The Functions of Voice over Internet Protocol

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Introduction
Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is a technology that offers voice communications using the existing Internet protocols. Over the years the Internet has developed as a very cheap medium that has been used to send electronic mails and files across the globe. VoIP extends this concept and provides the facility to send voice data between people using the IP framework. Since the Internet is a cheap medium, enabling voice services through it will effectively cut costs that are normally encountered in making calls through normal telephone lines. This would mean that people across the world can talk to each other at a fraction of the cost that they could be spending when they use normal telephone lines. This is exactly what makes VoIP interesting. However, until now the transfer of voice through the available Internet infrastructure has been beset with problems and the data quality of most applications using VoIP is far inferior when compared to the conventional telephone lines. This may be attributed to the non-uniform Internet services that are available throughout the world. This paper will look at VoIP technology and analyze some of its strong points, and how it may be considered as the technology of the future.

Analysis
VoIP is essentially the transfer of voice over the IP network. Integrating existing Internet protocols with real time voice and sound is a big problem mainly because the Internet was not designed for handling interactive content to the extent that we use them today. However, market demands have put enough pressure on vendors to create technologies that can effectively use the existing infrastructure in the best possible manner. On top of it, the urge to combine real time communication with the universality and lower costs of the Internet is too strong a factor that cannot be resisted by many technology vendors today.

How VoIP functions
At the basic level, VoIP functions much like the common Internet services that are available today. Voice data is received at one end of the IP network and is compressed, digitized, and broken down into data packets with unique serial numbers. A universal lookup table or an IP reference table helps the server at the call originating end to find out the IP of the receiver to whom the call is placed. Once the IP is resolved, data is sent to the destination IP much in the same fashion that emails and web data is transferred across the network. The data packets that are received at the destination end is collected, arranged according to sequence numbers, and converted back to analog signals so that the receiver can hear the voice. VoIP is possible between two computers, between two telephones that are connected to a network or even between a computer and a telephone. This means that a person with a PC can originate a call to a landline or vice versa [Jain, 2004]

The advantages of VoIP

• Voice and Data Integration
VoIP is a definite step towards integration of voice and data; a need that has been increasingly researched since the last few decades. Integration of voice and data would mean that data transfer can be controlled effectively thereby making data manipulation faster and more secure. VoIP will use a host of technologies like voice encryption in future to ensure that data transfer across voice sensitive servers happen in the most efficient manner.

• Fault tolerant design

Once more technological advancements are made on the efficient transfer of voice over IP, the need for massive infrastructure maintenance and installation routines would be automatically reduced. This would mean that the fault tolerant designs will become more popular and ubiquitous in the future. A network that can handle all types of data will be very much appreciated by existing systems that needs to implement multiple solutions to solve its immediate needs.

• Network Efficiency

Advanced VoIP solutions will ensure that networks will be used in the most efficient...
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