How SIP works
The telephony system works via a cog and wheel setup. What this means is that
every long distance call you make is routed along a telephone wire to a central
station, where your voice is routed to another central station, which is finally
carried to the person with whom you are trying to communicate. For the call to
be maintained, the entire time you are speaking, a space along all the lines in
between you and the person you are talking with must be completely devoted to
you. Because millions of people are talking at the same time, the little space
along the telephone lines becomes rather desired property. And like all things
desired, the price is high. Before recent innovations, however, there were no
alternatives, so everyone grudgingly paid the often costly long-distance
SIP, or Session Initiation Protocol, has turned the telephony world upside down.
Specifically, SIP refers to a protocol that allows computers to talk to each
other without going through a central station. Practically, what that means for
you and me is that it is no longer necessary to pay for expensive telephone
lines to complete our calls. SIP technology is a relatively new development in
which calls are made on a peer-to-peer rather than cog and wheel network. What
that means, is that you are now able to call people directly from your SIP
enabled phone to theirs. This ends up being radically cheaper than the old way
The SIP system does not require a central computer and operators like the old
telephony system did. Rather, your computer, or SIP enabled phone, does all the
routing for you.
SIP has been around for a number of years, but only recently has it begun to go
mainstream and take off in popularity. This quick increase in interest over SIP
is due to companies like Mobalex, who were aware of the fact that over the
generations we have come to expect certain tones, buttons, and protocols from
our phones. So what they have done is to transpose those functions onto the SIP
system. Rather than forcing users to communicate in a completely new way, what
these companies have done is to provide a calling experience which from the
user's perspective is completely identical to traditional telephony.
SIP is typically offered in two formats, computer based and hardware based.
Computer based SIP is a system that allows you to make calls using your computer
as the router and communicating via a headset on your computer. The more
practical and popular version, however, actually provides you with new SIP
enabled telephone handsets or converts your existing phones to SIP. By
eliminating any technical requirements, modern SIP providers have made using the
system as easy, or easier, than using a traditional phone. I say easier, because
many companies are able to take advantage of the fact that the system is
internet based to provide you with some very unique benefits. These include the
ability to adjust your plan, change your calling options, and even pay your bill
from the same website.
SIP technology is quite revolutionary in the world of communication. By creating
a peer-to-peer network, SIP has been able to radically undercut the prices of
traditional telephony, take advantage of the Internet, and still maintain the
ease of traditional telephony. It is merely a matter of time before we are all
using SIP for all of our telephoning needs.
Author: Jim Sherman