Net2Phone (NASDAQ: NTOP) a long time pioneer in the VoIP space, and a company which always has innovated, has become the first of the SIP based VoIP companies to firmly say, we're playing in the WiFi space with their announcement today.
While much of this is saying "we can do this" rather than "we are doing this" the underlying theme is that Net2Phone wants to be the wireless carriers first thought when it comes to adding telephony services.
With their already existing telephony platform Net2Phone has the infrastructure to make this work. What they are doing is clearly saying there are many devices that can be SIP endpoints---handsets or voice terminals such as PDA's, laptops, desktops, which connect to the Internet wirelessly and "we want to be the telephony carrier for you." The you can be a consumer in their home, a business, a campus or a chain of hotspots.
What this means is like AT&T and Vonage, SLAs and Peering relationships will be needed, to insure quality. It also means that cable companies and telcos either can "buy" the platform from Net2Phone, borrow the platform from them--i.e. allow users unfettered access to the Net2Phone service or do it themsleves and block access.
Right now, port blocking is a very minor effort by the cable and telcos who provide broadband service to homes and businesses. But since some of the broadband providers block port 25, effectively limiting users with the ability to use their own SMTP servers and another port (130 ?) which makes it impossible to run a server inside the home that can be accessed remotely. Fortunately companies like HotSpotVPN solve that problem for users, but then when it comes to VoIP, some carriers can't work through the VPN easily.
So, if the last mile carriers block the ports which the VoIP providers use it then will slow down the acceptance and usage. My guess is they will, if only to extract a "toll" from either the VoIP carrier or the end user, if the FCC in the USA, and other communications administrators don't keep broadband "toll free" the same way our USA Interstate highways are for now. Just as they have driven growth across the USA, so too will "toll free" broadband.
Lastly, this clearly means the last mile carriers have to lift the choke point on upload speeds. Right now the standard upload speed limit is 256k, minus headroom for control and reporting. VOIP providers want 90k, even if you can make it work for less. Traffic needs to both be prioritized and given additional speed to avoid the possible issues of latency, jitter, fltter and packet loss that made VOIP call quality suffer in the past.
For NET2PHONE they are clearly creating a service delivery platform for wireless telephony. The question is, will the others in the broadband eco-system play nice?