Research and Development of a mobile voice over IP application which is hosted by open source software running on inexpensive backend servers
Voice over IP has been driven by the convergence of voice and data on a single transport medium. This means cheaper service usage fees for the user if the offering is costed properly. But for a service provider there is still an increase in expenditure, solely related to spending on infrastructure such as call servers, phones and gateways. This study is aimed at analysing a different strategy of deploying VoIP, by starting at a lower base, meaning hosting the VoIP application on inexpensive hardware and open source Software. Secondly, the study looks at how to extend the service to mobile subscriber by introducing a mobile VoIP (mVoIP) application. The study’s main goal is to introduce telecommunication services at the lowest cost possible while considering reduced complexity, optimisation, manageability and flexibility. Barriers to deploying VoIP such as reliability and quality of service are also addressed by the study. The mVoIP infrastructure is made out of the following main components: Mobile VoIP app, Wireless Access Point and VoIP Server. Each main component’s functionality and characteristic are carefully explored in order to understand its contribution to the solution and the study as a whole. The research also looks at other projects where similar approaches were used to deploy inexpensive VoIP services. Factors leading to acceptance or rejection of the technology have served as guidance to the study. During the design, the research compares different open source VoIP server software’s functionalities and features in order to make a selection of the software to use for the projects pilot network deployment. A development platform for the mobile application is also selected based on characteristics such as: the range of devices it runs on, the market share of the platform and the learning curve of the platform. The development of the application follows the six steps from the Eri Mobile’s “Mobile Development Process”: Concept Sketching, Research/Strategies, Wire-Framing, User Interface Design, Development and Testing. The test scenarios for the research are all lab-based, but it is highlighted that implementing the solution on broadband, 3G and 4G networks can improve the service drastically in the areas of network coverage, Quality of Service and Mobility.