Archives for VoIP

What are the biggest VoIP trends of 2017?

voipDoes your business use Voice over IP services (VoIP)? Many do, and the number continues to grow as the convenience of internet telephony services becomes more and more sought after. VoIP_News, a blog dedicated to discussion of this handy tech, published a piece on the upcoming VoIP trends of 2017. Their list gives a bit of insight into the industry, and may just give you some idea as to whether or not VoIP is right for your business.

The first trend VoIP_News outlined was “5G Technology Begins to Emerge.” Although not expected until 2020, VoIP providers are beginning to think about how to adapt to a network with speeds faster than we’ve ever seen before. We might not see this in our offices just yet, but telecommuters using internet telephone systems from their cell could be affected before long.

Secondly, VoIP News mentioned “Security at the Forefront.” Security is a huge business concern, especially because VoIP services are much easier to breach than your average landline. The industry in 2017 will have to focus on preventing malicious attacks on the various cloud services associated with businesses, including VoIP. Consequently, it will be interesting to see what new, innovative security tech will be developed in the next year or two.

“Mobile VoIP Skyrockets” is VoIP_News’ third trend of 2017. Tying in with 5G Network, they believe it will become easier in the coming year for employees to telecommute via VoIP. It’s estimated that there will be over one billion VoIP users by the end of 2017, which makes mobile a viable pathway for business owners to follow. It also means that, because of the competition, services and features will improve and expand, all for lower costs.

Fourth is “Potential Network Strain.” This means that with VoIP user numbers increasing, along with the ever growing Internet of Things, providers and innovators will have to work hard to make sure their networks can handle all the connectivity.

Lastly, VoIP_News mentions “Trend Towards Integration Continues.” With everyone jumping on the VoIP bandwagon, more and more companies will be forced to do so or get left behind. Vendors therefore will have to continue to integrate their services with other areas like customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and more. It’s important that VoIP providers approach their business with an integrative strategy.

Do you agree with VoIP_News’ predictions? One thing is for sure – 2017 is going to be a big year for VoIP!

VoIP is Taking Over

headsetVoIP has become a standard part of the telecom and business world, and it’s only getting bigger. According to IHS analytics, the global VoIP market rose five percent to $73 billion in 2015. This growth is attributed, at least in part, to businesses and the diverse network of suppliers.

Suppliers don’t have just businesses to thank for the market growth, however. Residential VoIP use remains a major player, accounting for 62 percent of 2015 revenue. At the end of 2015, there were 230 million residential VoIP users.

VoIP isn’t the only service with significant growth. Similarly, use of SIP trunking, hosted PBX, and UC services also increased across North America in 2015. This reflects a widespread trend of multi-site businesses seeking increasingly-hybrid solutions to their telecom needs.

IHS predicts that by 2020 the VoIP service market will reach $83 billion.

*Source: Fierce Telecom

More Businesses Embracing VoIP Services

Schooley Mitchell telephoneVoice-over-IP (VoIP) services are gaining mainstream acceptance, with more and more businesses adopting the technology, states a new report.

Infonetics Research’s VoIP and US Services and Subscribers report found that from 2012 to 2012, global business and residential VoIP services grew eight percent to $68 billion. Sales of unified communication and hosted PBX services grew 35 percent to meet growing demand for enterprise cloud-based services. About 10 to 20 percent of new IP PBX lines are part of a managed service or outsourced contract.

Overall, VoIP services revenue is expected to increase to $88 billion by 2018.

“Business VoIP services have moved well beyond early stages to mainstream, strengthened by the growing adoption of SIP trunking and cloud services worldwide,” said Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP, UC, and IMS at Infonetics Research, in a press release. “Hosted unified communications are seeing strong interest up market as mid-market and larger enterprises evaluate and move more applications to the cloud, and this is positively impacting the market.”

*Source: Fierce Telecom Press Release

Snapchat, Skype fall to hackers

SnapchatTwo major communications apps suffered security breaches over the holidays. Snapchat – a multi-media messaging system where ‘snaps’ are only visible for a few seconds before being deleted permanently – experienced a huge leak, with over 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers being posted online by hackers.

The database appears to have been taken down, and Australian-based Gibson Security has launched a service that will let a user know if their information has been compromised. Coincidentally, Gibson Security was also the firm that warned the world such a breach was possible, documenting potential security flaws in a Christmas Eve post.

But Snapchat isn’t alone – hackers attacked Skype’s blog and social media accounts, but no user information was compromised. The company apologized for the inconvenience.

Microsoft Adds Skype to Outlook

Big news from Microsoft this week with the announcement it has merged popular video-chat service Skype with Outlook email.

As of Monday, it was announced that users in Brazil, Canada, Germany, the UK, and the United States will be the first to have access to Skype through Outlook, though further global expansion is expected.

With more innovative technology being developed every day, communication is a rapidly changing area of life. Microsoft has made a smart move by adding one of the most frequently used means of communication to their list of services. In the long run, this will probably be a smart and natural move for the tech giant.

