New Android VoIP Service Coming and What it Takes to Build It

redphoneEven though movement of it has been relatively slow for the most part, I throughly believe that VoIP is the future once the internet allows for it. Here in the U.S it’s extremely difficult because a lot of homeowners suffer from slow internet and low bandwidth caps, making internet usage something they have to monitor heavily. Get this straightened out though, and VoIP will prevail.

We’ve already seen the concept of hybrid cell phones work well with a service called RepublicWireless that essentially can do all of the functions of a regular phone (sms, mms, calling) over WiFi with no additional apps. If you are even in a situation where you might not have WiFi, the system automatically puts you on cellular service seamlessly so you can continue using your device without interruption.

While searching for something to blog about, I came across something that caught my eye, it was a blog post from a company called Open WhisperSystems talking about what it takes to make a VoIP system that is going to have good call quality. Most of the rest of this blog post might get pretty technical, so if you are into that, then enjoy!

The Basic VoIP Network

According to Open WhisperSystems, all VoIP solutions deal with “packet switched networks” that are not designed to transmit real-time media streams (skype, ustream, google+ chats, etc). These services are constantly buffering rather than buffering at the beginning and every now and then such as YouTube or Vimeo. Because most networks aren’t designed to handle these real-time streams, there is a huge problem with packet latency and packet loss.

Open WhisperSystems is able to combat this with something called a jitter buffer. A jitter buffer stores a small amount of incoming audio data so that when audio packets are late, it can drain the buffer and refil it with those packets when they do arrive. The audio signal never needs to pause because of this.

What is RedPhone?

RedPhone is (from what I can tell) a secured communication solution that is open source. RedPhone aims to create “simple and easy to use tools for secure mobile communication and secure mobile storage.” RedPhone installs into the backend of your device, so you use your default dialer and contacts applications to make calls just like you normally would. It keeps your phone number, and every time you go to make a call it asks you whether or not you want the call to be encrypted (when available). There is also secure SMS/MMS which would be very valuable as well.

Why does RedPhone Excite Me?

First of all, RedPhone is free and open source, you can install it in the Google Play Store. RedPhone is the first free encryption solution I have seen that is so seamless. You literally install it and it becomes more or less a plugin, so you can continue to make calls like you have been from day one. Everyone should use encryption if they are worried about their privacy, and RedPhone/Secure SMS allows it.

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