Heavy Reading

VoIP Peering: A Market & Technology Update

Until recently, virtually all voice over IP (VoIP) networks, carrier or enterprise, interconnected via the circuit-based public switched telephone network (PSTN), with VoIP calls transcoded into time-division multiplexing (TDM) circuits. While this remains the dominant case, over the last few years many providers have begun to interconnect voice networks at the IP level using session border controllers (SBCs), although call routing has largely remained based on PSTN phone numbers. VoIP interconnection can be a much more efficient way to connect VoIP endpoints without using the PSTN. It saves on costs and makes transcoding between IP and TDM unnecessary, as long as traffic can be kept at the IP level end to end, improving voice quality and enabling advanced services such as video and presence, which cannot be used with transcoding.

VoIP interconnection is a much broader phenomenon than VoIP peering. To enable VoIP peering, interconnection must occur on the transport, signaling, and ENUM database levels, as well as on a commercial or business level, with appropriate security and quality parameters wrapped around each element. In VoIP peering, interconnection takes place directly between originating and terminating carriers. In addition to avoiding repetitive, costly, and potentially quality-damaging transcoding between technologies, this eliminates the diseconomies of wholesale "middlemen." Settlement-free peering the "gold standard" of true peering further economizes by making the costly and time-consuming processes of billing and settlement between providers unnecessary.

While the concept of VoIP peering is easy to understand, its implementation has been anything but simple. For starters, there are no standard, universally supported definitions to differentiate "peering" from "interconnection." Indeed, the terms are often used interchangeably. Many players will call any VoIP interconnection "peering"; we prefer to reserve that term for direct connections between originating and terminating service providers in support of end-to-end VoIP traffic. Some companies that offer "peering platforms," for example, support VoIP interconnection that may not be limited to, or even involve, the narrower definition of VoIP peering.

While there has not yet been a wide-scale shift away from longstanding wholesale models, Heavy Reading believes that over the longer term VoIP peering will reduce the need for many "middleman" functions performed by wholesalers. Similarly, though longstanding settlement models are not yet going away, variations of VoIP peering have the potential to drive the industry toward a settlement-free, "bill and keep" model, while providing the means to expand advanced IP services and features beyond individual service provider networks.

VoIP Peering: A Market & Technology Update analyzes the myriad effects of the industry shift toward VoIP peering (and interconnection). The report, which updates previous research conducted by Heavy Reading, examines several VoIP peering/interconnection platforms and compares the services and functions they provide, as well as the business models employed.


The report profiles 11 organizations that provide VoIP peering or interconnection at the transport, signaling, and/or ENUM level, along with the emerging IP eXchange (IPX) model. The report also includes profiles that offer the perspectives of eight related equipment or solution providers and six telecom operators that do not provide peering platforms.


The report delivers a detailed comparison of offerings and strategies of VoIP peering providers, as well as in-depth information on future development plans and potential partnerships that may affect the VoIP peering market in the coming months and years.

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Report Scope and Structure

VoIP Peering: A Market & Technology Update is structured as follows:

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

Section II examines natural peering "communities" of service providers and discusses how each community is approaching VoIP peering.

Section III evaluates VoIP interconnection/peering platforms, including a summary matrix of the functions provided by each of the 12 peering platform operators and models profiled in this report.

Section IV includes detailed company profiles for the 11 peering platform operators that were interviewed for this report, along with the GSMA's IPX model.

Section V provides company profiles and discussion summaries for the six service providers that were interviewed for this report that do not directly provide peering platforms.

Section VI provides company profiles and discussion summaries for the eight equipment, software, and solution providers that were interviewed for this report.

VoIP Peering: A Market & Technology Update 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 does your VOIP peering strategy compare with 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 best positioned 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 in the coming months and years?

VoIP Peering: A Market & Technology Update is published in PDF format.

PRICE: $3,995
Analyst at Large, Heavy Reading
Koppman has covered the North American carrier industry for 20 years as an analyst, focusing on market forecasting and analysis, issues of industry structure...
Click here for a full list of technology suppliers included in this report
60 pages of analysis covering current and projected deployment of VOIP peering in a full range of service provider networks
Products and strategies detailed for 25 different VOIP peering platform operators and technology providers
Detailed analysis of technology options available to service providers for incorporating VOIP peering into their networks
PRICE: $3,995
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