At this point, most of us probably end up taking the technology behind our VoIP and UC services for granted. This is completely normal ó in fact, many of us go through our days utilizing new technologies without understanding how exactly they work. Not all of us have the time to sit down and dissect what seems to be incredibly complicated tech. Normally, even as a consumer or business owner shopping for a new solution, youíd be completely fine just knowing the basics.
However, if you truly want to ensure the absolute best solution, service, and system for your business, then understanding what youíre getting into can go a very long way. VoIP itself isnít necessarily too complicated, although itís easy to get bogged down by the overwhelming technical data and what essentially reads as jargon to the average person. At the end of the day, though, the most important information to understand are the protocols and standards by which VoIP communication is even made possible. Thankfully, the general ideas themselves arenít too complicated, and weíre here to help.
Armed with the knowledge of how VoIP transfers data, and the differences in standards and protocols used to accomplish that, your business can adopt the right solution for their needs. So letís dig in, shall we?
The Very Basics: What Even Are Protocols?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and the word ìprotocolî is an integral part as to how the entire system works. Essentially, VoIP is a method of transferring audio and even video information across, well, the Internet. However, sending data over the internet isnít as simple as attaching a file to your email or sharing a Dropbox link. In fact, all of that is made possible simply because of protocols.
So, what is a protocol? Well, very simply put, a protocol is a set of rules that computers use govern and explain how they communicate with each other.
Many of you may remember that god-awful dial-up tone that would play when you tried to connect to the internet using something like AOL. The series of beeps, squeaks and buzzes sounded to many like a robot conversation ó and thatís exactly what it was ó your computer attempting to ìtalkî to the internet through a series of checks.
The Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol
Throughout your time on the internet, you may have also come across the nomenclature of TCP/IP. While not the main focus of our discussion, it is worth mentioning. Just about every single computer and device that connects to the internet utilizes and supports TCP/IP. TCP/IP isnít a singular networking protocol, but rather a suite of protocols that is named after the two most important ones.
For a communication to occur, computers need both a message to send and a method by which to consistently and reliably send and deliver that message. TCP is what deals with the message itself, breaking the content down into smaller sections called packets. This helps explain why packet loss is so detrimental to your call quality. Meanwhile, the IP layer of the suite deals specifically with sending and delivering the packets. This is where your IP address comes from, which is essentially like your house address ó a mostly static location or label for your network.
While the TCP/IP protocol suite is the basis for all communications, VoIP and UC rely on communication and signaling protocols to establish a connection between two devices, and allow the transfer of audio or video data beyond the standard suite.