Vonage Hits ISP Resistance

Joe Abley jabley at isc.org
Thu Mar 31 17:25:09 UTC 2005

On 31 mars 2005, at 10:36, Greg Boehnlein wrote:

> VoIP is great. VoPI (Voice over Public Internet) is great when it 
> works,
> but I wouldn't bet my life or my business on it.

I've been using voice over the public Internet for a long time, and the 
only times it has been unavailable (at a time that I tried to use it, 
and hence noticed) has been when my DSL has been down. When my DSL has 
been down, by and large, my analogue Bell Canada line has also been 

When I get around to plumbing in the $24/month cable modem in my 
basement in a half-sensible way I'll be multi-homed, and I predict that 
in terms of availability the VoIP phone will then be more reliable than 
the analogue Bell Canada line.

The requirement for QoS is over-stated by most people, in my opinion. 
Extreme example: I made several SIP calls from Uganda over a congested 
satellite link during one of the AfNOG meetings within the closed 
INOC-DBA network, and the call quality was perfectly acceptable; wildly 
better, in fact (even with 20% packet loss) than using a GSM phone to 
call the same people over the PSTN. It had the additional benefit of 
not costing about $10/minute.

I wouldn't bet my life on the availability of VoIP service from my home 
office, but I wouldn't bet it on the availability of Bell Canada's 
analogue service either.

Fortunately, probably like everybody else here (and, increasingly, most 
people within the likely demographic to which VoIP service is marketed) 
I have a cellphone. The next time someone melodramatically collapses in 
my living room clutching their chest and mouthing "call an ambulance" I 
suspect we will be ok.


(No disrespect intended towards Bell Canada, who are probably the best 
local phone company I have experienced to date, based on personal 
experience on three continents. It's no accident that all telcos 
exclude the copper residential access network from their declarations 
of five-nines reliability.)

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