VoIP systems: Challenges and Solutions Series Part 1 Categories

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Connectivity, VoiP

VoIP systems can take many different forms. Any computer is capable of providing VoIP services. Microsoft’s NetMeeting, which comes with any Windows platform, provides some VoIP services as does the Apple Macintosh iChat and many more in Linux platforms. In this growing era of smartphones, everyone carries a VoIP application in their pocket to make cheap calls.

VoIP can be implemented in the following ways:

ATA

The simplest and most common way is through the use of a device called an ATA (analog telephone adaptor). The ATA allows you to connect a standard phone to your computer or your Internet connection for use with VoIP. The ATA is an analog-to-digital converter. It takes the analog signal from your traditional phone and converts it into digital data for transmission over the Internet.

IP Phones

These are specialized phones which look just like normal phones with a handset, cradle and buttons. But instead of having the standard RJ-11 phone connectors, IP phones have an Ethernet connector sockets. IP phones connect directly to your router and have all the hardware and software necessary right on board to handle the IP call. Wi-Fi phones allow subscribing callers to make VoIP calls from any Wi-Fi hot spot. This method is most commonly employed in corporate networks.

Computer-to-computer

This is certainly the easiest way to use VoIP. You don’t even have to pay for long-distance calls. There are several companies offering free or very low-cost software that you can use for this type of VoIP. All you need is the software, a microphone, speakers, a sound card and an Internet connection.

A VoIP network generally consists of several components:

- VoIP Server - VoIP Gateway (VoIP gateway is used to connect the PSTN with the VoIP system) - VoIP Client

VoIP makes use of several protocols to transfer voice data over packet based networks some commonly used protocols include SIP, RTP, Skype, Cisco’s SCCP etc. Of these the SIP protocol is commonly used for carrying out VoIP conversations. Next week we will go into greater details of these items and the VoIP quality of service issues.

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