Packetized Voice: Itís the Software, Stupid!
by Gary Audin

Published September 2002

 

Abstract:

 

When designing software for telecommunications, four criteria rise to the top: reliability, stability, features and security. Software has to run smoothly, over long periods of time with fast recovery from problems. It has to have the features users and administrators require. Legacy phone switches can have security problems, but there is no problem with viruses or denial of service.

 

Other criteria for software design include:

 

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Required processor power.

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Memory size.

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Ease of maintenance and upgrade.

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User/administrator interface.

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Operating system and language.

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Reduced complexity.

 

Software history has a way of recycling. Since programmers are human, they sometimes fail to look back and avoid the mistakes of the past. Many choose function over reliability unless customers require the reverse, as in mission-critical applications such as aircraft, manufacturing, appliances, mobile phones, process control, and so on. Poor reliability can lead to embarrassment, damage to the company and/or brand image, financial loss and/or mission setback.

 

"Software is different," is the mantra for some. Maybe, but we shouldn't have to lower our requirements to meet what the software can deliver. You design stability and reliability into the version/release/update, you don't attach it later.

 

About the author:

Gary Audin is president of Delphi, Inc., an independent consulting and training firm. He has extensive experience in the planning, design, implementation and operation of a wide range of networks, and is an instructor for a number of BCR seminars.

 

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