VoIP is great. With the advent of SIP we can look forward to some excellent technology and services coming our way. Various broadband telephony initiatives have spurred on some serious debate in the regulation of VoIP but so far there hasn’t been any laws put in place to govern VoIP in the US. Similar things are happening in Canada.
When speaking about the potential success of Wi-Fi VoIP we can assume similar complaints from the mobile telephony providers including cellular and 2.5/3G. But do they really have anything to fear, at least in the short term? Making or receiving VoIP phone calls on a PDA while sipping your favorite coffee at your local Starbucks is one thing but how practical is it to replace our cell phone with a wireless VoIP enabled PDA?
Taking it to the Next Level
Imagine what would happen if the majority of all users that have a phone line and broadband came together to offer free IP/PSTN VoIP!
From what I can see, providing a service based on this technology isn’t there yet. There is no capability to roam from hotspot to hotspot nor are there enough hotspots to speak of. Until we can walk down the street, drive to the grocery store and maybe stop by the office to pick up some e-mail and then proceed home all the while making and receiving VoIP calls on your wireless PDA, this type of communication will not threaten any mobile telephony provider’s business model. If the governments would provide incentives to companies and home users to open up their Wi-Fi networks we would see Wi-Fi spread much quicker than it is. This is happening in Europe now, why not here?
Voice over Wi-Fi in the Enterprise is a different story. More and more companies, e.g. hospitals and alike are deploying Enterprise Wi-Fi VoIP successfully using Pocket PCs and Tablets. It is actually quite easy to deploy a VoIP network these days with free software from companies like Iptel.org, Vovida.org and Xten. SIP services like Free World Dialup and SIPPhone do it all for you, all you have to do is just download some software and you are calling. You can also build your own VoIP network for the cost of hardware which could be less than a few hundred dollars.
If the governments would provide incentives to companies and home users to open up their Wi-Fi networks and implement VoIP networks we would see Wi-Fi spread much quicker than it is. Europe is doing this now with Wi-Fi, why can’t we offer both Wi-Fi and VoIP in the same manner?
Taking it to the Next Level
Imagine what would happen if the majority of all users that have a phone line and broadband came together to offer free IP/PSTN VoIP! Some may say the Telcos would lose money but I disagree with that. The Telcos also said they would lose money from the introduction of Internet and that turned out to be totally false. The Internet created a new source of revenue for the Telcos that would never have been realized otherwise. I believe the same would happen with this proposed global effort to decentralize telephony. I call this proposed system “The Non-Incumbent Telephony System” or TNITS.
TNITS would allow anyone to call anyone else, anywhere in the world, for free. The system could easily be structured to allow the original user of the broadband & PSTN line to go about their day normally but when the user had scheduled a nonuse period his node would become active. This way the original user could use their broadband and PSTN services normally when they needed to but still offer his node up to TNITS when it was convenient. SETI does something similar in that their software when running on a host PC uses dormant PC time to process data for the greater good of SETI.
The best part about all of this is that if TNITS is a nonprofit initiative the Telcos vying for regulation will have a very tough time with it.
Maybe I am just dreaming, but in the beginning so was Mr. Bell.