gen telcos.

In looking at the cost of bandwidth as a result of the IP over fiber revolution Oppen believes that, while the cost of bandwidth will go down, it's not absolutely clear what this means. The big unknowns are, How much and how quickly might it go down? The other element to consider is the traditional carriers who have already laid their fiber. It's a sunken cost as far as they're concerned. The people who are laying fiber now have to figure out how to generate enough revenue to cover the incredible capital cost of laying that fiber. A final variable is the effect of multiple lambda use increasing the bandwidth of already laid fiber.

Nortel: A Survey Of Changing Strategy

The Journey From Smart To Stupid Networks Where Bay, Avici And Other Technologies Fit In Next pp. 11 - 16

KenSmith, Director Broadband Networks technology offers a tour Nortel's current marketplace position.

While we agreed that while Nortel's investment in switching technology, protocols and equipment aren't going to disappear overnight, we suggested that the viability of this technology will come into question within a time frame of 5, 10 or 15 years? This will happen because IP over light can do more efficient and less costly transport. If this is the case, aren't a lot of people going to say that they have no choice except to become a major IP player?

Smith agreed that this was true while cautioning us that it would be many decades before there was no more legacy telco demand left in the world. However he also pointed out that Nortel is a world leader in OC 192 WDM and added that Nortel's acquisition of Bay Networks would place it in a league with Cisco in routers while enabling it to use its huge carrier sales force to compete in ways that Cisco could not - adding that it would give lucent a challenge that Lucent could only match by acquiring Ascend.

The interview also examines where Avici Systems fits in Nortel's product mix, looks at alternative local loop technologies, SONETs future and various cost price issues.. In an interesting discussion of cost versus price, he points out that the cost per bit per mile and comes down at about 25% a year. And it has [been coming down] for about 10 years.

Paris DNSO Draft Gathers Wide Support

ORSC Protest Stops Sole Source ICANN Solicitation PR Firm Hired In Face Of Continued Board Secrecy pp. 17 - 22, 24

We explain how NTIA was caught trying to sole source IANA to ICANN. An ORSC protest to GAO stopped this move in mid January. We trace ICANN's financial deals with ISI to secretly lease the IANA employees. We present highlights of the emergence of abroad based consensus driven openly crafted PARIS DNSO draft. This is in contrast to the closed door preparation of the DNSO>org draft backed by the trademark lobby, chamber of commerce and other large business interests. Finally we close with an example of the way in which ICANN has been attempting, with little chance of success a Central Office regulatory body for the Internet.