Ask Dave Taylor: Tech and Business


Can Narus kill off the VOIP phenomenon?

In a story entitled The VOIP Backlash, the IEEE Spectrum is reporting that Narus, Inc. has:

"devised a way for telephone companies to detect data packets belonging to VoIP applications and block the calls. For example, now when someone in Riyadh clicks on Skype's "call" button, Narus's software, installed on the carrier's network, swoops into action. It analyzes the packets flowing across the network, notices what protocols they adhere to, and flags the call as VoIP. In most cases, it can even identify the specific software being used, such as Skype's."

If, like me, you're just getting into the entire world of Voice over IP or Internet Telephony, this story should be pretty disturbing.

The IEEE Spectrum writes that this solution from Narus isn't expected to affect within-VOIP-network calls (e.g., Skype to Skype) but rather VOIP calls that are redirected out onto the existing telephony infrastructure (Skype calls this "Skype Out" and Vonage makes it a cornerstone of their VOIP offering, for example). The IEEE Spectrum, however, might not be entirely correct...