2006-04-22

VOIP Network Elements

Service providers or enterprises can develop a Voice over IP architecture in one of three ways:
—By IP-enabling an existing telephony network
—By voice-enabling an existing IP or other packet network
—By building a pure IP telephony network from scratch

Regardless of a service provider gets to a Voice over IP architecture, the end result is the same. Whether the network is a pure IP network or uses other existing packet infrastructure, the architecture will have these elements in common:
  • Communication server—Also called a "call server" or "softswitch," this element is the brains of the network, providing call control, gateway control, service intelligence, and other centralized functions.
  • Signaling point—This element enables the Voice over IP network to communicate with the SS7 (Signaling System 7) network.
  • Line and trunk gateways—These elements provide connectivity to the public network (either the local line or long-haul trunking segments, respectively)
  • Core switches and routers—These elements keep traffic moving through the core of the IP network
  • Application server—This element provides voice, data, or multimedia services from a central location in the IP network.
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