BUSINESS ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB: where "word of keystroke" begins

July 3, 1997 -- Internet telephony and FAX

Transcript of the live chat session that took place Thursday, July 3, 1997. These sessions are normally scheduled for noon-1 PM Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4) every Thursday.

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Since the chat itself happens at a rapid pace, it's often difficult to note interesting facts in particular URLs as they appear on-line. Here's a place to take a more leisurely look. I've rearranged some of the pieces to try to capture the various threads of discussion (which sometimes get lost in the rush of live chat).

Please send email with your follow-on questions and comments, and suggestions for topics we should focus on in future sessions. So long as the volume of email responses is manageable, I'll post the most pertinent ones here for all to see.

Threads (reconstructed after the fact):

Today's participants


Richard Seltzer -- We'll be starting our chat session on Business on the World Wide Web at noon (Eastern Time). Our focus will be on Internet telephony. As you connect, please introduce yourselves and tell us about your interests.

Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, David, Jim and Monique. Please introduce yourselves and let us know your interests.

Ed Jaros -- Hello all.

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Hello - this is Bob , an independant consultant in the Dallas Ft. Worth, Texas area.

David Rosenthal -- I am in technical marketing for VocalTec we produce IP telephony products that enable both fax and voice over IP networks.

Richard Seltzer -- Monique -- I see that you are with "sympatico" in Canada.
What's your line of business?

monique ivany -- I do word processing from my home office

Richard Seltzer -- Welcome, Bob and Ed. David -- glad you can be here to give the voice/telephone point of view. Your Internet Phone was the first piece of software that I bought by credit card over the Web. That was over two years ago.

Richard Seltzer -- Monique -- are you still there? have you ever used an Internet phone? or Internet FAX? 

Future/Potential of Internet telephony

David Rosenthal -- What does everyone think about the future of IP telephony??

Richard Seltzer -- Last week we started our discussion on Internet telephony and FAX. As it turned out most of the emphasis was on FAX. I left with the feeling that we had barely scratched the surface, and that we need to get a clearer idea of what is available today, what are the barriers to adoption, and what are the long-term opportunities -- for value-added services beyond simply saving on long-distance costs. I firmly believe that the heart of the Internet is connecting people to people, not just people to documents; and these kinds of applications are likely to play a crucial role in the future of the Internet and of business on the Internet.

Richard Seltzer -- All -- I'm convinced that there are numerous opportunities which fall into the value-added category -- like unified messaging and such. (Dave Cedrone sent me an email quickly summarizing those opportunities yesterday. and I added it to last week's transcript But for us to begin to turn those opportunities into reality the base products have to be in general use and people need to turn to them regularly and habitually. So how do we get from here to there? 

How and why to use Internet phone/FAX stuff?

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- Hello! I finally made it. I'm confused. If I have the software, can I contact someone who doesn't or do we both have to have the software?

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- Okay. Except for saving on long distance charges (which is a good one), is there any other reason to use the net phone or FAX?

Richard Seltzer -- Barbara -- I believe that there are many good reasons to use Internet telephony. But most of them only come into play when the technology is widely used. I heard a great presentation by Anil Kapoor of Digital (talking to some folks from GTE) talking about all the unified messaging stuff and things like "voice over" for Web pages -- where you can look at an ordinary Web page and talk over an Internet phone with a service rep at the same time, over the same phone line. A lot of that stuff though is 3-5 years out in the future. The real benefit comes from truly integrating today's Internet capabilities with voice communication.

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- I know this has been asked before, but I'm not sure I understood the answer. Who actually is using this? Is it one large company that is letting its employees talk to each other or are several businesses talking to each other or are a few tech-advanced individuals talking to each other?

Richard Seltzer -- Barb -- By the way, from last week's discussion, I believe that there are a number of interesting things one can do with FAX over the Internet that are not possible with an ordinary FAX machine -- including broadcasting FAXes to a number of users at once, checking the status of FAXes you have sent, etc. (That's just my rough recollection -- Jim, can you fill in the blanks?)

