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Big Hurdles Remain For VoIP Deployments: Industry Panel

Voice over IP may have won the battle of next-generation communications technologies, but there are still plenty of hurdles for it to overcome, according to a panel of industry evangelists.

Network security, regulatory policy and business service issues are just three of the major hurdles that VoIP will have to overcome before gaining ubiquitous acceptance, according to "VoIP's Next Challenges," a well-attended forum held this week during NGN2005 in Washington, D.C.

"How do we best guard the IP environment from security attacks?" asked Chris Miller, a consultant for Lucent Worldwide Services, discussing the most frequently cited challenge. "Should there be a standard security model to cover all VoIP systems?"

Security threats are numerous, including disruption of service, eavesdropping, unauthorized access and theft of service, said Mike Hluchyj, founder and chief technology officer of Sonus Networks. Of course, those dangers are well known, as are the solutions on the network and session sides: VLANs, firewalls, authentication and encryption, among others.

Nevertheless, substantial security challenges remain because VoIP sites often don't deploy and employ the available security solutions thoroughly or effectively, said the panelists. To make matters worse, threats sometimes spring up that an organization doesn't anticipate. For instance, spam is beginning to find its way into networks in unconventional ways, such as through voice calls, said Miller.

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