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VoIP Gateway Tutorial

Updated on October 14, 2010

Network Integration

For new technologies to be effective, one of the most important things to consider is the transition phase. For history has shown that people's inertia tends to resist any change even if it's for the better. When it comes to VoIP, it's clear that it's a superior technology and yet people are so invested in the old way of doing things that VoIP is doomed to failure unless it can gracefully interact with the entrenched PSTN systems.

People who've used VoIP systems know that when calls are placed from Skype to Skype users, it's free. This makes sense since the data travels solely over the Internet and is free just like sending an email message. Unfortunately, as of now most people don't use VoIP and so you have to connect to a person over the PSTN network.

This means that the two systems - Internet and PSTN need to be integrated with each other and the device that performs this integration is called a VoIP Gateway.

Gateway between two systems
Gateway between two systems

Understanding the VoIP Gateway

There are many different functions of a VoIP gateway, but they will be found wherever the digital VoIP data needs to get converted into an analog form for transfer onto a PSTN network. It works both ways and converts PSTN analog voice data into IP form as well.

There are a lot of associated functions that need to be carried out by a Gateway such as negotiating and applying a codec if converting into digital and decompressing if converting to analog. In addition, tasks such as packetization, and call routing also need to be taken care of.

Also, complex VoIP gateways perform many additional tasks that assist businesses. For example, a business might need to monitor the telephone calls that arrive and depart from its premises and the gateway can keep a record and some can also go one step further and calculate the costs of the outgoing PSTN connections. It can integrate into your financial systems to provide up to date information on what the expenses are.

There are many companies that sell VoIP gateways and it's one of the most diverse pieces of hardware on the market. You'll need to select on that suits your needs. They can also addres Small Business Mobile VoIP users who are becoming an increasingly important part of the VoIP base.

Hosted PBX systems of course don't require the users themselves to have a VoIP gateway, but you can be sure that one is being used somewhere!


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