Friday, June 01, 2007

"VoIP" Voice Over Internet Protocal

VoIP is a set of technologies that enable voice calls to be carried over the Internet (or other networks designed for data), rather than the traditional telephone landline system — the Public Switched Telephone Network, or PSTN. The potential for very low-cost or free voice calls is driving the use of the technology but in the long-term, VoIP is more significant than just free phone calls - it represents a major change in telecommunications. The fact that VoIP transmits voice as digitized packets over the Internet means that it has the potential to converge with other digital technologies, which in turn will result in new services and applications becoming available.

However, the adoption of VoIP is not without complications. The traditional PSTN telephone infrastructure has been built up over the last one hundred years or so and has developed into a robust voice communications system that provides reliability figures of nearly 100%. In contrast, VoIP is a relatively new technology with a fledgling architecture that is built on inherently less reliable data networks. This means that there are therefore justifiable concerns around the extent to which it is deployed.

VoIP has developed considerably in recent years and is gaining widespread public recognition and adoption through consumer solutions such as Skype and BT’s strategy of moving to an IP-based network. In the long-term, VoIP is likely to impact on some of the bigger picture developments within further and higher education such as virtual universities, identity management, and integration with enterprise-level services and applications.

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