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Thursday, February 14, 2008

VoIP--Voice over Internet Protocol

An overview of how VoIP works

A typical analog telephone adapter for connecting an ordinary phone to a VoIP networkVoice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a protocol optimized for the transmission of voice through the Internet or other packet switched networks. VoIP is often used abstractly to refer to the actual transmission of voice (rather than the protocol implementing it). VoIP is also known as IP Telephony, Internet telephony, Broadband telephony, Broadband Phone and Voice over Broadband. "VoIP" is pronounced voyp.
Companies providing VoIP service are commonly referred to as providers, and protocols which are used to carry voice signals over the IP network are commonly referred to as Voice over IP or VoIP protocols. They may be viewed as commercial realizations of the experimental Network Voice Protocol (1973) invented for the ARPANET providers. Some cost savings are due to utilizing a single network to carry voice and data, especially where users have existing underutilized network capacity that can carry VoIP at no additional cost. VoIP to VoIP phone calls are sometimes free, while VoIP to public switched telephone networks, PSTN, may have a cost that is borne by the VoIP user.
Voice over IP protocols carry telephony signals as digital audio, typically reduced in data rate using speech data compression techniques, encapsulated in a data packet stream over IP.
There are two types of PSTN to VoIP services:

1) Direct Inward Dialing (DID) and access numbers.

2) DID will connect the caller directly to the VoIP user while access numbers require the caller to input the extension number of the VoIP user.


Voice over Internet Protocol has been a subject of interest almost since the first computer network. By 1973, voice was being transmitted over the early Internet.[1] The technology for transmitting voice conversations over the internet has been available to end-users since at least the 1990's. In 1996, a shrink-wrapped software product called Vocaltec Internet Phone Release 4 provided VoIP, along with extra features such as voice mail and caller id. However, it did not offer a gateway to the analog POTS, so it was only possible to speak to other Vocaltec Internet Phone users.[2] In 1997, Level 3 began development of its first softswitch (a term they invented in 1998); softswitches were designed to replace a traditional hardware switchboards by serving as the gateway between two telephone networks
Security ModeMany consumer VoIP solutions do not support encryption yet, although having a secure phone is much easier to implement with VoIP than traditional phone lines. As a result, it is relatively easy to eavesdrop on VoIP calls and even change their content.[9] There are several open source solutions that facilitate sniffing of VoIP conversations. A modicum of security is afforded due to patented audio codecs that are not easily available for open source applications, however such security through obscurity has not proven effective in the long run in other fields. Some vendors also use compression to make eavesdropping more difficult. However, real security requires encryption and cryptographic authentication which are not widely available at a consumer level. The existing secure standard SRTP and the new ZRTP protocol is available on Analog Telephone Adapters(ATAs) as well as various softphones. It is possible to use IPsec to secure P2P VoIP by using opportunistic encryption. Skype does not use SRTP, but uses encryption which is transparent to the Skype provider.
Inshort Voice VPN solution provides secure voice for enterprise VoIP networks by applying IPSec encryption to the digitized voice stream.

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