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Neustar and .GPRS

Ever since Neustar announced they signed a deal with GSMA to oversea global database for the mobile operators last week (see also Washington Post), there are many debates about the deal online. "Neustar, a company that should certainly know better, has announced that they're going to create a .gprs TLD to serve the mobile phone industry This, of course, requires creation of a private root zone, against the very strong warnings in RFC 2826" said Steven Bellovin. To the more supportive John Levine: "This isn't quite as stupid as it seems. The GSM industry needs some way to maintain its roaming user database, the database is getting considerably more complicated with 3G features, and it looks to me like they made a reasonable decision to use DNS over IP to implement it rather than inventing yet another proprietary distributed database." more

U.S. Moving Forward with ENUM

One of the pieces of infrastructure that makes all kinds of networks work and yet gets very little attention is the directory. Directories are big business. For example, there's directory of telephone numbers run by NeuStar, Inc. NeuStar has annual revenues of $92 million. Now, according to Light Reading, AT&T Corp. and MCI Inc., together with unidentified cable companies, telephone companies, and ISPs are preparing to form a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) that will run a process to define a new company that will run ENUM. more

With No Privacy Standards Who Knows Who Is Abusing The Whois Database

John Banks is a loan officer in New York. John's supervisor recently warned John about the potential number of bad loans he may be carrying as part of his portfolio. To dump some of the bad loans he might be carrying, John came up with a scheme. He pointed his web browser to www.whois.org and entered terms denoting disease or poor health such as 'cancer' and 'illness'. This query on the Internet's WHOIS database reported results of names and addresses of domain name owners who had developed websites devoted to providing information on certain serious illnesses. John compared these names and addresses with those in his portfolio of loans. For the matches, he canceled the loans and required immediate payment-in-full. more

FreeNum Links Phone Numbers to the Internet

I loved John Todd's ETel presentation (podcast) on FreeNum, a scheme for bringing phone numbers to the Internet. Of course, I love identifiers and addresses and all that they enable, so it was a natural. Suppose you were a university campus and when you looked at your phone bill, you noticed that a lot of calls were to other universities. You've got a VoIP telephone system; they've all got VoIP telephone systems. You might wonder "isn't there some way to route these calls over the Internet and save some serious money?" The answer, of course is "yes" but making it usable is a little harder... more

Uniting the Internet and Phone Network, ENUM Project Starts in UK

Enum, or Telephone Number Mapping, aims to do for phone numbers of any kind what the Domain Name System did for the World Wide Web. BBC is reporting that UK's Enum directory has begun and it will be run by Nominet -- the administrator of the .uk top-level domain. more

URLs: Ontologically Speaking

I was reading David Weinberger's reports on how the New York Times is planning on tackling its "link rot" problem where articles slip behind the pay-wall. Part of their solution appears to be to replace articles with their summaries. As usual, this got me thinking about telephony. Why don't phone calls and callers have URIs or URLs? ...Let's take addressing the endpoints first. Obviously, ENUM is one way of "Internetising" the phone number address space. more

Domain Dialing

The emergence of generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) and country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) allowed the internet browsing to become much easier and intuitive. After all, from the user's perspective, it is so much easier to remember a domain instead of an IP address... The IP addresses replacement by domain names helps the Internet to become this global phenomenon that we know. Unfortunately, this revolution that had occurred in the domain market was not followed by other markets. more

VIPR: New Developments in the VoIP Market

This is a new development in the VoIP market. This is how one of my colleagues, Cullen Jennings explained it to me. Today we have two widely deployed global identifiers for reaching people. One is delegated address out of DNS and the other is phone numbers. So I consider an address like email: carol@johnson.com or xmpp:john@gmail.com to roughly be out of the DNS namespace and phone number to be out of the E.164 name space. Phone numbers have lots of parts that are not cool, but they also have some cool parts... more

Will ENUM Deliver?

ENUM (E.164 NUmber Mapping) is a technology that has been around for a little while that has promised much and, so far, delivered little to the average user. As Nominet has recently been awarded the contract to administer the UK 4.4.e164.arpa delegation, I thought it was time that I put my thoughts on this subject down in writing. I'm going to cover the potential of ENUM in the telecoms industry and what it could mean to you, along with how it is currently being used and what potential security issues surround ENUM. more

Google Voice Dispute Highlights an Opportunity for Mobile Network Operators

The recent row between Google, Apple and AT&T concerning the removal of Google Voice from the Apple iPhone store highlights the friction existing between network operators and so-called over the top (OTT) application providers. Most observers believe that AT&T initiated the blockade because Google Voice (which offers free or highly discounted calling rates) is a direct threat to AT&Ts call revenue (Google Voice users need only pay AT&T for access to the Internet). more

New .tel Top-Level Domain Goes on Sale

Telnic Limited, the Registry Operator and Sponsoring Organization for the new sponsored top-level domain (sTLD) .tel, has announced that domain name registrations are now being accepted (see previous coverage). "From today until February 2nd, trademark owners can register .tel domains for their brands and company names, providing them with a 'live' comprehensive listing in the first global, mobile-optimized online directory." more

National Domain Registry Nominet Launches UK ENUM

Nominet, the national registry for .uk domain names, has announced that ENUM, a registry service combining UK telephone numbers and the Domain Name System (DNS) for VoIP calls, is live. ENUM, also known as Telephone Number Mapping, is expected to allow companies and their customers and suppliers to make free or cheaper calls. In addition to the cost savings, other value-added features that ENUM is expected to provide for corporate communications include 'follow me' type function that will allow an individual to choose how (voice, fax, mobile, email, text messaging, location-based services and websites), and when they would like to be contacted throughout the day. more

Success Drivers of New gTLD Applications

Being approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) as the owner of a new generic top-level domain (gTLD) extension requires considerable analysis before the application is submitted. You must understand the sources of risk, gauge your risk tolerance, and you must obtain an estimate of the value of your proposed TLD's future revenues (with the effects of potential competitors factored in, a step too many applicants ignore). more

Moving Telephone Numbers Into the Internet Age

Now that we're 20 years past TN 2.0, well into the 21st century, and onto the 3rd generation of the web; it is about time we move telephone numbers into the Internet age. They are still managed as if they all connect to four copper wires. We manage to the lowest common denominator rather than acknowledging the power of mobility and Internet technology. more

Online Registries: The DNS and Beyond

As the world grows more connected and more complicated, we all need ways of defining, identifying and keeping track of things and cross-referencing them with their owners. The simplest way to do that is with registries -- everything from the Domesday Book, a medieval registry of land, property and people; to current-day auto registries on the one hand and the worldwide Domain Name System on the other...But now, companies and organizations have to keep track of ever more things and people, not just inside their walls but across extended organizational boundaries. Call this new wrinkle an "external registry". Finally, they may want to interact with things and people, rather than just look them up, via an "active registry".  more