[e2e] Re: crippled Internet

Vernon Schryver vjs at calcite.rhyolite.com
Fri Apr 27 22:57:59 PDT 2001

> From: "David P. Reed" <dpreed at reed.com>

> Vernon, I think we are having "furious agreement" - I never said that PPP 
> done well was a problem, but PPP done poorly is the more common case that 
> people trying out VoIP see.

oh, ok, but I still suspect you're giving PPP code too much credit or blame.

> My point to Fred was that "people complaining about VoIP sound quality" was 
> a poor metric to measure network QoS if experiments are not controlled for 
> all the sound-quality-related problems that are endemic in the source and 
> destination machines and access links (down through the end-point PPP 
> stacks on typical commercial OS's like the Windows you hate).

We certainly agree on that overall point, but I don't agree it matters.

> I once tried (for grins) to tune another programmer's VoIP "telephone" app 
> running over a local 100 Mb/s network between two Windows 98 machines on 
> 400 MHz pentiums.  There was *huge* latency and jitter, but it wasn't in 
> the network - most of it was in the sound drivers and codecs.  I reduced 
> jitter and end-to-end delay by a factor of 100 by writing new windows 
> drivers and some interrupt level kludges.  But you'd never make a shippable 
> product that way.

Why not?  You couldn't ship kludges for other vendors products, but why
not ship a PCI, USB, or Firewire device including CODECs, Ethernet, UART,
CPU, DSP, and whatever else you want?  If necessary, make the PC no more
than a GUI.  The easy answer to that question is "because it would be far
too expensive."
My point is that even if you could price it at $5 including cables,
packaging, and support, it would still be too expensive.
If deskip VoIP mattered to anyone, then vendors would fix their drivers.
It doesn't and they haven't, won't, and probablu shouldn't bother.

Desktop VoIP is dead for the foresseable future not because it doesn't
work and not because it is too expensive, but because it is too much
hassle compared to the almost free alternative of $0.05/minute or less
for any-U.S.-phone-to-any-U.S.-phone.  Even mobile air time is not
much more.  Sure, there are 1,000,000,000's of people who can't afford
or get $0.05/minute phone service, but they also don't have computers
on which to run desktop VoIP.

That was true even 10 years ago.  No one remembers the Silicon Graphics
boxes that came standard with a camera and microphone.  I think the
video conferencing software cost customers extra, but it free to 10,000
employees.  After a little gee-whiz playing, the cameras and microphones
were all put asside and forgotten.  It just wasn't and isn't worth
the hassle compared to an ordinary telephone, not even for 100% 
telecommuters like me.

Vernon Schryver    vjs at rhyolite.com

More information about the end2end-interest mailing list