19 June 2007
What exactly is VoIP? Do you need it? How do you go about getting it?
This overview of the promise and limitations of voice over Internet
Protocol (VoIP) provides the basics needed to get started.
What does VoIP mean and what does it do?
The term VoIP stands for voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP is
related to the terms IP telephony and Internet telephony, which you'll
be hearing more and more about during the next several years. VoIP has
had a lot of buzz and hype behind it, though recently it has lost a
little of its steam.
At the most basic level, VoIP technologies enable analog telephone
communications to be digitally transferred and routed over data
networksâ€”whether it's a wide area network (WAN), a local area network
(LAN) or the Internet. In theory, the two packets of
communicationsâ€”digitized voice and dataâ€”coexist peacefully and move all
over a network. Of course, a third packetâ€”videoâ€”has become a major
network consideration for 21st-century organizations because it's a
bandwidth hog. When combined on one network, data, voice and video
offer boundless productivity opportunities for users, and potential
telecom savings and efficiencies for organizations, but major headaches
for IT networking staffers who have to "keep the peace" between the
three demanding sets of network traffic. For their part, CIOs, burdened
for so many years with legacy telecom and networking infrastructures,
will have to spend a tremendous amount of resources on improving their network capability, reliability and flexibility to keep pace.