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This document was born of frustration. The rapid pace of development in both the hardware and the software available for transmitting voice over network has so far out-paced the available documentation that a reasonably competent user faces an enormous barrier to overcome. This barrier is very much an artifice: the technical side is actually fairly straightforward. It is the merging of two very different technical cultures and traditions that is responsible for a dizzying array of terminology and a high initial ``cost'' of this technology.

When I set out to do it, I had a sense of it being close at hand, but had no clue of how to get there. Hopefully, my travelogue will be of use to others.

By necessity, I had to make choices along the way. I do not guarantee that a specific choice of hardware or software that I had made will also work for you. However, I was under very tight budgetary constraints, and so even if you fail, it will not have cost you all that much. But my goal, of course, is to make you succeed!

In this document I deliberately tried to limit the use of jargon, as it seems to be sufficiently different in the two worlds (Internet networking and telephony) to cause no end of grief when one tries to keep one foot in each, a very uncomfortable proposition. Nevertheless, I will assume you know about TCP/IP, LAN/WAN/dial-up, and add a bare minimum of inevitable jargon:

Telephone Company;

Plain Old Telephone Service, the two-wire current loop between your telephone set and the driver circuit at the telco's sub-station;

Voice over IP is a shorthand for all sorts of ways of encoding and transmitting digitized speech-quality audio over the TCP/IP (`Internet') networks;

Private Branch Xchange is from the telephony world. It used to designate a switchboard that large companies had for running their internal telephone network, with several outgoing `trunk lines' to the telco's sub-station. These days, these are almost exclusively digital devices, often running proprietary software and they vary in size from a two-line desktop `small business' model all the way to the same equipment used by the telco itself.

next up previous contents
Next: Linux system used Up: Voice-over-IP Mini-HOWTO Previous: Legal notices
Ed Sternin