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Take A SIP Of VoIP

TCP. IP. UDP. And, now, SIP, or Session Initiation Protocol, the next protocol your network will need to support. SIP is the evolving standard that governs voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) networks. This flavor of technology's alphabet soup is about to be served up to enterprise networks as businesses increasingly consider moving their voice operations from circuit-switched networks to inexpensive VoIP installations.

SIP is key to making that work. If your end users in the enterprise aren't happy with the quality and availability of their phone services, use of VoIP services is going to be harder to justify. What's more, the extra costs associated with getting those services to an acceptable level are going to hurt your return on investment in the changeover. In a sense, the challenge that VoIP faces in the enterprise is threefold: Giving users sufficient quality, managers cost assurance, and network managers a way to control their traffic flows.

The answer, as usual, is a widely adopted standard, and SIP is the specific answer in this case. Based on HTML and MIME, the text-based SIP is designed for real-time applications, and is less complex than its predecessor, H.323. It helps that Microsoft has built SIP support into its most recent versions of Windows (including XP, .NET Server, and even Windows CE), and that the telecom industry is following suit.

With widespread SIP acceptance, voice services should be able to extend across a host of devices, not just traditional phones. These services should also extend the capabilities of a traditional voice call to include video, whiteboarding, and other useful business functions. The URL-based addressing scheme makes routing simple, and SIP is also the logical way toward enabling various carriers to communicate among one another.

If this protocol is still a bit new to you, now is the time to get to know it. Take a SIP and see.

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