Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a general term for a family of transmission technologies for delivery of voice communications over IP networks such as the Internet or other packet-switched networks. Other terms frequently encountered and synonymous with VoIP are IP telephony, Internet telephony, voice over broadband (VoBB), broadband telephony, and broadband phone.
Internet telephony refers to communications services — voice, facsimile, and/or voice-messaging applications — that are transported via the Internet, rather than the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The basic steps involved in originating an Internet telephone call are conversion of the analog voice signal to digital format and compression/translation of the signal into Internet protocol (IP) packets for transmission over the Internet; the process is reversed at the receiving end.
VoIP systems employ session control protocols to control the set-up and tear-down of calls as well as audio codecs which encode speech allowing transmission over an IP network as digital audio via an audio stream. Codec use is varied between different implementations of VoIP (and often a range of codecs are used); some implementations rely on narrowband and compressed speech, while others support high fidelity stereo codecs.
Speech is the vocalized form of human communication. It is based upon the syntactic combination of lexicals and names that are drawn from very large (usually >10,000 different words) vocabularies. Each spoken word is created out of the phonetic combination of a limited set of vowel and consonant speech sound units. These vocabularies, the syntax which structures them, and their set of speech sound units, differ creating the existence of many thousands of different types of mutually unintelligible human languages. Human speakers are often polyglot able to communicate in two or more of them. The vocal abilities that enable humans to produce speech also provide humans with the ability to sing.
A gestural form of human communication exists for the deaf in the form of sign language. Speech in some cultures has become the basis of a written language, often one that differs in its vocabulary, syntax and phonetics from its associated spoken one, a situation called diglossia. Speech in addition to its use in communication, it is suggested by some psychologists such as Vygotsky is internally used by mental processes to enhance and organize cognition in the form of an interior monologue.
Speech is researched in terms of the speech production and speech perception of the sounds used in spoken language. Several academic disciplines study these including acoustics, psychology, speech pathology, linguistics, cognitive science, communication studies, otolaryngology and computer science. Another area of research is how the human brain in its different areas such as the Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area underlies speech.
It is controversial how far human speech is unique in that other animals also communicate with vocalizations. While none in the wild uses syntax nor compatibly large vocabularies, research upon the nonverbal abilities of language trained apes such as Washoe and Kanzi raises the possibility that they might have these capabilities.
The origins of speech are unknown and subject to much debate and speculation.
The Internet Protocol (IP) is a protocol used for communicating data across a packet-switched internetwork using the Internet Protocol Suite, also referred to as TCP/IP.
IP is the primary protocol in the Internet Layer of the Internet Protocol Suite and has the task of delivering distinguished protocol datagrams (packets) from the source host to the destination host solely based on their addresses. For this purpose the Internet Protocol defines addressing methods and structures for datagram encapsulation. The first major version of addressing structure, now referred to as Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) is still the dominant protocol of the Internet, although the successor, Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) is being deployed actively worldwide.
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standardized Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) to serve billions of users worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private and public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope that are linked by copper wires, fiber-optic communication cables, wireless connections, and other technologies. The Internet carries a vast array of information resources and services, most notably the inter-linked hypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW) and the infrastructure to support electronic mail. In addition it supports popular services such as online chat, file transfer and file sharing, gaming, commerce, social networking, publishing, video on demand, and teleconferencing and telecommunications. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications allow person-to-person communication via voice and video.
The origins of the Internet reach back to the 1960s when the United States funded research projects of its military agencies to build robust, fault-tolerant and distributed computer networks. This research and a period of civilian funding of a new U.S. backbone by the National Science Foundation spawned worldwide participation in the development of new networking technologies and led to the commercialization of an international network in the mid 1990s, and resulted in the following popularization of countless applications in virtually every aspect of modern human life. As of 2009, an estimated quarter of Earth’s population uses the services of the Internet.
Packet switching is a digital network communications method that groups all transmitted data, irrespective of content, type, or structure into suitably-sized blocks, called packets. The network over which packets are transmitted is a shared network which routes each packet independently from all others and allocates transmission resources as needed. The principal goals of packet switching are to optimize utilization of available link capacity, minimise response times and increase the robustness of communication. When traversing network adapters, switches and other network nodes, packets are buffered and queued, resulting in variable delay and throughput, depending on the traffic load in the network.
Network resources are managed by statistical multiplexing or dynamic bandwidth allocation in which a physical communication channel is effectively divided into an arbitrary number of logical variable-bit-rate channels or data streams. Each logical stream consists of a sequence of packets, which normally are forwarded by a network node asynchronously using first-in, first-out buffering. Alternatively, the packets may be forwarded according to some scheduling discipline for fair queuing or for differentiated or guaranteed quality of service, such as pipeline forwarding or time-driven priority (TDP). Any buffering introduces varying latency and throughput in transmission. In case of a shared physical medium, the packets may be delivered according to some packet-mode multiple access scheme.
Packet switching contrasts with another principal networking paradigm, circuit switching, a method which sets up a specific circuit with a limited number dedicated connection of constant bit rate and constant delay between nodes for exclusive use during the communication session.
Packet mode (or packet-oriented, packet-based) communication may be utilized with or without intermediate forwarding nodes (packet switches).
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