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VoIP 101

The buzz for this new phone system technology is reaching a fever pitch yet, many people still have limited knowledge. There are many terms that you need to understand when searching for a VoIP provider so that you may take advantage of this low cost technology. I am going to list them here.
AS - A group of networks under mutual administration that share the same routing methodology. An AS uses an internal gateway protocol and common metrics to route Packets within the AS, and uses an external gateway protocol to route packets to other AS.
ASP (Application Service Provider)
An independent, third-party provider of software-based services delivered to customers across a wide area network (WAN).
ATA – Analog Telephone Adapter A device that connects between an analog telephone and an Internet connection port, and allows you to use a standard phone to make and receive VoIP calls over the Internet.
Average Hold Time - The average length of time between the moment a caller finishes dialing and the moment the call is answered or terminated
Bandwidth The maximum data carrying capacity of a transmission link. For networks, bandwidth is usually expressed in bits per second (bps).
Descriptive term for evolving digital technology that provides consumers a single switch facility offering integrated access to voice, high-speed data service, video demand services, and interactive delivery services.
Codec - Short for coder/decoder, a piece of hardware or software that automatically encodes/compresses and decodes/decompresses voice signal data packets. A codec is used to minimize bandwith usage while preserving voice quality. Although many proprietary compression schemes exist, VoIP networks typically incorporate at least one of several standardized audio CODECs for the sake of interoperability.
compression is used at anywhere from 1:1 to 12:1 ratios in VOIP applications to consume less bandwidth and leave more for data or other voice/fax communications. The voice quality may decrease with increased compression ratios.
Find-me/Follow-me Lying at the heart of the "unified messaging" or "ubiquitous communication" concept, Find me/Follow me is a feature that routes incoming calls to a user no matter where he or she roams or what type of device is being used (home, business or mobile phone). This "presence" feature, which rings multiple phones simultaneously, is offered by many IP PBXs and some hosted services. The feature is typically activated by pressing a softkey.
A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls can be implemented as hardware, software, or a combination of both. All messages entering or leaving the intranet pass through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks those that do not meet the security criteria specified on the firewall.
FXO - Foreign Exchange Office. A device that connects with a Central Office (CO) or PSTN analog line.
FXS - Foreign Exchange Station. A device that connects with an "end-user" device such as a telephone or fax machine.
Gatekeeper - The central control entity that performs management functions in a Voice and Fax over IP network and for multimedia applications such as video conferencing. Gatekeepers provide intelligence for the network, including address resolution, authorization, and authentication services, the logging of Call Detail Records, and communications with network management systems.
Gatekeepers control bandwidth, provide interfaces to existing legacy systems, and monitor the network for engineering purposes as well as for real-time network management and load balancing, .
Internet Telephony – Any method of transmitting voice over the internet. A multimedia PC with special client software will digitalize your voice.
IP PBX - IP Private Branch Exchange. A business phone system that offers advanced phone services between VoIP and PSTN networks, such as music-on-hold, automatic call-routing, voicemail, and call transfer.
IP phone - also called an Internet phone or broadband phone. An IP phone plugs into a broadband Internet connection to make and receive VoIP calls over the Internet.
Packet – A logically grouped unit of data. These packets of data are distributed over the internet, and then are de-constructed to voice when they reach their destination.
PSTN - Public-Switched Telephone Network, is the commonly-known telephone network. PSTN is a circuit-switched network.
PSTN Failover - an optional port on an IP phone or ATA device that connects to the PSTN network in case your Internet connection or electrical power goes down. This configuration requires you to have a regular telephone line and service.
Route - A set of parameters predefined by Voip provider to facilitate routing of traffic between the Gateways/Gatekeepers controlled by a Voip provider Member either via ownership or via a partnership with the owner. Along with specifying other parameters, a Voip provider Member using the Gatekeeping Service assigns to a Route values specifying the details of both originating and terminating Gateways/Gatekeepers.
SIP - Session Initiation Protocol. One of the newer, more common signaling protocols used for VoIP.
Softphone - a "software" phone on a PC that can send and receive calls over the Internet.
VoIP - Voice over Internet Protocol, which is a technology that allows you to make and receive phone calls and faxes over the Internet instead of through the telephone or cellular network.
VoIP Gateway - device that converts analog voice signals to digital IP packets for communication over an Ethernet (LAN or WAN) network.
VSP - VoIP Service Provider
In order to use VoIP, both sender and receiver need to have a broadband connection. This is a high-speed Internet connection usually provided by cable or a DSL modem. Broadband modems are usually used to connect computers to the Internet, but in the case of VoIP, computers are not necessary, because now there are telephones that connect directly.

About The Author

Christine Hancock is the owner of which deals specifically with PC to Phone and PC to PC VoIP. The site includes a comprehensive information on VoIP.