Jim Ciociolo -- Barb-- that's the beauty of desktop faxing, no need to stand in line at the fax machine and enter numbers. Can you imagine sending out a 5000 piece fax broadcast thru the traditional fax machine?

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- I'm sold on the Fax capability, but am still trying to figure if the cost of all the hardware and software you use for net telephone is worth it for the individual.

Ed Jaros -- i agree with barbara. Net fax makes sense to me and seems simple enough. Net phone...?

FAX over the Internet and Netcentric

James Ciociolo -- Hi Richard, Are we live yet? Jim

Richard Seltzer -- Jim -- Yes, we're live. Just getting started. David Rosenthal from Vocaltec is on and I was just asking him some questions about the phone side of Internet telephony. I understand that you at Netcentric have software that works in the background at an ISP or on an Intranet to help facilitate Internet telephony and FAX. Are your products compatible with those of Vocaltec? Do you partner with one another?

James Ciociolo -- Richard--our Faxstorm software is designed for Network Providers to offer IP Fax services to their customers. In addition we have published our MSIX metering protocol with Compaq and see a great fit for enabling applications like Vocaltec servers to be able to bill and measure usage.

David Rosenthal -- James- Does this enable desktop to desktop/fax maching over the Internet?

James Ciociolo -- David, We can enable desktop to desktop, desktop to fax machine, fax machine to desktop all over the net. (point to point, broadcast and in box).

James Ciociolo -- David, We also have a software development kit (C++) library to enable application servers (voice,video,dataconferencing) for IP Faxing. Check out for the list of partners who support our protocol.

James Ciociolo -- All, We actually run a market trial fax service out of our Cambridge facility. If any of you are interested in a test drive I'd be happy to set you all up with free accounts.

Richard Seltzer -- Jim -- yes, I'd be interested in testing your FAX service. Please set up an account for me. By the way, do you have any stats on Internet phone usage? Or are you mainly concentrating on FAX today?

James Ciociolo -- We have had over 25,000 users send faxes using our market trial systems for the past 9 months.Demand is growing fast. We keep pushing our end user demand back to our customers (the ISP's) 

Telephony/FAX as ISP Value-Added

David Rosenthal -- Fax and Voice over the Internet are natural markets for ISPs who are constantly looking to add value in a generally over crowded market

Richard Seltzer -- David -- what is the business proposition for the ISP? What do they offer? At what price? And what benefit does their customer receive?

James Ciociolo -- Richard, We are concentrating on our fax software as an application but pushing hard at developing our metering/billing software to work with the leading IP telephony vendors in voice,video and data conferencing. Davids...sound like you and I should speak off line.

David Rosenthal -- When ISPs become ITelephonySPs, they add gateways at their POPs, distribute Internet Phone, and give their customers the ability to call a regular phone while routing most of the call through the Internet. An Internet Phone user in Germany, can use Iphone to connect to a Gateway in LA and place a call on the PSTN to Hollywood, this call costs the ITSP a local call, it would have cost the person in Germany 80 cents per minute, so the ITSP will bill the person at a rate somewhere in the middle

James Ciociolo -- All of the ISP's are trying to move up the value add chain. Many of them are poised to become ASP's (application service providers) note: PSInet's Internet Paper, UUNET IP Fax 

The role of billing/pricing

Richard Seltzer -- Jim -- I understand that billing can be crucial here. But who is doing the billing and to whom? When I use Internet Phone, I think I'm just connecting to another user on the Internet and that's all covered as part of my Internet access fee with my ISP. So what additional billing could and should be involved?

David Rosenthal -- The issue here is the integeration of the Telephony Gateway which bridges IP telephony with the PSTN allowing Iphone calls to terminate at regular telephones. When the Internet Phone call hits the gateway and is routed onto a pots line, the service provider that is offering gateway service can then begin to charge for this service.

