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: