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With New SDK, VoIP Over 3G Apps Now Working On iPhone 171

Posted by timothy
from the try-reading-that-headline-15-years-ago dept.
silverpig writes "Yesterday marked the announcement of the Apple iPad device, and with it came a new version of the SDK. In this new version, Apple has lifted the VoIP over 3G restrictions that limited VoIP traffic to wifi only. This morning, Fring announced that its iPhone app is 3G-capable starting immediately. No update is needed as apparently the app had 3G capability all along, but a server-side block prevented its use. Furthermore, apparently a 3G-capable version of Skype has been ready for some time now, and has been waiting for this restriction to be lifted."
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With New SDK, VoIP Over 3G Apps Now Working On iPhone

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  • All markets? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:47PM (#30938074)

    It's nice to have this enabled finally. However, the mention that this is something blocked on the server side makes me wonder if this may only be relevant to specific markets.

    • by WiiVault (1039946)
      From what I understand the issue was with the approval proccess. These apps have been ready for a long time but nobody bothered to submit them until Apple gave the go ahead. Assuming the mobile provider doesn't balk at it I think things are good to go in all markets.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jgagnon (1663075)
      I suspect that people will more fully understand how it affects them when they look at their next bill. ;)
    • by kimvette (919543)

      Now that AT&T is allowing this traffic over their network I don't want them to be whining about bandwidth usage - especially when the line item on the bill is "UNLIMITED DATA"

  • by jgtg32a (1173373) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:49PM (#30938112)

    One of the best parts about my iPhone being jailbroken was that little hack that let you use VOIP over 3g.

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:52PM (#30938212) Journal

      I guess you could go catch a virus thats exclusive to Jailbroken iPhones. Would that make you feel better?

      • by WaXHeLL (452463) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:06PM (#30938558)

        You mean the viruses for those people who were stupid enough to leave OpenSSH running on their iphone, with the default login/pw?

        • by jgtg32a (1173373)

          Well to be fair, OpenSSH doesn't exactly stay shutdown, there are a few different conditions where it was reactivate itself.

        • by Lars T. (470328) <Lars DOT Traeger AT googlemail DOT com> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @05:02PM (#30941062) Journal
          http://www.findmysoft.com/news/Security-and-Functionality-Why-Not-Jailbreak-Your-iPhone/ [findmysoft.com]

          According to security expert Charlie Miller, jailbroken iPhones are more vulnerable than non-jailbroken And Charlie Miller should know what he is talking about. After all, he is credited for uncovering the security issue that spawned the first Google Android update, and he did manage to break the Apple developed Safari browser in about 10 seconds and this year’s PWN2OWN competition. While jailbreaking the device is a great way to use the iPhone’s full potential, it also means that you remove all the security protections that Apple built into the device’s software. You will be able to install 3rd party app and other software applications that are not distributed via the iTunes Store, but you will also leave your device wide open to all sorts of attacks.

          • by Eil (82413)

            While I've no doubt about Charlie Miller's qualifications, jailbreaking an iphone, on its own, does nothing to reduce its security. All jailbreaking allows you to do is install and run software not specifically approved by Apple. It doesn't open up random ports or install services. The applications that you install afterward introduce the vulnerabilities, but this is true whether or not you jailbreak your phone because Apple's App Store reviews do NOT cover security. Even if they claim they do, it's not pos

        • by node 3 (115640)

          You mean the viruses for those people who were stupid enough to leave OpenSSH running on their iphone, with the default login/pw?

          This isn't about people being stupid. The vast majority of jailbreakers have no notion of what SSH even is. The geeks know, and if they leave the default password, well, the charge of stupidity may be warranted. They're not like those of us who know how to edit the sshd.conf and how to send files and tunnel over ssh and all that, or even why ssh exists and how it compares with telnet.

