Sunday, May 01, 2005

Numbering

Number of the Beast


One of the hot industry topics is numbering, and the hot topics are how to assign numbers to VoIP subscribers and how to determine when a particular E.164 PSTN number can be routed more directly via VoIP.
ENUM was the answer to this, but while it's a good spec, it's not much of a usable global service yet. So it's natural that the industry would develop a series of incompatible alternatives. A few recent announcements:
GNUP, which is a combination of numbering plan, software library, and translation service from the folks who (allegedly) brought you the Peerio "serverless" VoIP client.
DUNDi, which is a peer-to-peerish number translation specification with a hierarhical web of trust anchored by a few VoIP players. It looks more like a p2p file query than a TRIP routing mesh, but I haven't read the spec yet. So far the established players seem skeptical. More info in this Voxilla article.
No doubt there will be more to come.
Not speaking officially for EarthLink, which I never do without wearing my pointy hat and velvet robes of office, I'd have to say that this is going to turn into a giant stinking mess before it gets better. It probably won't be any more malodorous than what we currently have. Right now you don't just give somebody your phone number for the "pure VoIP" services. You give them an instruction manual.
I'll just stick with my SIP URIs for the moment. They're simple, globally unique, and almost 100% guaranteed never to receive any calls. That's everything I want from a telephone number.
sincerely,
sip:5299131@sip.earthlink.net
aka sip:rsanders@mindspring.com
aka sip:sandersr@corp.earthlink.net
Updated: Richard Stastny pointed out my geriatric RFC# for ENUM, so I rejuvenated it to 3761.

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