Protocol Wars Threaten VoIP Future
by Larry Hettick

Published September 2001




We all know that the public switched telephone network (PSTN) works. Most of us know that voice over IP (VOIP) works. But the convergence of the two is being delayed by a near-religious debate among industry insiders. 


At the heart of the controversy is an either/or choice between the H.323 and SIP protocols. Some developers, vendors and service providers are evangelizing their preferences, but a flawed premise—that one protocol is superior to the other—underlies the debate. In fact, both standards bring positive elements to the table, and work is getting under way to make sure that both will operate in the networks of the future. 


Fighting protocol wars at this stage of the game does nothing for either the H.323 or the SIP factions, and it casts doubt and uncertainty over customer perceptions of VOIP and converged services. In a market with billions of dollars at stake, equipment suppliers and service providers should be doing all they can to fully integrate both of these protocols, and to educate customers about the efficiency and new services that converged PSTN/VOIP networks can offer.



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