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Software helps VoIP calls traverse Internet firewalls

Feb 27, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Eyeball has announced that its “Interactive Connectivity Establishment” (ICE) software now fully supports version 2.0 of CableLabs's PacketCable firewall and NAT traversal specifications. AnyFirewall Engine is the first ICE SDK (software development kit) to enable rapid integration of firewall and NAT traversal into PacketCable applications by cable vendors, the company claims.

ICE comprises a set of techniques developed by the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) to enable VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) applications and devices to complete calls through firewalls and NATs (network address translators). It is quickly becoming the accepted standard for VoIP call completion, according to Eyeball. As a result, CableLabs, the technology consortium of cable system operators has incorporated ICE support into version 2.0 of its PacketCable specification.

Firewall and NAT traversal has historically been one of the biggest challenges to achieving broad VoIP adoption, due to the resulting high rates of call failure, Eyeball says. The company cites a Business Week article showing that over 82 percent of VoIP subscribers are behind NATs and/or firewalls, and that the VoIP call failure rate is 310 times greater than that of traditional phone service.

AnyFirewall Engine architecture

AnyFirewall Engine's API (application programming interface) provides “seamless” firewall and NAT traversal for applications, Eyeball claims. A smart traversal-state-machine inside the engine handles the complexities of STUN (simple traversal of UDP through network address translators) and TURN protocols, NAT or firewall types, transport methods, ICE candidates, and delivery checks, the company explains. It enables rapid integration with third-party components such as SIP stacks, RTP libraries, and voice/video engines for building feature-rich applications.

The SDK comprises:

  • C/C++ library
  • Sample client applications that show how to use the engine for VoIP and video telephony with third-party SIP stacks and RTP libraries
  • Developer reference documentation
  • Technical support for integration and customization
  • Access to Eyeball AnyFirewall Server — a carrier-grade STUN, TURN, and ICE server

It supports Linux, Windows XP, and Windows Mobile, among other embedded platforms, Eyeball says.

Eyeball CTO Dr. Shahadat Khan stated, “ICE is a powerful and complex methodology. Eyeball has been working on ICE firewall and NAT traversal techniques since 2001. Today, Eyeball's ICE SDK provides a compelling value proposition to the cable industry by significantly reducing the cost, risk, and time-to-market of ICE firewall and NAT traversal.”

The AnyFirewall Engine ICE SDK is immediately available for licensing and deployment, according to the company.

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