Richard Seltzer -- DAvid -- the "integration of the Telephone Gateway" sounds important, but I must admit that I get lost in the technical vocabulary. Are you saying that if I want my call to reach someone who is not on the Internet, who just has a regular phone, then special switching has to take place and somebody needs to charge for that? If so, are there such providers today? What do you charge? And how does one set up to do business with them?

David Rosenthal -- We provide the software for the Telephony Gateway. A Windows NT computer is setup with a network card, and a dialogic voice board. An internet Phone user signs up with a service provider (there are currently 3 with many more running betas right now). Then you just dial a phone number into Internet Phone, which sends voice via IP to the Telephony Gateway which then routes the call out on the PSTN.

Todd -- David - How do you collect revenue? Is it one time for the software, or is usage metered? Also, do you see any regulation on the horizon since the internet bandwidth the service uses is "free"?

David Rosenthal -- As far as regulation goes, Reed Hundt CoFCC made a phone call using an Internet Telephony Service Providers who use VocalTecs Telephony Gateway and said that he had no interest in regulating a service like this

James Ciociolo -- Richard, With regard to billing, it is apparent that the adoption of IP Telephony applications by the big telco's and backbone ISP's will not accelerate until they have a standards based infrastructure in place. We are not trying to be a billing company but we are developing the metering "middleware" for enabing IP applications to be billable. We can count the minutes,packets,bytes,'s all measurable with the MSIX protocol. 

Telephone over the Internet and Vocaltec

Richard Seltzer -- David -- When I first got Internet Phone, it was a fascinating toy. You had things set up so you could easily connect with strangers around the world and have random conversations. But at that point none of the people that I normally telephone was properly equipped, so I never got into real one-to-one phone calls. Has that environment changed? How many folks have Internet Phone or compatible software today? And is there any easy way to see a directory of them?

David Rosenthal -- IP telephony is in a different realm today, Iphony users can connect to regular telephone users, telephony-telephone calls can be routed over IP networks, fax can utilize this same network, multipoint audio conferences can utilize IP networks as well as a variety of clients(phones, computers, IPHONE clients, web browser plugins)

Richard Seltzer -- David -- Glad to hear that things have moved ahead so far. What's the best way to find out what is possible and how to do it? For instance, if I wanted to connect by Internet phone to an ordinary telephone user, what would I need to do that? How many different pieces of software, different companies (for the service piece) would be involved? And how transparent would that be to me as a user?

Ed Jaros -- David... is there anywhere to get a live demo of your products in Northeastern WI

David Rosenthal -- You can download a copy of our client side software from our web site, and we have demos set up on our web site, if you would like a demo of our server products you would need to see a reseller.

Richard Seltzer -- David -- related question -- how many vendors today offer similar software? and are you working together to establish standards and compatible procedures so people with one product can talk on line with people who have another?

Ed Jaros -- I believe the new Netscape Communicator 4.0 has netphone capabilities.

David Rosenthal -- In 1996 we were the first to market iPhone, after that about 30 companies joined the fray, now that number is back down below 20, while VocalTec still retains about 80% of the market share

Ed Jaros -- David - Do you see your primary market as business or personal users at this time?

David Rosenthal -- Currently IP telephony has applications in both those markets, corporate customers are interested in lowering their overhead and allowing employees advanced multimedia options from their desktops, and consumers are looking to "talk for free over the Internet"

Ed Jaros -- Will there be any Internet Phone demo's at Chicago's i-world in July?

David Rosenthal -- No but we will be at ISPCOM in San Fran 

Barriers to broad usage of Internet telephony

Ed Jaros -- David - the main question I have is this. The Internet phone concept sounds great. In your opinion why isn't it being used by the masses and what has to happen before it is.

