WebRTC World Feature Article

May 08, 2014

Voxbone Adds WebRTC Support on Global VoIP Backbone


Technology is all about the old meeting the new, and many times the new replacing the old. In the world of online communications, this refers to the PSTN and VoIP, and VoIP and WebRTC. Voxbone, a telecommunication service provider in 52 countries, has announced support for WebRTC calling on its global VoIP backbone. I caught up with Dries Plasman, VP of marketing and product management, using WebRTC conferencing to discuss the move, how this builds on Voxbone’s services, the changing requirements for enterprise communications and what Voxbone’s role in the WebRTC industry is now.

Plasman places a lot of emphasis on quality of service. In customer satisfaction surveys, Voxbone asks companies to rank all types of attributes of its service in importance. Every time, every year the most important is quality.  He says while this isn’t the case for residential applications – the first consideration for them will many times be price – quality is also important despite a freemium model. Enterprises are still ready and willing to pay a premium price to have a reliable, high-quality communication service. With Voxbone’s backbone, it’s able to integrate quality with WebRTC functionality.

Voxbone has been using WebRTC for internal use and testing in its conference bridges. Plasman explains that by default, WebRTC runs over the public Internet, which can introduce some quality issues when there are more than two people calling. He cites his experiences with Skype, which he uses for long-distance and international calls. “In half of the cases I have trouble. It’s not because of Skype, it’s because over the Internet it’s still a long way to connect with many networks in between,” he said.

From a customer perspective, end users don’t see a difference if a call is originated from a network or a browser. Enterprises like WebRTC because it simplifies the development on the client side and secures communication end-to-end. Voxbone “deals with the complexity of WebRTC and evolving standards. My browser checks with the network to see which has the best Internet connection,” he explained.

Voxbone works with 13 different internet service providers (ISPs) to ensure good quality from the browser to the point of connection with its private network. Calls are also delivered over a regular SIP trunk, so users can start using WebRTC without any investment in network infrastructure.

One of the benefits of WebRTC is that it has a lot of security components in it, which allows companies like Voxbone to encrypt the authentication, signaling and calls from a browser. Those security components are not development-specific to Voxbone, but the company can also add security on top of quality of service from its backbone. These two things – quality of service and security – are two important considerations when developing and delivering enterprise communications solutions.

Plasman said Voxbone’s role in the WebRTC community is now very complementary to other providers in the space. He said there are a lot of software and hardware developers in WebRTC, but not many service providers. Moving forward, he also talked about some things that need to happen in the WebRTC community to really kickstart the technology forward. One of those is the focus on mobile.

“WebRTC goes beyond the browser. The browser is OK for desktop use, but not for mobile use. For mobile, it needs to be a client,” he said. “WebRTC introduces a couple of interesting things in terms of service – new codecs, quality for voice and video and does not consume too much bandwidth. But it doesn’t do signaling and routing, which today only phone numbers that are IP addresses do. We can’t say WebRTC will create a revolution with person-to-person calling because signaling and routing elements aren’t there were never meant to be in there. Something will come later and integrate with it.”

Voxbone is launching private beta with 10 of its customers, which include contact center and conferencing companies that can benefit from using QoS in click-to-call or click-to-join buttons, and expects general availability in the fourth quarter. 

Want to learn more about the latest in WebRTC? Be sure to attend WebRTC Conference & Expo, June 17-19 in Atlanta, Ga. Stay in touch with everything happening at the event -- follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Alisen Downey



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