When selecting a communication system for your business, you have probably come across VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and the benefits of using cloud communication platforms. Now you may wonder -- how does VoIP work and what goes behind the desk phone or the smartphone app?

Understanding how VoIP works can help you become more informed when selecting a cloud communication solution. Here's what you should know about VoIP architecture and networking:

What's VoIP Architecture?

VoIP architecture describes how the various components on a VoIP platform are connected to deliver functions such as:

  • Signaling: allows the various devices in the network to communicate with each other. It's needed for all voice calls and call activation.
  • Database services: locate endpoints (e.g., smartphone) via IP addresses, generate reports for billing, and implement security functions.
  • Call connect and disconnect: connect two or more endpoints with a multimedia stream (e.g., video and/or audio,) which is transmitted in real-time. VoIP protocols are responsible for connecting and disconnecting the calls, as well as defining the parameters for the sessions.

CODEC operations: convert analog signals (i.e., human voice) to digital packets that can be "transported" between endpoints via IP, and vice versa. The CODEC can be adjusted to meet different criteria, such as optimizing transportation efficiency, maximizing audio quality, or minimizing bandwidth consumption.

For a VoIP architecture to function properly, it needs to include the following components:

Signaling Gateway Controller (SGC): often known as the "called agent" thanks to its call control function. It's the heart of a VoIP platform and responsible for connecting conventional analog call services with digital voice calls. Some of the key functions of an SGC include supporting signaling, system, voice or media call control protocols, media connection allocation, and bandwidth policing mechanisms. It also generates call records and provides bandwidth management control.

  • Media Gateway: responsible for the transmission of voice packets and functions such as packetization, the transmission of voice data using RTP, supporting various trunking and compression algorithms, and managing digital processing resources.
  • Media Server: allows the use of additional features such as voice mail or video calls. It's used for functions including voice-activated dialing, voicemail function, transmission of customized call progress tones, delivery of special service announcements, transcription of voicemail to email, and supporting Interactive Voice Response (IVR.)
  • Application server: provides value-added customer-specific and global services such as call forwarding, call waiting, call transfer, private dialing plans, call detail record generation, and free phone service to the IP network.
  • IP PBX: handles the control or set up of calls and routes network traffic flows. It's the main control centre for any VoIP implementation and in most cases, software-based.
  • Endpoint devices: refers to either hardware devices or software applications for handling VoIP calling functionalities. For example, IP desk phones or apps that can be downloaded to desktop computers or smartphones. Calls can be made between different types of endpoint devices.
  • IP network: connects all the various components of the VoIP platform and allows the voice data packets to travel between the sources and the destination. It can also distinguish and prioritize data and voice packets, for example, voice data is sensitive to time delays so optimization is required to minimize service disruption.

What's a VoIP Connection Diagram?

The various VoIP features and the components required for them to function properly can become overwhelming at times. To help visualize how a network should be configured for optimal performance, engineers create VoIP connection diagrams to illustrate the structure of a system.

Here's an example of a VoIP architecture and connection diagram:

VoIP architecture diagram

Image source

A typical VoIP connection diagram illustrates the kind of servers involved, how the various components are connected, the method of connection, the security measures required, and the endpoint devices.

Since most VoIP platforms are cloud-based, the network configuration is the responsibility of your cloud-communication provider to ensure that the service is reliable, functioning optimally, and compliant with specific industry security guidelines.

When it comes to VoIP, 8x8 provides a reliable and compliant cloud solution at a demanding level rarely seen by other cloud providers. Don't take your chances with a subpar cloud-based telecom system. Call 1-855-874-9423 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.


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