Richard Seltzer -- David and Jim -- Do you know of any companies that are using the telephone piece of Internet telephony on a wide scale? It seems like such a natural to save money that the barriers to adoption must be more than just habit and ignorance. In particular, I understand that fire walls get in the way. Are there secure ways around that problem?

David Rosenthal -- Most of the companies that have implemented this technology are still in pilot projects and I can't discuss them, however, we (my office) have been making phone to phone calls over the Internet since September.

Todd -- For web-to-web (that is "free") calls, seems to have the same critical mass problem telephones had at the beginning. I have WebPhone but don't have anyone to call. The phone company used to sell phones in pairs in the beginning and they were referred to as "rich man's toys".

Richard Seltzer -- Todd -- I like that idea of selling phones in pairs. Do you know of anyone doing that for the Internet? And please tell me what is WebPhone? Is it just another phone software package? Or does it include more than that?

Todd -- WebPhone is from NetSpeak. They seem to be marketing heavily by giving free demo copies away via ISPs.

David Rosenthal -- And as far as phones in pairs, when consumers buy Internet Phone, they get a bonus license code.

Richard Seltzer -- All -- actually, Ed Jaros posed this question in an email -- have any of you used Internet phone or FAX capabilities (aside from just demos at trade shows)? If so, how often and how do you use it?

Ed Jaros -- The whole concept sounds great but complex. I have never used Internet phone because of this reason. And from all I hear it is a tough process to get going. Would there be a way to set up a regular looking phone type box that takes care of all the misc technical stuff to get the call from A to B via the net. As a regular user i don't want to be bothered with all that stuff. All I want to do is pick up a receiver to call. If there was a device I could just plug into the wall and use (like a regular phone) I believe it would be a great help and decrease the complexity barrier.

Richard Seltzer -- All -- I'm generally frustrated at the slow pace of adoption and would like to do whatever I can to get this technology widely adopted quickly. The more people who have it and use it, the more useful it is and the more savings and benefit comes from it. How do we get beyond the bootstrap? Is the main issue the question of being able to connect to an ordinary phone on the other end and hence having the right billing mechanism and service/switching companies in place? If so, how far are we from solving that? And also, is it possible to reverse that model -- i.e., make a call from an ordinary phone to an Internet phone and get the same cost advantage?

James Ciociolo -- To me Internet phoning would really take off if I could do it thru my desktop and not using the traditional telephone. I want to be able to speak into the "Tube" and have it work just like PSTN telephony.

Richard Seltzer -- David -- Do you have any stats on Internet phone usage? And do you know of any companies that are adopting it for general use? 

Barriers -- Internet telephone standards?

Richard Seltzer -- David -- with 30 compaines in the "fray", how many have compatible products? or are there standards in place that everyone is following? i.e., can I make a call using your Internet Phone and connect to someone using Netscape's product?

David Rosenthal -- The voice over IP forum has created a standard that will be accepted by most Iphone companies by the end of this year, currently only Intel and Microsoft support this standard, as far as Netscapes product, the last experience I had with it(beta) was a real let-down, but that's just my personal opinion.

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Richard - I believe one of the main drawbacks is the inability of one product to interface with another. i.e. IPhone won't talk to WebPhone etc. If there were a standard that allow voice ove IP used in all client software we wouldn't have to install every program available to be able to talk to different people.

Richard Seltzer -- Bob -- Amen. We need standards. But I thought from postings by David that there was some kind of standard? Yes, we need to be able to initiate a call with any kind of Internet phone software and have the call received by any kind of software or by an ordinary telephone. Any service that could mediate the differences and make everything simple for the user would be very valuable (and could probably make a bundle). Are there any such services today? 

Barriers -- Common directory service?

Richard Seltzer -- All -- in addition to either standards or services that mediate differences, we also need a common addressing system or at least a common directory where I can check out how to reach the people I want to contact. Is there anything like that in the works? Or are we dealing like the old Moscow phone system and we have to tell someone how to reach us for them ever to find us?

