Internet Telephony - Facilitating Businesses Throughout

By: Kristen

In the last couple of years, Internet telephony has emerged as one of the more popular and widely used Internet applications. Internet telephony also popularly known as VoIP telephony, wherein the Internet is used for regulating the telephony traffic, is making inroads into the organizational structure of several small and medium sized organizations. This is because businesses need all the support that they can get in augmenting profits and reducing the running costs. One way they can reduce their telecommunication costs to a significant extent is through the incorporation of Internet telephony services. With real time voice, fax and video calls being made over the Internet, this specialized service is being favored by business conglomerates having a global presence.

Since the 1980s, certain trends have dominated the telecommunication landscape and are slowly but surely making their presence felt in this context. For one, the digital signal processing (DSP) technology has become cheaper and more accessible. The process of converting voice to digital signals in real time is now possible from any home or professional personal computer.

The techniques for compression and multiplexing has become fast and more economical. The bandwidth space that, even a few years ago, could maintain a single voice call has now become capable of handling anywhere between 5 to 10 calls. Another trend that can be mentioned in this context is the wide deployment of wide area networks such as the Internet.

However, one factor that has remained constant having special relevance to the bottom line of businesses is the high costs of making voice calls over the PSTN networks. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense for corporate and individual users to harness the emerging computer and network technology in reducing the telecommunication costs.

However, as of now, there are certain impediments to IP telephony, more so, if we are talking about it in "real time." And one of these is the availability of proper bandwidth; unpredictable 'micro-delays' could result due to limited bandwidth in specific circumstances. Consequently, bandwidth has to be guaranteed; and Internet Phone services that ensure the same need to emerge. Latest protocols such as RTP and RSVP are a great help in this context. Business users would need to ensure that all the Internet Service Providers (ISP) that they are subscribing to support these standards.

With time, voice over internet telephony has become more mature with some of the largest telecoms from across the world using the same. Certain issues that were an impediment like interoperability is gradually being taken care of. Leading names from the communications sector have joined the bandwagon and are contributing to its future growth. This has resulted in phenomenal growth of the Internet telephony with traditional carriers now offering 'enhanced' services. Real time faxing, print servers, fax servers on corporate networks, voice messaging, are some of the spealized applications of Internet Telephony.

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