          These are people for whom ssh is just geek words in the instructions. It's like the ingredients in your food. You understand

    • by Idbar (1034346)
      How did that worked for you? I just tried Fring with my Asterisk server and the delay is unbearably high (I counted 7 second on my round trip test call), while my X-lite on my computer is less than 1 sec.
      • by Idbar (1034346)
        Nevermind. My mistake, I had the gsm codec disabled for my iPhone setup and that was probably causing the excessive latency.
  • About time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WiiVault (1039946) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:49PM (#30938130)
    Now where's teathering for us poor AT&T "customers"?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by putch (469506)

      it's in cydia.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by shamborfosi (902021)
        It's better to use the native tethering inside the iPhone.
        The steps are:
        1) Jailbreak your phone: http://www.redmondpie.com/jailbreak-iphone-3.1.2-firmware-with-blackra1n-zni327/
        2) Enable native tethering: http://www.redmondpie.com/enable-tethering-on-iphone-3g-3gs-3.1.2-firmware-eqw846/
        3) Make sure you have the correct mobileconfig (not the benm.at one): http://www.redmondpie.com/fix-iphone-3.1.2-tethering-and-visual-voicemail-vvm-ows754/
    • Hear, hear.
    • Re:About time (Score:4, Informative)

      by peragrin (659227) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:28PM (#30939110)

      You can tether with AT&T now the trick is they charge you an extra $20 a month. So if you are a poor AT&T customer your still SOL.

      Indeed with the random variabilty of AT&T network speeds and latency why any would want voip over 3G is beyond me. As for verizon well their network is 3G in technology only. It has massive sections that can barely handle voice let alone data.

    • by Swift2001 (874553)

      AT&T promised it. We're still waiting.

  • Interesting (Score:4, Funny)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:49PM (#30938156)
    Bluetooth headset, iPad, 3G connection. Ding!
    • i used to joke about phones getting bigger and chunkier lately due to features no one wants

      but this is no joke

      • by mdwh2 (535323)

        Nah, it's retro 80s with the iBrick! Now it'll be cool again to hold a ridiculously sized device to your ear just to talk to someone, now that Apple are doing it!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)
      Right. If that happens, then I think cell providers will be well on their way to becoming dumb pipes. I'm sure they don't like the idea, but it's the right way to go.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by whisper_jeff (680366)
        There's a rather obvious joke about telcos already being dumb pipes that just seems to write itself...
      • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

        by rsborg (111459) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @04:00PM (#30939762) Homepage

        Right. If that happens, then I think cell providers will be well on their way to becoming dumb pipes.

        This still doesn't resolve the fact that you're going through THEIR pipes and given the corporate friendly FCC in this decade that decided to roll back regulations, THEY choose how to fuck you over... there are precious few providers, and two of the four use CDMA (which in its current implementation doesn't allow voice+data) while the other two use GSM/HSDPA (which is what's required for the iPad).

        Now the situation in Europe might be different, but that's because their governments mandate standards and interoperability which creates competition.

        In short, without government intervention there is very little hope of avoiding the balkanized price-gouging cell market we have today in the USA.

    • So you are essentially aspiring to be this guy? [youtube.com]
    • by Swift2001 (874553)

      It's a data-only connection. I'm presuming that means Skype is okay, though.

  • When is the iPhone getting that? The iPad can use a bluetooth keyboard, but the iPhone can't? What kind of crap is this?

    • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:57PM (#30938354)
      I would imagine it will work once the iPhone OS is updated when the iPad launches (or shortly before launch).
      • by Kalriath (849904)

        Nope. iPhone OS 3.2 is iPad only. There's a giant note on the download page for it. Again, this SDK will not work for iPhone. This is a giant non-story.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by slimjim8094 (941042)

      Alternative Bluetooth stacks are in the works for jailbroken phones. They already have file-sending working, and presumably Bluetooth HID are next.

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        It's done. You can have a bluetooth keyboard on your jailbroken phone. There's experimental support for a mouse as well.

    • by weston (16146) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:04PM (#30938504) Homepage

      When is the iPhone getting that? The iPad can use a bluetooth keyboard, but the iPhone can't? What kind of crap is this?

      And while we're at it.... why not bluetooth syncing (with SYNCH, FTP, & OBEX), DUN for the touch and iPad, BPP (printing), and Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP)?

      This isn't just an Apple problem, by the way. This is an industry-wide problem right now: "bluetooth" means a lot of things and most of the market doesn't seem to care to specify what. The BSIG ought to require those using the Bluetooth logo to specify which profiles a device supports, for the sake of consumer awareness and market pressure.

      • Let's see, synching over USB is pretty slow. USB has a raw transfer rate of 480 Mb/s. Bluetooth maxes out at 3 Mb/s. See the problem?

        • by weston (16146)

          That's a really good point, and I can see why that means that you wouldn't want to use bluetooth as your primary means of moving large media files between devices. And then, if you're going to go with a cable, I guess everything else is redundant.