David Rosenthal -- Most Internet Phone companies have addressing services that allow users to associate a dynamic IP address with a static email address, and thereby eliminating the problem of direct IP addressing

Ed Jaros -- Richard - It still seems like if you want to connect to someone via net phone you have to find them on line or call them anyway to set a time to speak with them via net phone. It doesn't seem to offer spontaneous conversation like a regular phone call does.

David Rosenthal -- This kind of technology is available now, I made a departmental directory on the web that enabled users to place a call to my direct extention just by clicking a button, provided that they downloaded our Surf&Call plugin

Jim Ciociolo -- David, Isn't there value to using LDAP directory services for IP telephony just like they do for e-mail?? (Four11, Streettalk?)

David Rosenthal -- We will be integrating LDAP for our conferencing product, and for future versions of the Gateway. Towards the end of '97 LDAP supported comany directories will be able to be integrated into audio/data conferences in one quick efficient step

Richard Seltzer -- David -- I understand that LDAP is a standard directory product/service. But is anyone using that today to try to put together an Internet-wide Internet phone directory (like four11, switchboard, etc.)? Without that the usefulness of these kinds of products is severely limited.

David Rosenthal -- LDAP is more important for conferencing and multiple users that for point-to-point addressing(which we provide as a value added), I aggree that this kind of service is neccessary in the future for unified messaging and more advanced multimedia features.

Barriers -- Firewalls?

Richard Seltzer -- David -- Pardon my lack of technical knowledge, especialy with regard to fire walls. All I know is that Digital with over 50,000 employees worldwide could certainly benefit from using Internet telephony. Everyone in the company is on the Internet already. But our firewall configuration prevents us from using any streaming, real-time application -- like ReadAudio or CUSeeMe or Internet phone. I believe that that is true at many large companies. What can be done about it?

Richard Seltzer -- David -- is the firewall issue limiting the spread of your business? if so, what can be done about that?

David Rosenthal -- If you can open a specific UDP port on your firewall, you can use any VocalTec IP telephony product

David Rosenthal -- The most natural implementation is phone to PBX to Gateway to WAN to Gateway to PBX back to extention, to eliminate intraoffice phone bills, not to mention that quality is much better over private networks

Richard Seltzer -- David -- your description of the"most natural implementation" sounds interesting and valuable. Could you please send me an email expanding on that? Thanks.

jim ciociolo -- All, I think that if you look at the typical corporate end user he or she spends a lot of time on intra company conference calls and just plain dialing local extensions within the company. This seems like a natural starting point for IP phone usage (intracompany)

Richard Seltzer -- Jim -- I agree about intracompany calls. And yes those could take place inside the firewall. But it would be awkward to have to use one method for calling inside a company and another for calling out. 

The bandwidth snag -- will regulation erase this opportunity?

Todd -- I can't help but see a snag here. If IP phones become widely adopted, the internet will have to increase bandwidth which costs somebody money. But the use of it is currently free. Sounds like someone is making money on someone else's expense. Also, what happens to the AT&T, Bell Atlantic, etc. Telephony is a huge industry. I can't imagine it drying up in a short time.

Richard Seltzer -- Todd -- all those telephone companies are looking at these options very carefully. They are likely to be very interested in Netcentric's offerings -- trying to be the outfit that does the switching and hence picks up that piece of the action. In Australia, up until recently there was only one telephone company -- Telstra. Now Optus Vision, which is primarily a cable TV company, is offering telephone service to its cable customers. Just as cable companies in the US are beginning to offer Internet service, they will soon begin to offer telephone service, and that service could be by means of these Internet telephony products. Everyone is going to get into the act. I believe that bandwidth issues are only temporary. In a few years, you'll have more bandwidth than you know what to do with. 

Help in sorting out the possibilities and getting connected?

Richard Seltzer -- David and Jim -- Is there a Web site anywhere that posts all the useful and relevant info about Internet telephony? It's very confusing connecting to dozens of different sites and trying to sort out who does what and what I would need to actually get going. A one-stop site could perhaps help your segment of the market take off.

David Rosenthal -- has a wealth of info on IP telephony

Richard Seltzer -- David -- What business is in? Do they cover the offerings of all the major vendors? Do they provide any overview advice (stuff that a novice like me would need to understand what's available and how and where to buy it and how to actually place calls?)

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Richard - The closest thing that kinda pulls these products together that I have found is ICQ. It has it's own network of registered users and allows you to launch a number of phone/video clients at will. You still have to install all of the different products, but it allows mme to support a wide range of customers from one point.

Richard Seltzer -- Bob -- What is ICQ? Is there a URL? Sounds interesting.

Bob@CottageMicro.Com -- Richard -- ICQ can be found at I have a link on my home page that allows someone that is not in the network to page me in ICQ. I can then email them the ICQ client or the url. Or I can respond via telephone if they request it.

Richard Seltzer -- All -- I can't believe how fast time is passing. And it feels like every answer I see raises more questions. At a baseline level, can someone tell me simply what I would have to have/do to place a phone call over the Internet to someone in Canada? What software/hardware would I need as a minimum? What software/hardware would the recipient need as a minium (including a plain telephone)? And what intermediate service providers would I need to have accounts with? 


Richard Seltzer -- All -- I believe that we should continue this topic next week. In the meantime, I would greatly appreciate pointers to articles and white papers etc. that explain these opportunities in simple non-technical language and that can help people get connected and start using this stuff. Please send me such pointers and/or whatever summaries you have the time to put together and I'll add them to this week's transcript. My email address is

Richard Seltzer -- All -- time is running out. Please be sure to post your email and URL addresses before you sign out. And please join us again next week, when we'll continue this discussion.

Richard Seltzer -- All -- remember I will post an edited threaded version of the transcript in the next day or two. Please check Also please send me followup message at for inclusion with the transcript.

Barbara Hartley Seltzer -- I hope everyone has a good 4th of July. I look forward to learning more about this subject next week. Bye.

jim ciociolo -- have a great long weekend!

David Rosenthal -- David Rosenthal

Richard Seltzer -- Thanks to all.

Ed Jaros -- All- Thanks for the Chat. Fascinating subject; however, my underlying question still exists. How can this whole process be made simple as I believe lack of simplicity from setup to connection is the real barrier. Until next week.. 


How to send/receive Internet phone calls with an ordinary telephone

From Richard Seltzer to David Rosenthal at Vocaltec Date: 7/03/97

Thanks very much for joining in. Looks like I've got a lot to learn.

Seems like there were more questions than answers -- probably in large part because it's so difficult to type fast enough. Any followup emails would be appreciated.

At a bare minimum, I'd like to know how I could place a call to someone and have them receive it on an ordinary phone and me not having to pay long distance charges. I understand that it can be done. I just don't know how to do it. And I believe that most people in the world are just as confused as I am.

Best wishes.

Richard Seltzer

From 07/07/97 03:04 PM

Following is additional information regarding the Internet Telephony Gateway.


VocalTec's Internet Telephony Gateway uses the power of the Internet to improve the flexibility and performance of your business communications systems while reducing long distance phone charges. Building on our award-winning Internet Phone software, which enables unlimited long distance phone conversations for the cost of an Internet connection, the new Internet Phone Telephony Gateway enables computer-to-telephone, telephone-to-telephone, and telephone-to-computer calls. Beyond the cost of your Internet connection, the only additional costs incurred are for calls between the Gateway and the telephone network.

The Internet Phone Telephony Gateway presents a cost-efficient way to maximize existing investments in computers, networks and telecommunications systems. A scaleable open platform enables you to incorporate systems such as PBXs and voice mail, into the Gateway to allow full telecom connectivity. You get the convenience of initiating calls from either PCs or telephones, and the ability to communicate with anybody possessing a telephone via the public switched telephone network.