VoIP providers eye changes to regulations

For the last 10 years, Voice over IP (VoIP) services have exploded in popularity. Every day millions of Americans rely on the service to make the majority of their traditional phone calls. Why are more and more people turning to the Internet-based service? Most will tell you that the lowered cost is the biggest selling point, especially when compared with fees for landline service. And it’s not just the residential sector that’s been affected – more businesses are eying VoIP as a viable alternative.

It’s a trend that’s been closely monitored by the Federal Communications Commission, which recently announced it would take steps to make telephone numbers more accessible to companies that offer VoIP services. In the past, numbers could only be obtained by state certified telecommunication carriers, meaning alternative carriers have been accessing numbers via accredited companies. Some of those companies have built their entire business around resale of services and numbers to VoIP providers.

But that’s about to change. A new trial will see Vonage – with 2.4 million subscribers in the U.S. – given access to 150,000 numbers that it can assign to customers. In turn, Vonage will report back monthly. If problems arise, the FCC retains the right to take back the numbers. While it is the only company that has been given the green light thus far, the FCC is considering opening up the process to more carriers.

Outgoing FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said the move would reduce barriers to innovation and competition for providers of voice services.

“Today these providers generally have to obtain telephone numbers through intermediate providers, raising costs and creating potential gatekeepers to the deployment of new services,” said Genachowski, in a recent statement. “Removing these barriers has the potential to deliver real benefits to consumers. It could help improve call quality thanks to fewer hand-offs for calls, and promote deployment of HD voice services. And it could fuel development of other innovative new products.”

The decision to allow Vonage to assign numbers was in response to a waiver request by the company. But it wasn’t without controversy. A number of organizations including the AARP, the Consumer Federation of America, and National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners – an association that represents state regulators – are arguing opening up telephone number distribution is ill-timed and ill-conceived. They claim a full proceeding is needed to determine how regulatory authorities will retain their ability to protect clients and consumer interests.

“Rather than rush to judgment in a way that creates a race to the bottom, we urge the Commission to take a moment to consider the long-term consequences of granting a waiver that effectively prejudges an NPRM (notice of proposed rulemaking) and undermines a long-standing framework that this Commission has depended on to prevent anti-consumer behavior,” stated a letter to FCC commissioners from the groups.

According to the letter, allowing providers who were not state certified to assign numbers is in contravention of the Telecom Act. There are also concerns that giving Vonage the privilege sets a precedent and opens the doors to others to do the same without due process.

“Poor management can lead to unnecessary exhaust of area codes requiring state-level relief proceedings and development of implementation plans that are costly and can have a negative impact on both consumers and commerce,” the letter warned.

However, the FCC maintains the move could help speed up the development of innovative services like HD voice. It is seeking feedback and comment on a number of related topics such as to whether interconnected VoIP providers should be able to access numbers, and how access can be eased for other services including IP access to emergency services, home security systems and text messaging services, to name just a few.

Users spend 2 billion minutes a day Skyping

Skype has proved itself a popular way for people around the world to stay in touch without racking up pricey phone bills. Ever wonder just how many people are using the VoIP app? Well wonder no more – according to the company, it adds up to two billion minutes per day.

As Mashable points out, that’s the equivalent of watching 16 million movies, or travelling from Earth to the moon 225,000 times.

“Skype has been growing in its number of minutes at double digit rate for a steady time,” Elisa Steele, Skype corporate VP of marketing, was quoted as saying. “The number of mobile users continues to grow at a very strong rate too, not just from the desktop but other devices, as well.”

The fact that ‘Skyping’ is now a commonly used verb really says it all.

ISPs living up to advertised speeds

The Federal Communications Commission’s recently released report on consumer wireline broadband performance has found the majority of Internet service providers (ISPs) are delivering speeds as advertised during peak consumer usage hours.

The February report — part of the FCC’s Measuring Broadband America initiative, with data collected last September — found that 97 per cent of ISPs were coming through with promised speeds during the busiest hours of 7-11 p.m. on weekdays. Most providers remained steady, with results on par with the previous FCC study. One standout was Frontier, which improved performance by a significant 13 per cent. The FCC was also encouraged to see providers have sustained their migration to higher speed services.

Some providers were even found to be providing service faster than they claimed, with Cablevision, Comcast, Verizon Fiber and ViaSat/Exede demonstrating sustained download and upload ratios higher than what was advertised. On the flip side, AT&T, Qwest and Windstream struggled to reach their own numbers. ViaSat’s satellite provided the fastest speeds, followed by fiber, cable and DSL. On average, satellite performed at 137 per cent of advertised speeds, while fiber delivered at 115 per cent, cable at 99 per cent and DSL at 85 per cent, during peak times.

“In our testing, we found that during peak periods 90 per cent of ViaSat consumers received 140 per cent or better of the advertised speed of 12 Mbps,” stated the FCC summary. “In addition, both peak and non-peak performance was significantly higher than advertised rates. While latency for satellites necessarily remains much higher than for terrestrial services, with the improvements afforded by the new technology we find that it will support many types of popular broadband services and applications.”

