A Brief Introduction to very fast VoIP

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VOIP stand for Voice-over-Internet protocol. At a very basic level it is the idea of using a data network to transfer voice between two points. Although voip has become a buzz word in recent years has it origins as far back as the early 1970s. The pioneering work of Danny Cohen at the University of Southern California first tested the Network Voice Protocol (NVP) in December 1973.

Although voip seems to imply that it can only carry voice across the network the reality is that voip can be used to communicate voice, data and video across the network if the software and hardware is in place.

Voip works by taking the voice and sampling it. Most of us have recorded our voice to a digital device be it a computer, a mobile phone or a digital dictaphone. You can even get applications for iPODs to record your voice. The voice samples are converted into data and then stored on the device to be played back at a later date. VIOP works in the same way, taking the voice, sampling it and converting it into binary data. The different is that data isn't stored locally but the samples are transferred them via the network to the recipient at the other end.

In order for the data to flow smoothly from one point to the other the samples are compressed with a CODEC and sliced into packets or smaller samples. These packets are then pulsed across the network and reassembled at the other end, decompressed and played backed. The whole process is so quick that the users do not notice the process taking place. If the process does become slowed down then jitter can take place. The voice or video then becomes choppy or glitch ridden. In order to over come the problem a fast Ethernet network dedicated to voip improves the flow of data.

There are two major types of equipment used for voip transmissions. The first is the soft phone, this is a system that utilizes a computer with the addition of a microphone and either headphones or speakers. The computer has software installed that acts as the gateway to the network providing the sampling, CODECS and the steaming of the data.

The vast majority of Skype customers use the soft phone route when accessing the service. Although Skype does provide handsets these are still pseudo soft phones as Skype cannot be used with voip analogue telephone adapters (ATAs) and therefore they are restricted to the Skype network.

The other devices for using a voip network are unsurprisingly called hard phones. These are stand alone devices that look like a regular phone but instead of a phone jack they have an internet cable that can be plugged directly into the network.

The advantages for a business in installing a converged voip network are that by using a single network for all communication the maintenance and deployment costs are keep controlled. In order to set up a voip network you will need to find a secure voip provider who will be able to install and run a fast Ethernet network.

There are various Ethernet solutions and Ethernet connections in the market place. Interoute have the largest single pan-European network for voip provision and work for a variety of European governments in providing their voip services.

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