Heavy Reading

VOIP Peering & the Future of Telecom Network Interconnection

Until recently, most voice-over-IP (VOIP) networks, whether carrier or enterprise, interconnected via the circuit-based public switched telephone network (PSTN), with VOIP calls having to be transcoded into TDM circuits to be switched through the PSTN. Over the last several years, carriers have begun to interconnect their networks at the IP level using session border controllers, but call routing has remained based on the PSTN telephone number which is adequate if the call ultimately terminates on a PSTN phone.

VOIP peering enables direct network interconnection without utilizing the PSTN. To fully enable VOIP peering, interconnection needs to occur on a transport level, on a signaling level, on an ENUM (from tElephone NUmber Mapping) database level, and on a commercial or business level with appropriate security and quality parameters wrapped around each element. Standards groups and industry forums are working to resolve industry-wide issues to facilitate the industry's migration to VOIP peering.

Cost reduction is a key driver for VOIP peering, but equally if not more important is the ability to provide advanced VOIP services and features across networks. The existing PSTN infrastructure is unable to meet operators' future needs for advance services and features with VOIP and IP Multimedia Subsystem. In order to meet these needs a new interconnection infrastructure is emerging, and in the process the current settlements process is being transformed.

By eliminating the need for many of the middleman functions, VOIP peering will dramatically change the role of wholesale service providers in the interconnection process, as well as the role of retail service providers for enterprises. Since carriers can directly interconnect much more easily with VOIP, a lot of the value provided by wholesalers in the past is being eliminated. The result will be a movement from the role of a minute reseller to an interconnection facilitator. Peering will also drive the industry closer to a "bill and keep" settlement model, with standardized and reduced termination rates in the short term. It provides the vehicle to expand advanced services and features beyond the service provider networks.

VOIP Peering & the Future of Telecom Network Interconnection analyzes the industry trend underway toward VOIP peering and the effect it will have on the voice settlements process. It looks at each of the key VOIP platform operators today and compares the services and functions provided as well as the business models employed. It includes profiles of 16 companies that provide peering services at the transport, signaling, or ENUM level, as well as the perspectives of eight operators and eight related equipment or solution providers.


A number of companies have emerged to facilitate VOIP peering for service providers, enterprise networks, universities, and other organizations as well as individuals. These VOIP peering enablers include peering platform operators as well as equipment and solution providers. Each company has its own strategy to address the market, and each provides different functions within the interconnect process.

Click here for full list of platform operators and vendors included in this report.

This report explores the various functional elements of VOIP peering, identifies which elements each of the peering platform operators is addressing with their solutions, and provides insight into the future direction of this industry segment. The report also analyzes the VOIP peering strategies of eight leading VOIP service providers worldwide, delivering fresh insight into each operator's current and long-term plans for VOIP network peering.

Click here for full list of VOIP service providers included in this report.

Heavy Reading conducted in-depth one-on-one interviews with senior executives and marketing and network professionals from 32 different companies for this report, often talking with two to five sources within each company. Companies interviewed included VOIP peering platform operators, ENUM database service providers, incumbent telecom carriers, CLECs, VOIP-based service providers, and equipment and solutions companies providing ENUM database platforms, session border controllers, and video gateways.

Intelligence gathered from these direct interviews and other sources provides critical and valuable detail on the VOIP peering competitive landscape from the vantage points of platform operators, technology vendors, and VOIP service providers.

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Report Scope and Structure

VOIP Peering & the Future of Telecom Network Interconnection is structured as follows:

Section I is an introduction to the report, with complete report key findings.

Section II defines VOIP peering by first exploring the Internet peering model and the telephony voice settlements model. It presents the recent definitions drafted by the IETF and introduces a definition that frames the approach used in this study.

Section III explores VOIP call routing, including the importance of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and ENUM as an alternative signaling and addressing database to facilitate VOIP calls.

Sections IV identifies and analyzes the primary business and technology drivers for VOIP peering. Service providers and enterprises are motivated to peer for different reasons. This section explores these different drivers, ranging from cost reductions to revenue increases, along with some perspective on why a particular driver may be more appropriate for one community than another.

Section V looks at the natural peering communities and builds on the peering drivers by exploring how each community is approaching VOIP peering.

Section VI evaluates peering platforms. It presents the early IETF draft definitions for peering interface functions within the reference peering architecture. Then it relates the layered approach to peering functions used in this study to the IETF definitions. Finally, it provides a summary matrix of the functions provided by each of the 16 peering platform operators profiled in this report.

Section VII provides analysis and perspective on the likely direction of the industry and discusses some of the issues that still need to be resolved.

Section VIII includes detailed company profiles for each of the 16 peering platform operators interviewed for this report.

Section IX provides company profiles and discussion summaries for each of the eight service providers interviewed for this report. These companies ranged from large incumbent telcos to global inter-exchange carriers to international VOIP operators.

Section X provides company profiles and discussion summaries for each of the eight equipment, software, or solution providers interviewed for this report.

VOIP Peering & the Future of Telecom Network Interconnection is essential reading for a wide range of industry participants, including the following:

VOIP peering technology suppliers: How will the ongoing evolution of VOIP service affect operator and enterprise demand for peering technologies? Where are the new opportunities for market growth? Are your products and marketing messages in line with customer plans and expectations? Are there significant gaps in your product line coverage that need to be addressed to meet future demand for VOIP peering?
Other VOIP equipment suppliers: How will increased use of VOIP peering affect demand for your products? Which technologies and platforms are emerging as the most likely winners in the VOIP peering sector? Is your company in position to take advantage of those anticipated changes?
VOIP service providers: How do your plans for VOIP peering compare with those of your competitors? Does your peering strategy deliver the best service-enablement and cost-control options for your network, or are there other alternatives that will deliver greater efficiency? Which technology suppliers are in best position to deliver the peering solutions you need?
Investors: Which technologies and platforms are emerging as the winning solutions for VOIP peering, and which companies are the leading providers of those solutions? How will peering affect profitability for the telecom service sector as a whole in the coming months and years?

VOIP Peering & the Future of Telecom Network Interconnection is published in PDF format.

PRICE: $3,795
Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
Longo has had considerable experience with voice and IP services on the service provider side during his more than 20 years in the telecom industry...
Click here for full list of vendors
Click here for full list of vendors
92 pages of analysis covering current and projected deployment of VOIP peering in a full range of service provider networks
Products and strategies detailed for 24 different VOIP peering platform operators and technology providers
Complete evaluation of the impact that VOIP peering will have on network settlement and other interconnection issues
Detailed analysis of technology options available to service providers for incorporating VOIP peering into their networks
PRICE: $3,795
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