Innovator Interview: Daniel-Constantin Mierla, Kamailio, Asipto

Daniel-Constantin Mierla, co-founder and core developer of the Kamailio SIP Server, co-organizer of Kamailio World, and world-renowned consultant in SIP, VoIP and WebRTC at Asipto.

This was a fun review of the state of play across RTC (Real Time Communications). There’s still much work to do on open source education, and making the projects accessible to ever more developers and technologists.

The role of global cloud providers falls into ‘frenemy’ territory. They use many open source telecom projects, and make them more accessible to developers around the world. But they also are focused on locking developers into their developer services. This is one of the discussion points in the serverless and RTC panel session, and I think will dominate the industry through the coming decade. Its an emerging Davids versus Goliaths situation.

The WebRTC discussion was fun and refreshing, highlighting the operational challenges and issues around Google dominating the project.

Telcos have been outside most of the service innovation enabled by open source communications in the past decade, though they do use the projects. Rather they’ve focused on faster pipes to the internet. They’ll need to focus back on communications else cede the market to web-centric providers, becoming a communications path of last resort.

A key for FOKUS success is having government matching dollars, i.e. projects can include both practical implementation and longer term research. As well as the Germanic focus on the application of research. This has created a cadre of programmable communication experts that have made Europe a center of excellent in open source telecom projects.

The conclusion on serverless and RTC is similar to the panel discussion, not for the core RTC functions, with a similar discussion about the long term issues facing the RTC industry.

Agenda Description

Daniel is a product of the highly successful Fraunhofer FOKUS Institute for open communication systems. Many of the RTC leaders around Europe have FOKUS as a common point in their history. At FOKUS, Daniel was involved in writing the first SIP-XMPP gateway specifications for instant messaging and presence (something we have in common from my start-up Teltier). He also developed its first implementation as part of SER project.

Kamailio is an open source SIP server project. It is designed for flexibility and scalability, being used in deployments serving millions of users and routing billions of voice minutes per month. It can act as a routing engine for real time communications, such as IP telephony, voice/video over IP networks, WebRTC, IMS, instant messaging and presence services. When people claim open source telecom software does not scale or achieve carrier grade performance, they must not be aware of Kamailio.

Astipo provides consultancy, training and development for SIP, VoIP, WebRTC, Instant Messaging and Presence with main focus on Kamailio SIP server platform, with flavors of Asterisk and FreeSWITCH.

Asipto combines research and innovation in real time communications as well as implementing and delivering solutions and products for service operators, from internet telephony systems to load balancers, least cost routing engines and RCS platforms.

If you have questions for Daniel please let us know. Here are some:

  • What’s your view on the future of open source telecom software?
  • Where are the gaps? How will the projects evolve? Will we see support from the global cloud providers, or will they look to keep things proprietary?
  • I see you worked on RCS, note Daniel coined the term RCS BEFORE the telco standard. What’s your view on RCS in general (not just the telco standard), and specifically the telco standard, its developer adoption, and its market potential?
  • Why has WebRTC taken so long, it’s a decade-long work in progress. Where services like Zoom use web assembly rather than rely on WebRTC. Will we still be working on WebRTC in 10 years time? Can, or even should, the dependency on libwebrtc be broken?
  • Telcos have spent billions on telco-special SIP, also known as IMS. What comes next for telcos after IMS?
  • I’m always impressed with the stacks developed by FOKUS, while vendors talked about the stacks, FOKUS built them and showed the implementation realities. Though I often found the dogged following of vendor marketing visions out of step with practical implementation leadership. What do you consider to be the keys to the long term success of FOKUS? Do you think it’s a model other regions should follow?
  • What’s your view on serverless and RTC?

2 thoughts on “Innovator Interview: Daniel-Constantin Mierla, Kamailio, Asipto”

  1. Thanks, Daniel, for a fun and insightful interview. Looking into 2021, what are some of the things we can look forward to in Kamailio?

  2. Thanks, Alan! Among what was added in the last version are the extensions for STIR/SHAKEN and Apache Kafka connector. The development of the next release started recently, expected to be out during the spring of 2021, so the new features are not yet well defined, but expect the usual improvements for scalability, flexibility and security, trying to facilitate deployments of VoIP, WebRTC and IMS/VoLTE services.

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