Voice Over IP, or VoIP, is an umbrella term for a set of technologies that allow voice traffic to be carried over Internet Protocol (IP) internetworks such as the Internet. The term “Voice over IP” was coined by the VoIP Forum, a consortium of companies dedicated to the development and extension of IP telephony technologies. Voice over IP (VoIP) is the prime example of “convergence” in the networking and telecommunications industry because it enables telephony and computer networking traffic to be combined into a single data stream of IP packets.
Various vendors have offered proprietary VoIP solutions, but most have recently moved toward standards-based solutions that implement the H.323 and T.120 communication protocols developed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). These include voice-encoding industry standards such as G.723 and G.729. One goal of these standards is to enable integration between IP telephony and global cellular telephony standards such as the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). However, the move toward standards has been slow, and only a few vendors offer end-to-end carrier-class VoIP services with acceptable levels of communication latency.
Vendors tout the following advantages of using VoIP technologies: