Tuesday, October 09, 2007

What you do not know about VoIP

VoIP can provide a number of benefits beyond replacing existing PBX/PSTN telephony:

1) Enhanced speech quality
The PSTN (and most PBXs) are limited to 3.1 kHz, 8-bit/sample audio. It is likely that future IP phones can provide CD quality and possibly even stereo audio. Even where the additional bandwidth required for this extreme level of quality cannot be provided; modest codecs such as G.722 (7 kHz speech bandwidth) can be used to provide better quality than conventional telephony;

2) Improved availability
There are many aspects of availability. Lowering the cost can make telephony more available to low-budget activities. Redundancy can provide as good as (or even better) reliability than traditional telephony. Integrating telephony with location-based computing and groupawareness systems can make the communication partners much more ‘available’, or provide the means to transfer communication to a point in time where it is more appropriate than the usual interrupt-driven telephone call;

3) Improved coverage
In a similar argument, IP Telephony can be made available in places where traditional phones are often not available in a university, e.g., lab settings (in particular, student labs). Also, many universities still consider the cost of phone installations high enough to force their employees to share phones in a common office, again, not necessary when workstation-based IP Telephony is used;

4) Improved mobility
It is very easy to move an IP phone to another room. There is no need to deal with ports on the PBX and change dial numbers. Simply plugging it into an ethernet socket in a new room makes it available;

5) Improved media integration
IP phones can be enabled to add media to an ongoing call as required, e.g., viewing a picture or drawing on a whiteboard. Using workstations themselves as IP phones can facilitate providing this function, whereas the standards are not yet there for coupling traditional phones and workstations;

6) New services
As IP Telephony evolves, it can be used to provide new services (like user-defined call processing) or to integrate existing concepts, e.g., Presence, Location Awareness or Instant Messaging. Because of the open standards available for these services, they need not to be limited to vendor-specific solutions. In other words, it can be much easier to deal with issues such as CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) and so pave the way to a completely new way of understanding telephony;

7) Research
The protocols and standards used for IP Telephony are open and publicly available. This allows research institutions to work on their own services and solutions.

With regard to the economic aspects, the ‘packetisation’ of voice using Voice over IP has given rise to new international telecommunications carriers.These carriers have distributed network architectures using the Internet as a platform. VoIP networks have an architecture offering the most efficient way to implement multilateral telecommunications agreements, thus eliminating the need for carriers to engage in hundreds of bilateral traffic agreements as are required between
traditional circuit-switched PSTN carriers.
Moreover, since packet networks are software driven,they can be configured more dynamically than traditional PSTN networks. For example, with a global voice over packet network, new destinations are available to all users on the network,
without the need for constant additional investment.

IP Telephony telecommunications companies may expand the availability of services to a wider audience. IP Telephony technologies can be used to build voice networks more rapidly and at a lower cost than legacy PSTN systems. Easier deployment of Voice over IP networks can bring the benefits of telecommunications to more people in a much shorter timeframe than would be possible with conventional PSTN networks.
At the same time, not having to build extensive infrastructure provides the motivation for many companies to migrate to IP Telephony architectures.

[IP Telephony Cookbook]
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