Tuesday, August 08, 2006

VoIP call quality getting worse


Another article from silicon.com, this time reporting that "VoIP call quality has declined by about five per cent in the past 18 months":

"...the decline in voice quality is happening because voice services are increasingly competing for resources on the same IP network as other services such as video, music downloads and interactive gaming. IP telephony calls ride over the same network that is also delivering internet access and in some cases IP-based video. While the speed of broadband networks has increased, consumers are doing more on the net, which affects call quality..."

And now the scary bit:

"Many internet companies offering voice services, such as EarthLink, Google, Vonage and Yahoo!, are opposed to allowing phone companies or cable operators, which own the underlying broadband networks, to prioritise traffic in order to improve call quality. They fear network operators will abuse their power by charging unreasonably high fees and eventually squeeze out competing traffic...But some analysts say the time is quickly approaching when network operators will have to prioritise delay-sensitive traffic such as voice or video."

The other side of the net neutrality issue I guess...will the net develop suffciently to support services like VoIP without controls being imposed by the telcos? The ideal would be for open standards to be developed and adopted to allow this to happen, but if the telcos get there first with proprietary protocols...?