Getting Down to Business with VoIP

In This Topic

^ Getting over POTS
^ Packetizing plain old telephone service
^ Beginning with IPT on the LAN
^ Reaching out with VoIP
^ Uncovering the TCP/IP model
Technological innovation is hurling itself upon us once again. This time, it’s coming in the form of improving the way we communicate, bringing with it new capabilities that change the meaning of the phrase telephone call. VoIP (often pronounced “voyp”) is the name of this new communications technology.
VoIP, which stands for voice over Internet protocol, basically means voice transmitted over a digital network. Well, that isn’t technically accurate because the Internet isn’t strictly necessary for VoIP, although it was at first. What is necessary for VoIP technology is the use of the same protocols that the Internet uses. (A protocol is a set of rules used to allow orderly communication.) Thus, voice over Internet protocol means voice that travels by way of the same protocols used on the Internet.
VoIP is often referred to as IP telephony (IPT) because it uses Internet protocols to make enhanced voice communications possible. The Internet protocols are the basis of IP networking, which supports corporate, private, public, cable, and even wireless networks. VoIP unites an organization’s many locations — including mobile workers — into a single converged communications network and provides a range of support services and features unequalled in the world of telephony.
Technically, IPT refers to telephone calls carried over the organization’s local area network (LAN) such as a single building location, a campus-like network, or even a LAN within your home. When IPT crosses from the LAN to the WAN or any other external network, including other LANs operated by the same company at distant locations or the Internet, it becomes VoIP.

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