** Calls over the Internet mean you can reduce long distance phone charges. This is especially true for corporate "Intranet" and remote/branch office applications.

** Internet Phone's award-winning audio capabilities enable real-time, two-way, full-duplex conversations.

** Automatic Routing Devices send your call to the best available Gateway depending upon the call destination.

** Traffic Balancing sends calls over the least congested routes.

** Network Monitoring alerts you to points of failure on the Telephone Network and the Internet, and may also provide alternate routing to the PSTN when the Internet is congested.

** Modular Design makes it easy to integrate other technologies such as PBXs or voice mail systems with the Gateway.

** Voice Mail can be accessed for minimal charge by using the Gateway.

** Call Restrictions define the parameters for which the Gateway can be used. For instance, you can restrict the hours of service, block 900 numbers, and restrict calling to certain area codes.

** Dialing Definitions keep track of who has access to the Gateway while Password Protection prevents unauthorized access.

** Log Files enable you to keep track of usage and billing.

** Web Links let you access Gateways directly from your Web browser.

** Quick Dials give you shortcuts to frequently dialed numbers.

** Volume Control allows you to adjust the level of output.

** A Delay Management System optimizes the audio behavior over different types of network connections.


The Internet Phone Telephony Gateway is a simple yet powerful Internet voice communications solution with VocalTec's software and Dialogic Corporation's hardware.

Easy to install and configure, the system is comprised of a PC running Windows NT and the Internet Phone Telephony Gateway software, equipped with a Dialogic Corporation computer telephony card linked to the telephone network, and a fixed Internet connection through a 28.8 Kbps or faster connection.

If an Internet connection is already available in your company, it can be used simultaneously for data transfer and Gateway communication, assuming adequate bandwidth is available.


Computer-to-Telephone: When placing a call from a computer, the call travels over the Internet to the Gateway closest to the call destination (automatically determined by the system). At this point, the only charge incurred is the cost of the Internet connection. From the Gateway, the call then travels over a telephone network to its final destination and a charge is incurred for the call time between the Gateway and the call destination.

Telephone-to-Telephone: To place a call from one phone to another, simply dial the number of the Gateway closest to your current location. A voice prompt then guides you to enter the destination telephone number. Once you've entered > this number, the call travels over the Internet to the second Gateway (chosen by the system for its proximity to the call destination). From the second Gateway, the call is routed over a telephone network to its final destination. Costs for the call include only applicable charges for the call to the first Gateway, the cost of the Internet connection, and applicable charges for the call from the second Gateway.

Telephone-to-Computer: To call from a phone to a computer, first dial the number of the nearest Gateway. When prompted by the voice message, enter the destination Internet address. The call then goes to the Gateway and travels over the Internet directly to the computer your calling. Costs include the cost of the Internet connection and the call to the Gateway.

PBX-to-PBX: This corporate solution makes the Internet Phone Telephony Gateway ideal for companies with remote office locations. Using the Gateway, an employee can place a call from the company's US office to an office overseas.

The call goes over the local office PBX to the office Gateway. From the Gateway, the call then travels over the Internet to the office Gateway overseas and is routed over the local PBX to the call destination. The resulting charge is the cost of the Internet connection. Essentially, the Gateway becomes a global virtual PBX network, eliminating long distance charges on inter-office calls.

VocalTec Communications, Ltd., 35 Industrial Parkway, Northvale, NJ 07647

From: Richard Seltzer <> To: Date: 7/07/97

Thanks for the info. The possibilities are certainly intriguing, but I'm still left with lots of questions.

Are there any companies in the US, preferably in the Boston area, that have this gateway software installed? and if so how do I contact them if I want to make a long-distance call? and what do they charge for the service (ballpark)? and how can they charge anything without being subject to FCC regulations as a common carrier?

How much does your gateway product sell for? How many simultaneous callers can it handle? what other costs (equipment and service) are involved for setting up a production system?

