TELECOM NZ is taking its first steps towards Next Generation Voice (NGV) - its branded version of VoIP.
Over the next year the company will be staging three customer trials, the first of which kicks off next month.
Victoria Crone, Telecom head of consumer marketing, says the trial is a major step forward in the transition to an all-IP platform.
The second trial is to be based around multiservice single access, and the third will be fibre to the premises (FTTP).
Crone says Telecom is investing more than a billion dollars into its IP network.
Participants will access a range of call features using a web portal to manage services and test a range of equipment. Some will have IP-capable phones and others an NGV adapter with their existing phone.
At this stage the company hasn’t thought a lot about the channel, says Crone.
She says the biggest challenge will be educating customers about the service.
It is expected the NGV residential service will be up and running by late 2006 and Telecom is looking at the possibility of delivering entertainment services over its IP network.
“That would allow our customers to watch television and DVD-quality movies on their televisions, PCs and eventually phones,” says Crone. But it may not all be so straightforward.
Scott McKinnel, Check Point country manager Australia New Zealand, warns that VoIP is fraught with security issues.
“Everyone is jumping on the VoIP bandwagon but people don’t seem to be aware of the issues,” he says.
McKinnel believes those promo-ting VoIP have only addressed obvious concerns such as cost, quality of service, latency and functionality.
“VoIP presents a huge security challenge - after all, it is a subset of traditional internet protocol. There is a huge difference between the phone and IP world.”
Not only does VoIP carry the same challenge as securing IP, but it has more complexities due to varying protocols, multiple communication channels and varied deployment options.
He says some of the most common attacks include denial of service, voice services theft and voice system hijacking.
Check Point’s latest upgrade, the NGX platform, has been designed to help resolve some of the issues surrounding VoIP. NGX sits as the core technology that underlies Check Point’s VPN, firewall and management products.
McKinnel says NGX meets present and future internet security needs and believes it promises a sound investment for customers.