Voice over IP (VoIP) is experiencing explosive growth. Many corporate environments have migrated, are actively migrating, or are researching the process of migrating to VoIP. Some long-distance providers are using VoIP to carry voice traffic, particularly on international calls. Companies, such as Vonage, offer VoIP service as a replacement for traditional telephony service in the home.
Migration is a process that involves gradually phasing out old components and replacing them with new ones. Many terms have been used to describe the technologies and applications for transporting voice in a converged packet network environment. When designing a converged network, it is necessary to clearly define all requirements and understand the various options that are available.
An important first step in designing a converged network is to understand the traditional telephony network and how it interfaces with voice components. You must know, from the start, how legacy voice equipment is connected and its possible migration paths.
The next step toward a good design is being knowledgeable about the components available for VoIP networks. You should be aware of the difference between voice and data flows within the network and the tools for controlling voice calls. Network requirements vary according to the size of the location. Knowing the difference between campus, enterprise, and service provider environments is crucial for choosing the right components and technologies.
This chapter provides an overview of the basic telephony functions and devices, including private branch exchanges (PBXs), switching functions, call signaling, and multiplexing techniques. It also reviews the basic components of the VoIP network and identifies the different requirements in campus, enterprise, and service provider environments. Together, these concepts and techniques provide a solid introduction to the VoIP arena.