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Mobile VoIP as an extension of mobility to a VoIP Voice over IP network.
A mobile handset can be integrated into a VoIP network in many ways.
One is turning the mobile device into a standard SIP client, which then uses a data network to send and receive SIP messaging, and to send and receive RTP for the voice path. Turning a mobile handset into a standard SIP client requires that the mobile handset support, at minimum, is at high speed IP communications. EVDO rev A (which is synchronously high speed — both high speed up and down), HSDPA, WiFi or WiMAX are standard VoIP protocols that are compatible with this application.
Another is using a softswitch as a mobile integration mechanism, by making it a gateway to bridge SIP and RTP into the mobile network's SS7 infrastructure. With this, the mobile handset continues to operate natively (as a GSM or CDMA based device), but allows to be controlled by a SIP application server which can now provide advanced SIP based services to it. A number of vendors provide this kind of capability today.
Mobile VoIP is an attempt to balance between economy and mobility. For instance, while voice over Wi-Fi offers free services it is only accessible within the coverage area of a Wi-Fi Access Point. On the other hand, high speed services from mobile operators using EVDO rev A or HSDPA may have superior audio quality and capabilities for metropolitan-wide coverage including fast handoffs among mobile base stations, but it costs more than the typical Wi-Fi-based VoIP service.
Mobile VoIP is foreseen to be an important service in the coming years as device manufacturers go for more powerful processors and less costly memory to meet user needs for ever-more 'power in their pocket'. In mid-2006, smartphones are capable of sending and receiving email, browsing the web (albeit at low rates) and in some cases allowing a user to watch TV.
The main challenge for the mobile operator industry is to deliver IP benefits and innovations without sacrificing the network service. Users would definitely patronize services that provide free Internet access that run at high speed without extra charges for visiting specific sites. Such a service challenges the most valuable service in the telecommunications industry — voice — and that which may bring profound changes to the nature of the global communications industry.
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