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Arbinet News


New peering challenges- portability’s curveball



Convergence is set to upend the peering sector, executives told PTC’09
attendees. Arbinet CTO Steve Heap said portability is “where it gets interesting”
as discovery becomes a major issue. Carriers have so far been relatively
open with necessary routing information but portability meant traditional
methods of identifying termination points no longer applied.

The challenge is made worse by converged services, agreed Interconnect
Solutions CTO Sridhar Ramachandran. “Mobile phones are becoming
integrated devices,” he said, explaining consumers might now have a
single phone number tied to multiple termination points such as handsets,
messaging and cable access – all serviced by different providers.
But while Ramachandran believes ENUM will resolve such peering
challenges, Heap was more pessimistic. “I disagree really with whether
ENUM is going to be the solution.” He said Arbinet found it more important
to identify a terminating carrier rather than an IP address to hash out a
least-cost routing scenario, arguing at that point it didn’t matter whether
traffic was TDM or VoIP.

Heap said peering would remain as a method for routing voice calls but
would likely end there. “That’s as far as it goes,” he said, disputing
Ramachandran’s assertion the “real value” would come in peering other
services. “We don’t just want to peer voice,” Ramachandran insisted.
Heap also argued the advent of peering federations were likely to be
limited to environments where service providers were not competing in
the same market as operators might fear rivals using shared information to
poach customers. XConnect vice president Rolf Lumpe disagreed, saying
his company’s success at launching international peering federations
proved the concept had merit and claiming Asian carriers “liked to peer”
with his South Korean alliance; two more regional federations are planned
for this year.

Pipe Networks CEO Bevan Slattery meanwhile said his company was
encouraged by the rising use of DSLAMs to sell VoIP services to normal
people—a trend boosting his voice peering traffic.
"All the geeks are on,” he said, “but my parents don’t know what it is.”
Transforming copper traffic to SIP lets old people still use their fixed
phones without even realizing they’re using a VoIP service. That kind of
rollout should increase peering demand, Slattery said.
But he warned against placing too much stock in peering sector forecasts,
noting his mum sees a handset as a voice device while his daughter
is likelier to be more concerned with its SMS and email functionality. That
transformative leap was unanticipated a decade ago and peering players
need to expect similar curveballs going forward. “It’s not going to be an IP
version of the traditional TDM core we see in the next five years,” he allowed.



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