Voip Systems - Just What Is An Ip, Anyway?

By: Deanna Mascle

IP stands for "internet protocol" and references a data protocol that is used for communication across a network. A protocol, then, is a standard that governs the connection of that contact between two points on a network. Protocol also references a set of guidelines or rules that govern the aspects of the communication across the network.

IP, then, is what is known as a network layer protocol and is housed and governed in a data linkage known as Ethernet. Ethernet refers to what are essentially a family of computer properties and technologies used across local area networks or LANs. Ethernet tends to provide unique global internet protocol addresses or IP addresses to users on the networks. IP is basically the tools of communication and the identity of a particular computer or network's "global address." IP is entirely concerned with where the data ends up whereas Ethernet references and is concerned with the actual next device in the next chain of communication. To use the aforementioned example regarding a child's telephone, the Ethernet would be concerned with the two cans more than it would be with the string.

The first version of IP to be used worldwide and widely deployed was IPv4. IPv4, as the name would suggest, was the fourth edition of internet protocol and is used on the internet along with IPv6. IPv6 and Ipv4 are actually the only forms of internet protocol to be utilized on the World Wide Web. IPv4 is what is known as a "best effort delivery" protocol; there are not many service guarantees within IPv4 or any other IP for that matter. In fact, best effort delivery contains a number of notions that do not guarantee a level of quality for service customers or a level of reliability in terms of connectivity to any network. The best comparison to this philosophy would be the post office. While no resources are left unused in the operation of delivering mail, there is no actualized guarantee as to when you mail will arrive.

Along with a lack of data guarantee, IP may also deliver some data corruption, some lack of connectivity to the network, some double arrival in connectivity pings to the network, and even some loss of connection packets. For businesses using voice over ip phone connection or voip systems, this can cause a problem. The only thing IP actually can guarantee to its users is that the address will be correct in terms of connectivity. So the connection may be duplicated or may not arrive at any particular time and the data may be corrupted, but at least the connection knows the address and can deliver it to the address if the factors arrive as predicted. That sounds more and more like the postal service, doesn't it?

IP, while seemingly complex, simply provides a set of rules and regulations in the world of technology that enables data the ability to transmit across a given network, going as far as to include voice over ip services. This happens because the computers in the network have IP addresses and can function within the network's regulations. IP governs these addresses and the involvement of the address with the regulations, transferring data around the network.

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