In the current era of technology where continuous innovation is recurring, every latest technology is worth focusing on. Certainly, the scope of communication is enhancing day by day, and advancements of technology have played a major role in boosting the speed of communication. Over the last two decades, the telephone network has evolved from analog to digital circuit. However, soon afterwards, circuit switched technology was replaced by packet switched technology. Nonetheless, the latest packet switched technology is responsible for carrying both voice and data over Internet Protocol (IP) networks. Correspondingly, the advent of Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) system has been a huge success in market place because it has reduced communication expenses and increased the efficiency of communication flow.
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2. Literature Review
In the recent years, Voice over Internet Protocol technology has gained significant importance because of its wide spreading and beneficial application in the telephonic world. VOIP is a real time voice application which benefits its users with the high quality interaction between the talkers and facilitates a better understanding of the speech (Carvalho, Mota, Aguiar, Lima & de Souza, 2005). Consumers and business entities are adopting the VOIP system in their day to day activities because of its flexibility. Another important aspect of VOIP technology is its cost efficient feature due which its use in highly appreciated in the consumer market and new business (Keromytis, 2010).
VOIP technology is designed to deliver real time voice signals over IP network in the form of packetized data (Paglierani & Petri, 2009). The transmission of voice signals is the digital transmission of information in the form of a stream of packetized data. The speedy working of VOIP system is due to the ability of IP network to allow each packet of data to choose the most efficient path which will lead the packet to the desired destination.
VOIP technology is also facing security concerns which is a potential threat for its growth. The flexible and innovative feature of VOIP technology which is allowing users to connect and communicate over internet protocol has pushed many people to adopt this technology. But with its increasing growth, there is also a potential for devastating attacks on the VOIP system which is significantly harmful for the commerce and public safety (Butcher, Li & Guo, 2007).
Before VOIP system, POTS (Plain old telephone services) was used which was a circuit switched network consisting of copper phone lines. In POTS system a dedicated line was used to transfer the voice signals from the sender to receiver and the line carried only one call at a time. On the other side, VOIP system works using internet to transfer the calls. Reliability of POTS and VOIP system is high, and the voice quality of POTS is better than VOIP system as it works over internet. But the VOIP system is more cost efficient than POTS system (Nisar, Hasbullah & Said, 2009).
As compared to VOIP, unified communications refers to advanced real-time and non-real-time services of communication, which enable organizations to have a steady user interface and experience on different devices and platforms (Harwood, 2010). Various programs are involved in implementation of Unified communication solutions. While VOIP is built on internet-based calling, UC has a larger scope and it encompasses e-mail, voice mail, speech recognition, screen sharing, etc. VOIP is also one of the solutions included in UC. Now-a-days VOIP is used along with other technologies like screen sharing, SMS and e-mail.
3. Working of VOIP System
The Voice over Internet Protocol operates by converting the voice signals into small packets of data, which are transmitted over Internet using IP network as a medium. The voice signals sent by a sender are passed through an encoder which converts the voice signals into data packets. These data packets are then transmitted via a network. Decoder decodes the data packets into voice signal which is then received by the receiver (Ahson, 2008).
The VOIP technology allows the data packets to take the most efficient path on their own discretion to reach the destined place. The feature of deciding the path makes the VOIP technology more efficient and effective in the telephony. VOIP system allows users to call on landline and cell phones. Also the system facilitates the calling feature via computers. The two parties need to speak using microphone and listen though speakers or headphones. VOIP system also works best for businesses because of its low cost, high productivity and enhanced collaboration and communication.
The working of VOIP can be presented in the form of a flow chart. The VOIP architecture of Cisco is shown in figure below (Cisco, 2005):
The components of diagram include the following:
- Call Control Application Programming Interface (CCAPI) is the software that launches, ends and links call legs.
- Voice Telephony Service Provider (VTSP) is an IOS procedure that facilities requests from the Call Control API and articulates the suitable requests to the digital signal processor (DSP)
- Voice Processor Module (VPM) leads linking and synchronizing signaling processes between SSM, DSP Resource Manager and VTSP.
- DSP Resource Manager offers interfaces to VTSP for sending and receiving messages to and from the DSPs.
- Packet Handler transmits packets between the DSPs and the Peer Call legs.
- Call Peer is the opposite call leg
4. Advantages of VOIP System
The VOIP technology is user-friendly, and it is easy to install, configure and maintain. The installation of the system does not require a highly technical and experienced person, but a person with limited knowledge of technology can also handle the VOIP system. Furthermore, it is inexpensive mode of communication which does not require much efforts to add new users which makes the system less costly.
From business point of view, the VOIP system is flexible enough for increasing or decreasing the number of connections as per the requirement without incurring cost as it is required in traditional phone system. Businesses do not require a huge capital investment to install the VOIP technology and also makes the company to be cost efficient while making international calls that otherwise will charge the company a high cost (Soupionis & Gritzalis, 2010).
5. Disadvantages of VOIP System
One major drawback of VOIP system is its full dependency on internet. Being an internet dependent technology, a minor fluctuation of the internet will disrupt the call quality. Phone conversations will be disrupted and the communication efficiency of VOIP system will decline. The smooth and effective working of VOIP system requires a good quality internet to avoid the internet bases disturbances.
Another major drawback is the security threats associated with the VOIP system. VOIP technology is complex and involves a number of vulnerabilities, which threaten the confidentiality and integrity of information. The more the VOIP system is becoming popular, the more the system is open to threatening issues of security (Butcher, Li & Guo, 2007). There are more chances of leakage of highly confidential information of businesses using VOIP technology. Businesses should take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of information before deploying VOIP system.
Voice over Internet Protocol system a revolutionary technology in the field of communication. It has increased the level of communication and interaction while facilitating the telephonic facility over internet. Nonetheless, it is beneficial for both the domestic and business uses. Businesses are more into acquiring the VOIP technology because of its cost effectiveness. In short, VOIP system is a valuable invention that has amazingly made the communication more efficient and effective while being cost effective.
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Ahson, M. I., 2008. VoIP Handbook: Applications, Technologies, Reliability, and Security. CRC Press.
Butcher, D., Li, X. and Guo, J., 2007. Security challenge and defense in VoIP infrastructures. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part C (Applications and Reviews), 37(6), pp.1152-1162.
Carvalho, L., Mota, E., Aguiar, R., Lima, A.F. and de Souza, J.N., 2005, June. An E-model implementation for speech quality evaluation in VoIP systems. In Computers and Communications, 2005. ISCC 2005. Proceedings. 10th IEEE Symposium on (pp. 933-938). IEEE.
Cisco, 2005. Troubleshooting and Debugging VoIP Calls Basics. Available at: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/support/docs/voice/h323/14081-voip-debugcalls.html
Harwood, M., 2010. Security Strategies in Web Applications and Social Networking. Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Keromytis, A. D., 2010. Voice-over-IP Security: Research and Practice. IEEE Security & Privacy, 8(2), pp. 24-41.
Nisar, K., Hasbullah, H. and Said, A.M., 2009, January. Internet call delay on peer to peer and phone to phone VoIP network. In Computer Engineering and Technology, 2009. ICCET’09. International Conference on (Vol. 2, pp. 517-520). IEEE.
Paglierani, P. and Petri, D., 2009. Uncertainty evaluation of objective speech quality measurement in VoIP systems. IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, 58(1), pp.46-51.
Soupionis, Y. and Gritzalis, D., 2010. Audio CAPTCHA: Existing solutions assessment and a new implementation for VoIP telephony. Computers & Security, 29(5), pp.603-618.