While satellite was the top performer, what the FCC doesn’t point out — but the Huffington Post does, in this article — is that the service comes with caps that limit data consumption and video streaming. The news outlet has previously reported complaints by rural residents who said bad weather and caps interfered with their speed and service.

When it comes to VoIP, the FCC found quality suffered when bandwidth was being shared amongst various services, though measurements utilized in the report did not detect such effects. VoIP services were adequately support by all service tiers examined.

“Faster broadband has brought untold benefits to millions of Americans – from distance learning to distance healthcare,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. “This is good news for consumers and the economy, but we can’t be satisfied. To unleash innovation and realize broadband’s full potential, we must continue to see increases in broadband speed and capacity.”

The FCC is pushing a proposition for national high-speed one gigabit Internet, something it would like to see achieved by 2015. Genachowski has said the service is essential to facilitate economic growth and global competitiveness.

So how do you know you’re getting your money’s worth from your ISP?‘s Thorin Klosowski offers up a good basic guide for consumers , starting with examining your bill to determine the service level you’re paying for and using simple online analytics to test your speed.

If you feel you’re not getting enough out of your service, sometimes it pays to shop around. But keep in mind that depending on where you live, all services may not be readily available. Providers also sometimes offer different bundles based on geographic location. And if you’re content with your home service, but need someone to take a look at options for your business, sometimes it’s best to seek help from a professional consultant to ensure you’re getting the biggest bang for your online buck.

Could Wi-Fi/cellular hybrid be the next big thing?

A recent piece in the New York Times by Randall Stross examining a new trend in low-cost mobile phone plans proves to be an interesting read. He takes a look at Republic Wireless and its appealing hybrid Wi-Fi/cellular service, which utilizes Wi-Fi or Sprint’s 3G network when a hotspot isn’t available.

With a start-up cost of $259, which includes a dual-band Motorola DEFYV XT smartphone, Republic offers service for just $19 per month, plus applicable taxes, for unlimited talk, text and data. There’s no contract to sign and no overages.

Republic – which is owned by, which has worked with Google and Skype – asks its users not to be a “data hog” and to use Wi-Fi as much as possible. According to co-founder and chief executive David Morken, users are taking heed.

“We don’t have to force people, or even ask people, how to behave,” Morken was quoted as saying. “Over 60 per cent of the time that the phone is being used, on average, our users are using Wi-Fi and that number is only going up.”

While the company would like you to think there’s not a catch, there are always the typical limitations that come along with VoIP, including unpredictable call quality. Additionally, as pointed out by Stross, users will likely be frustrated by the loss of connection when moving from Wi-Fi to 3G coverage. Yes, that means you’ll drop your call. Republic says they’re working on a fix for the issue. And right now, there’s only one phone for use with its plan.

But why is Sprint keen to supply to Republic when it’s obviously undercutting the company’s own business? Sprint’s President of Global Wholesale and Emerging Solutions, Matt Carter, had an easy answer.

“If the world operated based on just economic decisions, people wouldn’t go buy the most expensive cars on the planet, right?”

Enough said.

Open letter demands Skype transparency

Skype users are demanding more transparent security and privacy practices, calling for action in an open letter posted online. The letter is supported by institutions, organizations, media outlets and individuals from around the world.

Of particular concern are “persistently unclear and confusing statements” about confidentiality of conversations and the access others –including government and third parties – have to them. Ownership of Skype is currently being transitioned to Microsoft, and many of the company’s software and services are being integrated with the popular VoIP software.

Because of this, authors of the letter state the time has come for Microsoft to come clean about Skype’s privacy and security practices by releasing transparency reports similar to those issued by Google, Twitter and

We call on Skype to release a regularly updated Transparency Report that includes:
1. Quantitative data regarding the release of Skype user information to third parties, disaggregated by the country of origin of the request, including the number of requests made by governments, the type of data requested, the proportion of requests with which it complied — and the basis for rejecting those requests it does not comply with.
2. Specific details of all user data Microsoft and Skype currently collects, and retention policies.
3. Skype’s best understanding of what user data third-parties, including network providers or potential malicious attackers, may be able to intercept or retain.
4. Documentation regarding the current operational relationship between Skype with TOM Online in China and other third-party licensed users of Skype technology, including Skype’s understanding of the surveillance and censorship capabilities that users may be subject to as a result of using these alternatives.
5. Skype’s interpretation of its responsibilities under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), its policies related to the disclosure of call metadata in response to subpoenas and National Security Letters (NSLs), and more generally, the policies and guidelines for employees followed when Skype receives and responds to requests for user data from law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the United States and elsewhere.

The release of the open letter coincides with Data Privacy Day, which was marked on Monday, Jan. 28. In honour of the day, Microsoft conducted a worldwide privacy survey. The results showed only 40 per cent of people said they totally or mostly understood how to protect their online privacy.