The likelihood that the plain old telephone system will not endure unchanged over the next decade seems pretty well accepted within the telecommunications industry. All of the major communications equipment manufacturers, including those whose primary business has been traditional telephony, have committed substantial resources to developing equipment for networks in which voice is carried as digital data, often compressed, along with nonvoice data over a common packet-switched infrastructure. These networks are of various kinds, both wireline and wireless. Central to the thinking behind them is the assumption that, in the future, voice will constitute only a minor fraction of the total traffic to be carried. It will therefore be wisest, the reasoning goes, to optimize the networks for data communication and to fit voice in as well as possible. That is easier said than done. While data networks are designed to provide large amounts of capacity whenever they can, they may delay data packets until such capacity is available. Such behavior is a poor match for voice traffic, which needs only modest capacity but can tolerate only short delays. Before long, therefore, most of these data-oriented networks will be fitted with mechanisms for dedicating or reserving capacity for time- and… Read full this story
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