Voice over IP (VoIP) Servers

Voice over IP (VoIP) Servers
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So the first thing to understand with these Voice over IP servers or what are sometimes called IP PBXs is of course the use of the TCP/IP Ethernet Network. So basically, all of your phones, the PBX, et cetera is going to use Ethernet and itís going to use TCP/IP to communicate. So now instead of having a telephone PBX with phones and everything in their own world, you now have a phone system that resides on the same network as everything else. So you use routers. You use switches. You use TCP/IP. You use computers, etc. So this is very important.
We are now going to talk about the client systems in a moment. When we are talking the telephone, we are talking the telephone world, the Introduction to Telephone Class, we talk about stations. We are now talking about the Voice over IP world and so we are going to be talking about clients. Again, another very important thing once you really understand whatís going on.
So the huge thing with this Voice over IP server and the other reason I keep calling it a Voice over IP server is if youíve taken the server classes, you will know that a server is any computer that provides services to other computers on the network. So this is a Voice over IP server. Like I say, some people call them IP PBXs. I would argue that itís not technically correct. This is a server for real-time communications. So Voice over IP servers, so with this, this server will connect into your switch like normal and then this will connect into your router like normal. The router will then connect off into the internet. Now, all your telephones or clients on the system will then connect to the switch and that is how they will connect to this Voice over IP server.
Now, there are a couple of interesting things to think about with this Voice over IP server, is the first is you can have your client computers or your client telephones connect to the Voice over IP server through the normal networks. So you have a router, you have a switch, etcetera. You can also have analog or digital ports connected to the Voice over IP server. So some of these Voice over IP servers you will actually be able to plug a normal telephone straight into it.
So letís say you bring in your telephone from home, some of these Voice over IP servers you could plug that home telephone straight into the Voice over IP server. It depends on whether or not they have the little plugs to allow you to do that. So if you need to plug in digital phones or analog phones, whatever Voice over IP server you buy, make sure it has that functionality. So with Voice over IP servers, mainly, all the communications happen over your normal Ethernet network, TCP/IP, IP Protocols, etc. But if they have these little ports on here, they can also connect normal phones but theyíve got to have those little ports.
The next thing is as we talked about before in the other classes is trunk lines. So how do you call in and how do you call out from a Voice over IP server? Now, the first way you can do it is if you are doing completely Voice over IP. You can have something called a Voice over IP trunk from a provider. So you have a provider, this is not Verizon, itís kind of like ñ itís like a company called OnSIP. There are companies out there that will provide you IP trunk lines. So you donít need normal telephone lines anymore. You can actually get all of your calls straight through the internet. So these companies will provide you a Voice over IP trunks.
So the way calls can come in and out are either through the internet, you have one of these providers that your Voice over IP trunk and so what happens is when you go to call out, your little phone connects to the Voice over IP server, the Voice over IP server then connects to those Voice over IP trunks, or on your Voice over IP server you can have connections that can connect you to normal phone lines off from the outside world. So like I say here in Baltimore, we use Verizon for our phone company.
But whatever phone company you use, they have their little phone line and again if your Voice over IP server has the right plugs, you can plug one of these phone lines from your telephone company into the Voice over IP server and then when somebody makes a call, the call goes through your network, to the Voice over IP server and then goes out that normal trunk line. So this is a normal telephone line that goes out to the outside world. So this is the first way a Voice over IP server can work. So in this model, your Voice over IP server basically replaces the PBX that you would have before. So before, you had a special electronics device called a PBX that routed all your telephone communications. Now, you have a Voice over IP server, all your Voice over IP devices connect to it and then it is the one to route calls out to the outside world.
Now, here is something thatís really, really cool and one of the most wonderful things in the world about the Voice over IP system is now that we are doing everything over IP, now that we are doing everything over an Ethernet network, this Voice over IP server no longer has to be in our building. So you can actually have your Voice over IP server hosted on the outside world.
So over here out in the internet, just like you would have an email server out on the internet, you can have the Voice over IP server out here. And basically, you rented this from a company. Letís say the company like OnSIP or other ones, they will host your Voice over IP server for you. So you have all of your telephones in the building, all your computers, telephones, etc. They connect to the switch, the switch connects to the router, and then they all connect to this Voice over IP server thatís no longer even in your building. Why? Because everything now uses TCP/IP and Ethernet networking standard.
This is a great and wonderful thing because PBXs whether they are normal PBXs, normal telephone PBXs or whether they are Voice over IP servers, cost a lot of money. For a basic Voice over IP server that youíre going to put into a business, itís going to cost $2,000 just for the server and then you add in your phone lines that you have to pay for and add in all these other stuff and it gets to be very expensive.
Well, now that you can pay for a simple Voice over IP service, you just pay $25 or $50 or whatever it is per month per phone and you no longer have to worry about that box sitting inside of your building. So this is one of the very, very, very great wonderful things about this Voice over IP service. You get the whole enterprise class functionality, all the phone lines, everything, it all works but itís all now out in the internet just like Gmail is, just like Hotmail, just like all of those things. You no longer actually have to buy the box for that Voice over IP server.
So this is a brief introduction to the Voice over IP servers. Like I say, we will have more classes so we flesh all of this out. These Voice over IP servers, they can be manufactured by normal companies or companies that you probably heard of like Avaya or Lucent or AT&T of Nortel, Mitel, etc. And those are proprietary Voice over IP servers or IP PBXs. Or they now have new companies out such as Asterisk or itís called sipX. These are free open source Voice over IP servers that basically as long as you know how to install them and set up a computer, you can have a completely free enterprise class Voice over IP server for the cost of a computer that was in the corner collecting dust. So thatís pretty cool.
So these Voice over IP servers, I mean they act like the PBXs that weíve talked about. They route all the communications, they contain the auto attendants, they contain the call trees, they contain the call paths, the hunt groups, et cetera. So they do all the routing that the normal old PBXs did. The difference is, is they communicate using Ethernet and TCP/IP versus the old phone lines that the old PBXs did.
Again, the reason that this is very important is you can have the Voice over IP, PBX, or server inside your building or you can simply pay for the service for somebody else to deal with it. So all these telephones and such will communicate out to that server in the outside world. This is a very, very huge, important thing. And again, like I say, if you want to experiment like when we get to the end of this and you want to experiment with Voice over IP a little bit, not only can you buy servers, again from Avaya and such, but you can buy free completely or I guess not buy that, you can get completely free open source Voice over IP solutions. Again, thereís Asterisk, thereís Switchvox, and thereís something called a sipX. Iíll put links to it at the bottom of this at the end. But this is a Voice over IP server.
So we talked about the Voice over IP server. So we have our VoIP server over here. And remember, this is a server. This is a computer that provides services to other computers on the network. Remember, thatís what a server is. Although people call it like an IP PBX and all that garbage, itís really a server. Itís really Voice over IP server.
So all of your devices or clients because remember, since itís a server clients connect to servers, are going to connect to this Voice over IP server. So whether itís a telephone, whether itís a computer that allows you to make calls, whether itís your little iPhone, whatever it is, if it is a device and itís going to deal with your Voice over IP communications, itís going to go back and itís going to talk to the server.

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