Voice over IP (VOIP) uses the Internet Protocol (IP) to transmit voice as packets over an IP network. So VOIP can be
achieved on any data network that uses IP, like Internet, Intranets and Local Area Networks (LAN). Here the voice signal
is digitized, compressed and converted to IP packets and then transmitted over the IP network. Signaling protocols are
used to set up and tear down calls, carry information required to locate users and negotiate capabilities.One of the main
motivations for Internet telephony is the very low cost involved. Some other motivations are:
● Demand for multimedia communication
● Demand for integration of voice and data networks
For VOIP to become popular, some key issues need to be resolved. Some of these issues stem from the fact that IP was
designed for transporting data while some issues have arisen because the vendors are not conforming to the standards.
The key issues are discussed below [Munch98]:
Quality of voice
As IP was designed for carrying data, so it does not provide real time guarantees but only provides best effort
service. For voice communications over IP to become acceptable to the users, the delay needs to be less than a
threshold value and the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) is working on this aspect. To ensure good quality
of voice, we can use either Echo Cancellation, Packet Prioritization (giving higher priority to voice packets) or
Forward Error Correction [Micom] .
In a public network environment, products from different vendors need to operate with each other if voice over IP
is to become common among users. To achieve interoperability, standards are being devised and the most common
standard for VOIP is the H.323 standard, which is described in the next section.
This problem exists because in the Internet, anyone can capture the packets meant for someone else. Some security
can be provided by using encryption and tunneling. The common tunneling protocol used is Layer 2 Tunneling
protocol and the common encryption mechanism used is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
Integration with Public Switched Telephone Network(PSTN)
While Internet telephony is being introduced, it will need to work in conjunction with PSTN for a few years. We
need to make the PSTN and IP telephony network appear as a single network to the users of this service.
As researchers are working to provide the same quality over IP as normal telephone calls but at a much lower cost,
so there is a great potential for high growth rates in VOIP systems. VOIP systems needs to be flexible enough to
grow to large user market and allow a mix of private and public services.