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Skype and AudioCodes Unite for VoIP Peering

The concept is not necessarily new given the ability for any enterprise to establish SIP trunks to others and directly peer VoIP traffic, but Skype (News - Alert) and AudioCodes recently made an announcement that adds a couple of new dimensions to the process. They announced that the AudioCodes Mediant 1000 Multi-Service Business Gateway (News - Alert) has been certified as interoperable with Skype for SIP. Skype for SIP is a new offering from Skype that enables a business to use its existing SIP gateway to send calls directly in to the Skype VoIP cloud as well as receive calls from it.

From the announcement:

This will enable the majority of the world’s small and medium-sized businesses, who are still using legacy TDM PBXs and key systems to communicate more efficiently by directing their outbound calls to mobile phones and landlines around the world through Skype. It will also allow them to receive inbound calls from Skype users.

Interoperability with Skype for SIP means that small businesses can take advantage of the cost savings provided by Skype’s low-cost global calling rates when their employees call landlines and mobile phones around the world. A company can also receive inbound voice calls from any of the more than 521 million registered Skype users around the world via a global click-to-call button on its Web site.

In addition to the low-cost calling, businesses have access to other features such as the ability to purchase local access numbers in any country where they are so that others can call them and only pay local rates.

This announcement is important for several reasons. First, it accelerates VoIP peering in the Skype cloud. This is no longer a trend, but rather a major, permanent shift away from the PSTN, TDM and the legacy revenue model of minutes. Second, it allows old school telco gear to stay in the small business phone closet with a slight modification. This adjustment lets them continue to amortize their investment but also lets them take advantage of VoIP peering now. In addition, and probably most helpful from a technophobia sense, with AudioCodes (News - Alert) acting as the bridge between the two worlds of TDM and IP they can help deal with varying protocols for the Skype interface so that it is not left up to the small businesses to do it themselves. This insures a smooth integration and resolution of issues if and when they arise.

Haim Melamed, director of corporate and channel marketing at AudioCodes, had this to say, “AudioCodes already interoperates with numerous PBXs and key systems, and the Mediant 1000 Multi-Service gateway is now Skype for SIP certified. This makes inbound and outbound calling possible through Skype. The development of the bridge we create means that any business using the AudioCodes gateway can peer with the 521 million Skype users.”

Of course any business using the AudioCodes gateway can peer with other users of the same gateway using dedicated SIP trunking, but it is too binary and becomes unmanageable. For the full benefits of the Skype relationship to be realized the business users need to register with Skype for Skype for SIP on the Skype server. This requires them to get a Skype ID, or Skype number assigned to them directly from Skype for endpoint resolution to and from the Skype VoIP cloud.

The assignment of unique Skype identifiers is essential to the success of the service. Matt Jordan, enterprise business development manager for Skype, states, “Since we are not a carrier we do not do number portability.” This allows Skype to avoid the issues around who actually owns the telephone numbers that the businesses are using today. Since they do not get ported, or used in any way, they do not become an actual part of the Skype cloud.

This is truly an entirely new calling system with a full and complete break from the PSTN and its proprietary numbering scheme. The drain plug on the PSTN has been pulled, and the drain is now getting wider. IT

Hunter Newby (News - Alert) is CEO of Allied Fiber (

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