What about firewalls?

Is there any way that I, from home in Boston, could test this capability?

Will you be able to join us for chat again this Thursday?

Best wishes.

Richard Seltzer

Internet telephony -- some fundamental considerations

From: Alan Kotok <> Date: Tue, 8 Jul 1997 13:06:40 -0400

>How goes it? Are you still involved in Internet-related projects?

Actually, yes. I'm now Associate Chairman of the World Wide Web Consortium. (See signature at end.)

>My weekly chat sessions are still alive, but at a new site We're now talking about Internet telephony, and I'm sorely missing your guidance and wisdom on a subject like that. Is there any chance that you could join us this Thursday (noon to 1 PM)?

Probably not.

>Attached is a followup message I just received from David Rosenthal at Vocaltec. It looks like they've come a long way, but I can't help but be skeptical. If their gateway makes it possible to do telephone to telephone calls and avoid long-distance charges, what's the hitch? Is there any reason that a company like Digital shouldn't do this -- as a replacement for DTN? Am I missing something fundamental?

Here are the fundamentals as I understand them...

1. Voice is "bits" whether carried over IP or circuit-switched telephony.

2. Delay (latency) is a significant contributor toward "customer satisfaction" of voice connections. Land or underseas "dedicated circuits" (what you pay the phone company for) provide minimal delay (10s of milliseconds) on all connections. IP (packet switched calls) typically have delays in hundreds of milliseconds to seconds. This makes conversation difficult. People expect the "uh-huh's" to be interspersed in a timely fashion.

3. There is a cost multiplier implied in keeping a dedicated circuit open to provide low latency.

4. The pricing for international calls from telephone companies has little to do with the costs, and much to do with government-granted monopolies. They explicitly price to gouge the "foreigners" to subsidize local calls, and often bloated cost structures.

5. Fixed-rate monthly pricing for Internet service would likely have to go up if people consumed international bandwidth for telephone calls to a much greater extent than they do now. Otherwise, variable pricing would have to enuse, which isn't much different than phone-call pricing (except that the foreign monopoly carriers haven't found how to get their cut yet.) Working in the opposite direction is the ever-dropping cost of communications in general.

6. Various telephone companies have petitioned their regulatory authorities to ban Internet telephony. Since it's damn hard to distinguish telephone calls from other audio services not provided by the telephone companies, I see no way to enforce such a regulation, even if the regulators pass it.

I hope this helps.

Alan Kotok, Associate Chairman, World Wide Web Consortium mailto:kotok@w3.org, MIT Laboratory for Computer Science, 545 Technology Square, Room NE43-352, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA Voice: +1-617-258-5728 Fax: +1-617-258-5999

Following the chat from New Zealand

From: Blair Anderson <> Date: Wed, 09 Jul 1997 13:43:44 -0400

Some feedback to let you know that there is someone else out here (just over the date line ;-).. who is following last weeks threads.. on internet telephony. Very useful dialog, esp. having Ciociolo and Rosenthal involved.

I would have very much liked to have joined in, as my interest is two fold. I am examining issues on telephony "charging/billing", as I see the commercial model as being neccessary for global homogulation.. and in the adoption of a viable standard that fulfills the criteria that I personally expect from a telephony model.. anonymity options, encryption options, and the holy grail - ease of use.

Feel free to mention my interest in the tanscripts.

I really must diarize the time and "stay up" so that I can join in... next time.

PS: I use OS/2's Intercom, which I regards as having superior performance to those that I have tried thus far.. but it doesnt have the universal appeal, nor the ability to link into the real PSTN/POTS world. It's great for dialog "while I am working", as it is VOX (hands free). But then so is most of my desktop.. I have got very used to speaking to the machine, since WARP 4! Intercom also does video, although best as a still image on anything <28.8kb.

Cheers and beers..

Blair Anderson

Corporate Technology Consultants, Christchurch, New Zealand

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