The Internet Protocol (IP) is the principal communications protocol used for relaying datagram’s (also known as network packets) across an internetwork using the Internet Protocol Suite. Responsible for routing packets across network boundaries, it is the primary protocol that establishes the Internet. IP is the primary protocol in the Internet Layer of the Internet Protocol Suite and has the task of delivering datagram’s from the source host to the destination host solely based on the addresses. For this purpose, IP defines datagram structures that encapsulate the data to be delivered. It also defines addressing methods that are used to label the datagram source and
Historically, IP was the connectionless datagram service in the original TransmissionControl Program introduced by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn in 1974, the other being the connection- oriented Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). The Internet Protocol Suite is therefore often referred to as TCP/IP. The first major version of IP, Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4), is the dominant protocol of the internet. Its successor is Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), which is increasing in use.
Moving to IP Telephony
A network telephony solution makes compelling business sense. Conventional phone systems, with their wiring and handsets, are entirely separate from your computer network. Their sole purpose is to distribute voice traffic to users. This system (like many new systems still sold today) is based on older proprietary technology with a complicated proprietary language and significant maintenance costs that can actually add up to 100 percent of the initial cost of the system in as little as 5 years.
By moving communications to the network with IP telephony, businesses can enjoy greater flexibility, ease of use, and lower maintenance costs. Your computer network, unlike a phone network, can distribute virtually any kind of traffic—data, video, and voice. Further, IP telephony integrates your telephone communications with your computer network, meaning that voice and data communications share the same cabling to save costs and simplify maintenance.
But perhaps the greatest feature of network-based IP telephony is flexibility. It adapts to the way your business operates, not the other way around. IP telephony messaging solutions offer something for everyone, from office staff to telecommuters to branch office personnel to mobile workers. Using IP telephony, you can tailor your system to your business requirements, networking infrastructure, and workforce needs. Best of all, as your business changes and grows, an IP telephony system will grow with you, without major equipment upgrades.
In considering IP telephony solutions, you will come across the following terms:-
- Voice over IP (VoIP) refers to a way to carry phone calls over an IP data network, whether the public Internet or an organization's own internal network. One of the primary attractions of VoIP is its ability to help companies reduce expenses because telephone calls travel over the data network rather than the phone company's network.
- IP telephony encompasses the full suite of telephony services enabled by VoIP, including the interconnection of phones for actual communications; related services such as billing and dialing plans; and basic features such as conferencing, transfer, forward, hold, and many more. These services might previously have been provided by a private branch exchange (PBX)
- IP communications evolves the concept to include business applications that enhance communications to enable applications such as unified messaging, integrated contact centers, and rich-media conferencing that combines voice, data, and video.
- The Cisco Unified Communications System takes IP communications step further with technologies such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and presence and mobility solutions. These technologies unify and simply all forms of communication, independent of location, time, or device.
- Cisco Unified Communications users can be reached at any time based on their preferences and can communicate through any media using any device they prefer. The multiple phones and devices, along with the multiple networks (fixed, Internet, cable, satellite, or mobile) are brought together by unified communications. With unified communications, users can be geographically independent and communications can be transparently integrated with business processes, streamlining business and improving productivity and profitability.
Smart Business Communications Architecture
The IP Communications solution delivers feature-rich communications built specifically for small offices and enterprises. The solution simplifies everyday management tasks with GUI-based tools for configuration, installation, and administration and features a flexible architecture to enable to consolidate equipment and migrate based on your specific needs. The solution works with existing business applications to help streamline processes, improve operational and IT efficiency, and reduce costs and complexity.
Key features include:
• Easy-to-manage, plug-and-play functionality that makes adding new users and components quick and easy.
• Single box, which offers unified management, simplified installation, integrated mobility with dual mode and single-number reach, and fewer products to manage.
• Default system configuration immediately available.
• Integrated voice mail - including the Integrated Messaging with industry e-mail client applications.
• Power fail-over support.
• Wireless support - voice and data.
• Support for up to three sites.
• Integrated firewall.
• Support for Power over Ethernet (PoE).