Real Time Communications Featured Article

Blending PSTN and IP to Create the New Public Network

May 29, 2014

While online communications is booming and there are a considerable amount of voice calls traveling today over the Internet, the public switched telephone network (PSTN) is still significant and connects the majority of voice calls with quality and reliability. While talks of VoIP, WebRTC and other IP communications have started to make their way into enterprises, more than one billion people, emergency services and the majority of businesses still rely on the PSTN.




In a recent blog post, David Walsh, president and CEO of GENBAND, calls for a need for a transformed public network and offered some tips on practical approaches to this transformation.

One of the key challenges moving to an all-IP world is finding a solution that will provide the same quality, reliability and ubiquity that the PSTN has been able to provide globally for the last 100 years. Instead of abandoning this $130-billion industry for voice in the U.S. alone, Walsh urges us to invest in it.

“Mobile and fixed experiences are blending, with the growth of hot spots and Wi-Fi, while bundled services continue to fuel growth with triple and quadruple plays,” he explained. “How can the different tier carriers in the U.S. and the competitive carriers finally make the move to support the future IP network while gracefully unwinding the world’s largest legacy utility – with no interruption of essential services?”

Companies like Google, Skype, Facebook and WhatsApp have emerged in response to the need for real time communications and connecting people. He says the way to merge the old and the new is to migrate the essential PSTN networks to more modern technology – similar to companies like Skype, WhatsApp, fring and other over the top (OTT) alternatives.

“There’s a huge upside opportunity to serve both consumers and businesses better that can impact the economy, building on a $130 billion market already in place,” he said.

In addition to serving customers better, transforming the PSTN to IP offers incredible energy and cost savings – it can reduce energy costs up to 70 percent, reduce water usage 70 percent, reduce real estate requirements by 85 percent and reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent.

Integrating the old with the new is what the future of the “public network” looks like. 




Edited by Maurice Nagle

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