          Thing is, though, redundancy can be pretty nice for the consumer. If you've forgotten your cable, it might not be the time to download a few movies onto your iPod, but it might be nice to still be able to move a podcast or two, your calendar, some ringtones, and a

          • by ceoyoyo (59147)

            Apple COULD set things up so you could do a MobileMe type sync (Address Book, Calendar) to your computer instead of having to go through MobileMe as an intermediary. That would be very nice. I have to say, since I got MobileMe I really don't sync my iPhone as much as I should, for backups, so the over the air sync actually fulfills a lot of the needs.

            I can certainly understand why they don't support Bluetooth sync for anything else though.

      • The BSIG ought to require those using the Bluetooth logo to specify which profiles a device supports, for the sake of consumer awareness and market pressure.

        They have standardized a series of icons [parrot.com] indicating support for headsets, input devices, file transfer, etc. If you use those icons, you have to be supporting specific profiles.

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:53PM (#30938256)

    was that there was never a technical problem with this, but it was the face that ATT didn't want people to use VOIP over 3G because it competed with their voice offerings.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537)
      Well it competes with their voice and SMS offerings (where they make their money) while flooding their already overloaded data networks. Plus it diminishes the amount of control they have over their customers, since VoIP is completely portable, making cell networks just another point of entry to the Internet.
      • by Rich0 (548339)

        I guess in theory VOIP packets don't NEED to use much more bandwidth than voice packets do (granted, the network isn't optimized for them, and providers might take more bandwidth than they really need, and they are on different bands/etc).

        However, since VOIP is close to free what it does do is allow people to consume a whole lot more calling time than their plans would otherwise cover, which means that demand is going to soar.

        • Well I'm not sure, but I would guess that their digital voice is using something more efficient than TCPIP, and in addition they're compressing the hell out of the audio whereas a VoIP program might opt to use lesser compression. Beyond that, I don't know if there's something like different "channels" where they've set aside a certain portion of their bandwidth for voice and other portions for data, which means that using that not-using their voice service doesn't necessarily open up more bandwidth for dat

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Mindjiver (71)

            Well I'm not sure, but I would guess that their digital voice is using something more efficient than TCPIP, and in addition they're compressing the hell out of the audio whereas a VoIP program might opt to use lesser compression. Beyond that, I don't know if there's something like different "channels" where they've set aside a certain portion of their bandwidth for voice and other portions for data, which means that using that not-using their voice service doesn't necessarily open up more bandwidth for data.

            Voice is circuit switched in UMTS so of course there are different "channels", or tubes if you like. Voice is mostly likely AMR coded over the air interface which is then sent over a ds0 over a T1, either physical or inverse multiplexed over a STM-1 further into the circuit switched core network.

            So, yes it will be much for efficent than your run of the mill VoIP which will travel over as UDP over a GTP-U tunnel terminated in the GGSN.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              I think it's safe to say that I understand none of your understanding.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by gumbi west (610122)
              I'm just trying to figure out, is there a set of people who can read and understand the above post but does not already know information in the post?
              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by Wesley Felter (138342)

                No. He's just showing off.

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by Mindjiver (71)

                I thought this was a geek heavy site and that networking would be somewhat understood.

                In "lay man"'s terms, cellular standards before LTE (I am talking mostly of 3GPP standards but I assume this applies to WiMAX as well) are really really messy.

                A normal UMTS radio access network which has evolved from GSM to UMTS might be amix of TDM, ATM och IP based networks with legacy protocols such as SS7. Through that together with general telecom wierdness where much intelligence is deep inside the network.

                These net

  • by uzyn (1165803) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:57PM (#30938352)
    This could mean the beginning of the end of traditional telephony, ie. mobile carriers will soon simply become ISPs with no one using its voice/SMS/MMS services.
    • by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@justconnected . n et> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:05PM (#30938524)

      Oh God I hope so. It goes great with VoIP on the home-line side.

      Why should there be a marginal cost to a phone call? There isn't - once you're paying for the infrastructure, it's free.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Al Dimond (792444)

        We're used to thinking this way about the Internet because most wired ISPs don't charge per amount of data (although some use bandwidth caps and rate-limiting). But as it does require more infrastructure to send more data, charging for each phone call spreads the cost of the infrastructure over its users more fairly. I don't think the idea of charging per byte for cellular Internet will go away soon.

      • Why should there be a marginal cost to a phone call? There isn't - once you're paying for the infrastructure, it's free.

        Costs of maintaining and more importantly expanding the capacity of the infrastructure are directly tied to usage, though: each call connected goes through at the opportunity cost of another potential phone call. Having some kind of economic feedback go through the system based on usage makes a certain amount of sense.

        Of course, nobody likes being on the meter all the time, particularly if

    • This could mean the beginning of the end of traditional telephony, ie. mobile carriers will soon simply become ISPs with no one using its voice/SMS/MMS services.

      Insofar as we are headed that way, that "end" began a long time ago -- long enough that the FCC (as discussed on /. [slashdot.org] last month) is already investigating regulatory approaches to handling the transition from the existing telephone network to a IP-based network.

      Apple allowing VoIP over 3G on iPhone isn't the beginning of that end.

    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      God yes, obviously no one ever did VoIP on a mobile device before Apple allowed it. Now that the less than 5% of Iphone users can do it, that's the real tipping point!

  • So, you can now make VOIP calls using your AT&T 3G network (which is dodgy) using your PHONE! Here is an idea. Why not use the phone part of your phone to make calls? If you use skype or whatever to call your friends and family in [insert distant country], then I see a use. But my calling circle is mostly local. Sounds interesting but will anyone use it?
  • by itsme1234 (199680) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:11PM (#30938700)

    I assume multitasking is still missing so how's skype/fring going to work? "Call me so I can log in"? "While in a skype call - let me log out, I need to check this links/mail/etc?"

    • by jgtg32a (1173373)

      Just hold down the Home button to activate background mode.

      • by furball (2853)

        Holding down the Home button is for killing off the current running app.

        • by bar-agent (698856)

          Holding down the Home button is for killing off the current running app.

          I'm guessing that was the joke.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      I assume that unlike android that an app can't intercept SMS messages?

      On android even with single-tasking there is an easy way around this issue. Just have your app bind into the SMS interface and look for messages with a unique code in them (sent by Skype). When that message is received the app would launch and connect to the Skype servers to find out what is going on and display an incoming call.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MrEkted (764569)
      Fring / Skype / etc. can pop up a dialog when you get a call or SMS as long as you enable Push notifications.
      As of last July for Fring [fring.com]
      and September for Skype. [skype.com]
      • Did you even read the Skype link? It says nothing about push notifications being enabled, and indeed, most of the comments are from people asking why they're not available and when they will be.

  • This restriction is lifted in SDK 3.2 for iPad, and it's not certain that it will be available on the iPhone. Also, as of now Skype does not have app for iPhone that is 3G enable in the app store.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by silverpig (814884)
      Read the links. Fring works over 3G right now. Also, the skype app might be 3G enabled, just that it's not allowed to be used, similar to the state of the Fring app.
      • I have tried skype on my iPhone. Still refuses to work over 3G.

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          Skype requires an update. They've said they've got one all ready to go.

          I think all that information was actually in the summary.

          • Yes, Skype have been saying that for months now. It's Apple that actually has to allow and approve VOIP over 3G app, which they have not to this date. That's all I'm saying.

            I don't think we'll see updated Skype app for a few months until the 3.2 SDK is out, and even then it's not certain that 3.2 SDK applies to the iPhone?

            • by ceoyoyo (59147)

              Fring claims they are supporting VOIP over 3G now. What you mean, and what wasn't clear in your other posts, is that Apple hasn't specifically approved a VOIP over 3G app yet because Fring managed to enable theirs without an app update. That's true, but they also haven't pulled the plug on Fring, which they are more than capable of doing and have done in the past.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "I have tried skype on my iPhone. Still refuses to work over 3G."

          I just tried skype on my iPhone...went through on 3g with no problems.

          • Jailbroken iPhone? I'm in Canada on Rogers network, iPhone not jailbroken. Still refuses to do VOIP calls through 3G, which according to Skype is expected. A new update app is needed to enable it.

  • is there such a thing as a data only plan w/ AT&T? how about other carriers?

    i rarely talk voice on the phone. it sort of irks me that i way $50+ a month for it.

  • Am I the only one who's seeing this as a desperate attempt by AT&T to keep iPhone owners loyal to them out of "good will" for not being so locked down once the iPhone is available on Verizon's network?

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