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What are the VoIP protocols?

VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is a computer network protocol that allows you to make voice calls over the internet. The technology transforms your voice into electronic pulses and breaks it into binary code. Your voice is turned into “packets of data” which are transmitted over the IP network to the person receiving your call. With broadband speeds increasing, the use of VoIP servers has become an obvious choice, especially since they do not operate on the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

There are various protocols involved to ensure that VoIP technology functions properly, the main ones being:

  • Session Initiation Protocol: also known as SIP, it is the main multimedia communication protocol currently in use. A way of connecting several callers, it is mostly used for VoIP but is also found in online video games and instant messaging services;

  • H.323: traditionally used to provide audio, visual and data communication over the IP network, this protocol is valued because it is easy to configure and use. However, H.323 is being phased out and replaced by SIP, mainly because it is a relatively static technology. That explains why not many telecommunications devices are still compatible with it;

  • Media Gateway Control Protocol: unlike the other protocols, MGCP transmits voice calls and videos between an IP network and the traditional PSTN network. This protocol is essential to convert signals between VoIP and traditional networks, especially the PSTN;

  • Jingle: this protocol is used for P2P (peer-to-peer) transmissions between XMPP customers, especially for certain instant messaging services. It has enhanced traditional instant messaging with VoIP and videoconferencing features;

  • Real-time Transport Protocol: this is a computer communication protocol designed specifically for use where data has to be transferred in real time. While used with VoIP for transmitting voice calls, RTP is also used in communication systems such as videoconferencing applications, television services and video streaming.

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