They may call it “Voice over IP,” “VoIP,”
Internet telephony,” or “computer telephony,”
but we think of it as “that way to make phone calls
over the Internet for a lot less money.” With names
like “Vonage” and “Skype” becoming
part of the common language and frequent announcements
about new VoIP services from the big phone companies,
many individuals and businesses are considering VoIP as
an option to POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service).
VoIP make sense for you or your law firm? You may well
find yourself in a position where you have to investigate
the issues and make the decision. Well, grab yourself
an acronym dictionary (necessary for any foray into
the telecom world) and use the following list of links
to turn yourself into a VIP of VoIP.
- What is Internet Telephony? (http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/I/Internet_telephony.html)
– The Webopedia is a good starting point for
learning about VoIP. You can start with the definition
and follow some of their collected links.
- The Wikipedia – Voice Over IP
– If you haven’t yet heard of or tried
the Wikipedia, this subject gives you a good reason
to try it. The idea of the Wikipedia is to create
a volunteer, “open source” encyclopedia
of topical knowledge. The Voice over IP section is
both a good illustration and a great overview of VoIP.
- Home of the Dumb Question: How Does Outbound
VoIP Work? (http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger/mtarchive/002686.html)
– Someone asks some the questions the rest of
us want to ask, including how to say “VoIP.”
The answer seems to be “voip as in void.”
- Darwin Executive Guides – Voice over
– It’s hard to beat Darwin Magazine’s
Executive Guides as a great place to get an executive
summary of the technology and business issues on any
subject they cover. The VoIP guide is no exception.
With a quick read of this guide, people will marvel
at your grasp of the subject.
- Telecom Regulation and Voice Over IP (http://www.bitpipe.com/detail/RES/1078511693_323.html)
– Level 3 and other commercial providers have
made available their brief to the FCC. It provides
a good high-level overview of VoIP and the relevant
Delving into the Details
- The CT Portal (http://www.computertelephony.org/)
– CT means computer telephony. Their goal was
“to make this one of the most useful CT resources
on the web.” You’ll find links, case studies,
white papers and news here. An excellent starting
point for further research.
- Ohio State’s Voice Over IP Resources
– For those with a deep interest, you cannot
find anything much better than this list of resources
and links maintained at Ohio State. It links papers,
technical information and a long lit of other resources.
- Texas Instruments’ Voice Over IP Overview
– A good, short overview and many articles on
a variety of VoIP topics.
For Serious Students
- Internet2 VoIP Working Group (http://voip.internet2.edu/)
– Are you seriously serious about VoIP? Well,
here’s where you find the major players at work
constructing standards and preparing the way for the
- MIT’s Program on Internet and Telecoms
– If you are interested in policy and technical
issues, this MIT site is a great resource. Check out
the Research section for tons of information.
- SIP FAQs (http://www.world-of-adsl.com/index.php?special=sip_faqs)
– The world of telecom is definitely the world
of acronyms. One that you will run into in connection
with VoIP is SIP (Session Initiation Protocol). This
set of Frequently Asked Questions will help you get
up to speed on SIP. For even more details, see the
SIP FAQ at http://www.egyed.com/faq/sip_faq.html.
Vonage, Skype, Hype and Current Developments
Armed with this list, you will be well on your way
to becoming the go-to expert on VoIP in your firm, with
all of the accolades and benefits that will bring. On
the other hand, maybe it’s best if you pass this
list on to someone else who might enjoy the frantic
questions about why the phones and email are down at
the same time.
Dennis Kennedy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
is a computer lawyer and legal technology consultant
based in St. Louis, Missouri. He speaks and writes frequently
on legal, technology and Internet topics and was named
the 2001 TechnoLawyer of the Year by TechnoLawyer.com.
His highly regarded web site at www.denniskennedy.com
collects many of his articles and is the home of his