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ICANN Approves .TEL Top-Level Domain

ICANN unanimously approved the creation of the new .Tel Top Level Domain (TLD) and awarded the contract to Telnic Limited.

"The .Tel domain offers the first genuinely different use of domains since .com was first created. It will provide seamless integration of existing methods of communication with emerging technologies like Voice over IP (VoIP). This places the .Tel domain at the core of the next phase of Internet development," said Khashayar Mahdavi, CEO of Telnic. more

Telephony, Regulation, and VoIP

A new article by Ken Camp, published at Realtime VoIP, discusses telephony regulations, describing some existing regulatory issues surrounding telecommunications and how they might impact VoIP services. The following is an introduction to this article: "Bringing new technologies such as VoIP into service presents a wide range of technical challenges. Given the highly regulated environment of telecommunications, VoIP presents a set of regulatory challenges. For the most part, these challenges present hurdles to VoIP service providers who want to deliver commercial services to consumers and businesses and don't directly impact business VoIP deployment. ...Businesses that embrace managed VoIP services might want to review some of these regulatory issues, such as E-911 services, with the managed VoIP service provider." more

Security Professionals at Major Financial Institutions Shunning VoIP

Internet telephony is still not mature enough a platform to support business communications, according to senior security professionals.

In a debate at the Infosecurity conference in London last Wednesday, an audience of security and IT pros voted that Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) wasn't able to support mission critical communications at the moment. Banking security professionals argued that the expense of implementing current VoIP solutions coupled with the risk of security holes and network downtime did not make IP telephony an attractive business proposition. more

VoIP Used in New Phishing Scam

Small businesses and consumers aren't the only ones enjoying the cost savings of switching to VoIP. According to messaging-security company Cloudmark, phishers have begun using the technology to steal personal and financial information over the phone.

Earlier this month, Cloudmark trapped an email phishing attack in its security filters that appeared to come from a small bank in a big city and directed recipients to verify their account information by dialing the included number. (The Cloudmark user who received the email and alerted the company knew it was a phishing scam, because he's not a customer at this bank.)  more

Help! This is Not an Emergency

I like the drift of the Pulver/Evslin proposal on emergency communications, and wish there was as vigorous a debate going on over here. I just hope we in the UK aren't jerked out of complacency by some major disaster -- although widespread use of pre-paid cellular means the problem of sunken landlines isn't as acute. Yet I can't help but wonder why the poor public has to wait for a disaster before they're given partial control over how their number maps to different destinations and services. Why can't I get a voicemail service from someone other than my connectivity provider? Why is ENUM hostage to the telcos, whose interest lies in ensuring that new services can only come from them? more

Post-Disaster Communications Petition

Recently, FCC placed on public review a petition filed by Evslin Consulting and pulver.com. The petition grew out of the experiences felt during a breakdown in communications network caused by Hurricane Katrina. As you may recall, whole communities were evacuated in the Gulf coast and many families were separated because they ended in different cities. Added to the trauma, many of these evacuees found it difficult to contact and communicate with each other. But those who have VoIP service and those who subscribe to premium features on their PSTN lines were better off because their services were able to forward the calls to the new location... more

Continued Move Towards Unified Communications

A couple of new notes that underscore the continued convergence of real-time communications services (e.g. voice/video/IM) into a presence-based real-time IP communications infrastructure... I haven't seen this shift just yet, but increasingly the folks responsible for managing voice and video systems are integrating their planning with the groups in charge of instant messaging and collaboration. I expect this trend to accelerate as we move forward. more

University Researchers Heighten Focus on VoIP Security Threats

With VoIP starting to live up to some of the hype, university researchers are looking to ensure that the technology's momentum in corporate and residential markets won't be ruined by myriad security threats.

The National Science Foundation this week said it has issued $600,000 to the University of North Texas to spearhead development of a multi-university test bed to study VoIP security. Other participants are Columbia University, Purdue University and the University of California-Davis. more

Examining Two Well-Known Attacks on VoIP

VoIP is here to stay. In fact many incumbent telecommunication carriers have started offering VoIP service for sometime and several new VoIP service providers have emerged. Aside from issues such as quality of service, the aspect of security, or lack thereof, is misunderstood by some of the VoIP service providers. This purpose of this article is to discuss two of the most well known attacks that can be carried out in current VoIP deployments. more

ENUM: Mapping the E.164 Number Space into the DNS

Many communications networks are constructed for a single form of communication, and are ill suited to being used for any other form. Although the Internet is also a specialized network in terms of supporting digital communications, its relatively unique flexibility lies in its ability to digitally encode a very diverse set of communications formats, and then support their interaction over the Internet. In this way many communications networks can be mapped into an Internet application and in so doing become just another distributed application overlayed on the Internet. From this admittedly Internet-centric perspective, voice is just another Internet application. And for the growing population of Voice over IP (VoIP) users, this is indeed the case... more

Telecom Impact on Per-Capita GDP

My presentation at VON was focused on availability (aka presence) and contextually-aware communications, but I did begin with a brief mention of subjects I'm passionate about and I ended with my typical closing comments about telecommunications... Apparently this struck a chord with several people who came up to me afterwards asking about how they could help the spread of telecom to developing countries and did I have references for my statements about telecom is good for mankind? more

Freedom to Connect

Over the last ten years, Andrew Odlyzko has been writing about a pricing algorithm that would assure reasonable service levels at reasonable prices. If you're going to F2C, you might want to read that brief article or this slightly more complex one to learn (or refresh your sense of) PMP -- Paris Metro Pricing models to deal with network congestion. You'll also get a sense of why throwing bandwidth at the network will not be sufficient. Here's a great article from 1995... more

What If They Simply Made Communications Technology Better?

Rob Hyndman has a pointer to Mark Cuban's latest: Think the Internet Will Replace TV? Think Again. Cuban's post can be summarized as: Today's broadband networks are too slow. The insatiable appetite for on-demand rich media content will soon overwhelm them. Telco's aren't putting in upgraded networks quickly enough to meet that demand. Cuban also provides some facts and figures to back up that claim. In the comments, readers have a number of viewpoints, including the view that Mark has ignored cable, and that cable can provide the required speeds and feeds... more

Skype: When Good Press Releases Go Bad

Burton Group issued a press release last week announcing the conclusions of my recent report on Skype. I thought the release clearly stated our conclusions on Skype, which essentially were that there are indeed security and management concerns that enterprises ought to be aware of, but that those risks may be outweighed by the business benefits offered by the use of the application, and that enterprises must carefully weigh risk vs. reward when evaluating Skype usage. more

Give Us TVoIP, Not IPTV

A buzzword in the cable/ilec world is IPTV, a plan to deliver TV over IP. Microsoft and several other companies have built IPTV offerings, to give phone and cable companies what they like to call a "triple play" (voice, video and data) and be the one-stop communications company. ...I'm at the pulver.com Von conference where people are pushing this, notably the BellSouth exec who just spoke. But they've got it wrong. We don't need IPTV. We want TVoIP or perhaps more accurately Vid-o-IP. more