Meet the Mockers: the anti-VoIP machine fires up

As a journalist for longer than I can remember, I know this about my fraternity. Whether it is music, art, movies, books or technology, we love to point to trends that few know about.

As a journalist for longer than I can remember, I know this about my fraternity. Whether it is music, art, movies, books or technology, we love to point to trends that few know about. Then, when what we have hyped becomes a phenomenon, some of us seek attention by adopting a contrarian attitude.

Hasn't happened with "Lost," or the iPod, but it may be happening with VoIP. Rather than just another "here's a great way to save money on your phone bill," it's time for the contrarians.

I have three contrarian type articles for you today.

On Networking Pipeline, Phil Britt's posted an article entitled Six Reasons to Avoid VoIP.

Phil writes:

"Despite all the marketing hype from Voice-over-Internet-Protocol providers and the trend away from traditional phone services to the IP-based technology, VoIP isn't necessarily the right choice for all companies.

'It's much better than the original IP of five or 10 years ago, but VoIP is still a new technology, so it still has some problems; though they're getting to be fewer,'" says independent, Atlanta-based telecommunications analyst Jeff Kagan. "In 10 years all [telecommunications] will be VoIP, but right now most of the installations are a combination of VoIP and traditional phone service. I don't know that you'll ever get to a point where you want to drop a traditional phone service.' "

I have a lot of respect for Jeff. He's authoritative, and he returns phone calls and emails, which not a lot of analysts do. But way back when, I learned never to say "ever."

Next we have Hitting Snags with Vonage, a yada, yada piece in BusinessWeek Online. Handset problems, latency, echo, network problems, and -hey, guess what! "You may not be able to reach 911.. and you'll also need a high-speed Internet connection." I know Bidness Week isn't a high-tech publication, but don't you think their readers already have high-speed connections where they work and even when they travel?

If you think that's a bunch of overgeneralized babble, wait until you read the new Computerworld piece, What makes anyone think IP telephony is secure?

Gotta give author Ira Winkler his props. He is, after all, president of the Internet Security Advisors Group, a former National Security Agency analyst and the author of "Spies Among Us" (Wiley, 2005). But his main premise - only somewhat simplified is:

  • The Internet is full of bad guys.
  • VoIP calls travel on the Internet.
  • The bad guys can grab your VoIP calls.

I'm not sure I am getting the sum total of Winkler's specific knowledge on this matter. So up until then, I'd have to lump him with the VoIP debunkers.

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