Why Enum matters to VOIP peering

Enum is putting IP telephony on the map and expanding the world of VoIP

Behind the scenes in VOIP peering services is Enum, a protocol that translates telephone numbers to related IP addresses. Most VOIP peering services use Enum databases to connect telephone calls from one VOIP network to another and to keep the traffic on IP networks.

"Enum is one example of a directory service that is essential to the industry as it deploys IP throughout the world and delivers a whole variety of voice, data, video and other content services,'' says Jeff Ganek, CEO of NeuStar. "Enum is particularly important because it enables the delivery of all these advanced services, which are possible because of the billions of dollars of investment the industry has made in IP technology, to billions of endpoints on the worlds' networks that are addressed by telephone numbers.''

NeuStar has offered Enum services for three years and has 1.3 billion telephone numbers in its Enum database. Half of those telephone numbers are corporate and the other half are residential.

NeuStar's Enum service is bundled into SIP-IX, a new service that allows carriers to cooperate and keep traffic on IP networks.

"We're seeing a very significant explosion of additional services that are now being rolled out, like instant messaging, push-to-talk, video sharing, video telephony as well as premium content services,'' says Mark Foster, CTO of NeuStar. "Carriers need additional service elements to enable that traffic to work between IP networks. That's the suite of services of SIP-IX.''

NeuStar is running a trial of SIP-IX with mobile, cable and wireline carriers. NeuStar won't identify the number or names of the carriers participating in the trial.

"Part of the value proposition of SIP-IX is the interoperability among different carriers, such as cable to wireless and cable to wireline,'' Foster says. Interoperability is "very important for fixed/mobile convergence."

Foster says that all the services in the SIP-IX trial use Enum and most involve VOIP.

"A few involve large enterprises as well as consumer services,'' Foster says. "The enterprises are looking for such productivity enhancements as dynamic call routing across multiple networks through multiple types of devices.''

NeuStar executives predict carriers will introduce new end-to-end IP services based on the interoperability features of SIP-IX in the first half of 2007.

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