Excellent Communications News

BT to transform telephone network. This is excellent news. I'm looking forward to London trials, pity I won't be in the fibre trial areas though.
Giving it all away here, but...

I'd like to see a day where you have a box (most likely a PC running Linux + stuff ;-) that connects to your legacy phone line and also your broadband connection. It would also allow you to plug in your legacy telephones, as well as to work with IP phones. The idea being that said box would work like a PABX. If you dial a legacy number, then you have to prefix with a 9. Otherwise, the box looks up the number you're dialing to get an IP address, it then connects directly to it and starts talking H323. You get a nice VOIP connection, with no intermediary phone company (so no per-call/minute billing).

The next generation of said device would work out that the remote allows for encrypted connections. It would then set up an encrypted link, authenticating caller and receiver by public keys. You then have degrees of security (ie. both parties authenticated, one but not the other, or no encryption). Now, you have a private connection without GCHQ/NSA listening in, and without a telco doing line tapping or billing. You get all of this with the familiarity of the telephone handset you already own (clearly the experience would be enhanced by using an IP phone).

Moving to video conferencing, or allowing "trendy" stuff like conference calling, call waiting, caller ID, auto-attendant, call forwarding, messaging, emails and instant messages, text messages, faxing etc etc are all easy to implement. You could even zone your house so that you can make internal calls around your house, and have numerous calls taking place simultaneously.

All this depends on:
- VOIP working reliably on some platform (eg. Linux)
- DNS lookups of "phone numbers" to IP addresses
- Some sort of encryption between H323 nodes (eg. SSH port forwarding?)
- The necessary horsepower to do all of this
- Suitable PABX software on said machine
- Someone to put it all together

It could take a while, but BT arn't expected to be done before 2009 ;-)

Submitted by coofercat on Wed, 2004-06-09 17:36


Excellent Communications News

SIP provides most of the stuff you are talking about... we are beginning to see enterprise customers seriously looking at VoIP - Cisco are going to be the ones to watch.

asterisk is an excellent platform for it, ignore things like skype, they are P2P and not standards based.

there are some reasonable sites out there (http://www.voip.org.uk, http://www.voipuser.co.uk/).

don't forget that the quality of the link will depend on the codec you use... the phone you probably use today it 8KHz and will therefore be the default setting, however, 64Kb/s digital quality connections are possible so look forward to some really high quality calls - for free...

fun times ahead...

Submitted by robert (not verified) on Wed, 2004-06-09 18:39.
Excellent Communications News

BTW: there are already open sauce SIP phones (http://siphon.sourceforge.net/)

check out: http://www.voip-info.org/tiki-index.php for more information

Submitted by robert (not verified) on Wed, 2004-06-09 18:40.
Excellent Communications News

The most interesting comments of the article I think is this:

This could severely dent BT's revenues but the telecommunications firm is remaining upbeat, describing internet telephony as "an opportunity not a threat".

BT forward thinking and embracing new technology? This can only be good.

Submitted by Bruno (not verified) on Thu, 2004-06-10 12:14.