SPIDER Adoption is an important trend for VoIP Peering

On August 6th 2007, NueStar issued a press release announcing that they have partnered with NetNumber “in response to customer demand for interoperability between NeuStar’s SIP-IX service and NetNumber’s SPIDER and TITAN technology platforms.” This announcement is significant because it is the first coordination between two companies on a common approach for VoIP peering.

Up until now, the apparent strategy for most players in the VoIP peering market has been to build a dominant database of peering partners before anyone else and become the de facto VoIP peering registry monopoly. Fortunately, this has not happened for a variety of reasons such as competition, immature technology, lack of demand and, most importantly, business models that do not work.

A clear message from the market regarding VoIP peering is that customers do not want a monopoly VoIP peering registrar even if it brings simplicity and economies of scale. A market driven business model for VoIP peering will not be similar to the monopoly status given to telecom databases such as the LERG (Local Exchange Routing Guide) or the NPAC (Number Portability Adminstration Center) run by NeuStar. While service providers might loathe dependence on a centralized authority to coordinate global VoIP peering, at some level a root authority for route discovery seems impossible to avoid.

This is why SPIDER and coordination between NeuStar and NetNumber is interesting. SPIDER stands for Service Provider Interconnect Data Exchange Resource and "is used by registry solution providers to enable the efficient exchange of interconnect address information between trusted communications service providers and VoIP communities" (quote from press release).

Conceptually, SPIDER is a neutral, non-profit organization created by NetNumber and Arbinet. I use the word conceptually, because up until now, SPIDER has appeared to be a marketing tool for Arbinet and NetNumber. The participation of NeuStar might be the first step in the evolution of SPIDER becoming a truely independent mechanism for enabling ubiquitous VoIP peering.