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Category: Encryption Security Solutions | 14/02/2011 - 03:53:53
More Than Simply Telephoning
The introduction of Voice over IP (VoIP) is a common item on today's agenda for modernising telephone infrastructure. Governments in particular are making use of this new form of communication. What makes Voice over IP (VoIP) such an interesting technology? Are economic advantages the primary motivation?
Far from it! Voice over IP (VoIP) offers a number of additional features that conventional telephony does not:
- Best possible use of existing data networks ("IP everywhere") for voice, data, images and video - today and in future.
- Minimised operating costs, as the infrastructure shared by telephony and data communications is maintained and serviced by a single IT team.
- Simple administration, as new connections can be added, changed and removed within minutes world-wide.
- Static services of an existing central office can be optimised with ease using proactive services (e.g. electronic phone directory).
- Virtually unlimited mobility for users.
- Integration in your work processes.
Voice over IP (VoIP)
You derive major advantages from a Voice over IP (VoIP) phone that uses your computer network to transmit voice. IP-capable terminals enable your IP data network to be employed for voice communication instead of just data transmission, as before. Consequently, a separate infrastructure for voice connections becomes obsolete. Telephony service and support can thus be grouped together and simplified by making them part of the regular tasks handled by your IT department. It is obvious that a uniform IP network defined on the basis of standards is more cost-effective than a conventional telephone network. A Voice over IP (VoIP) telephone can be integrated with minimal cost in your work processes to perform a diversity of tasks. You select the number you want with a mouse click. The phone displays the contact data from your computer and informs you of your calendar entries during the call. With the function keys on your IP telephone, you can open doors or manage alarms of all kinds through an application server. You can also install what is a called a "soft phone" (phone software) version of a Voice over IP (VoIP) telephone directly on your PC.
IP Telephony is Not the Same as Internet Telephony
IP telephony can utilise two different communication channels. One is routed over a private IP network, the other over the public Internet.
Voice transmission over your private network (LAN, WAN leased line network) poses tough requirements for the infrastructure. Your IP phone converts your voice into data packets and uses the IP protocol as a means of transporting these packets in the data network. In Voice over IP (VoIP), the recipient must receive the voice data packets quickly and in the correct order so they can be reconverted into voice communication. For this reason, your network must be equipped with VoIP-capable network components. If you have leased line networks, your telecom provider is the one who guarantees you quality of service. Your data network has to have sufficient transmission capacity for your Voice over IP (VoIP) service to be competitive with traditional line-conducted telephony and to meet all quality expectations. With encryption solutions from Crypto AG, your private network can be encrypted at a high security level as a plug-and-play application. If a call is routed over the Internet, you have no influence on the quality of service. The maximum quality achievable today for a Voice over IP (VoIP) call over the Internet is still inadequate for professional applications. Due to data congestion, "choppy" calls are the norm. Despite the rapid spread of Voice over IP (VoIP) services in the Internet by "Skype" and other providers, these offerings are suitable only for users satisfied with low standards of quality. On the question of security, the operation of a maximum-security Voice over IP (VoIP) network for the authorities would require an encryption unit to be physically placed at the premises of the telecom provider, because that is where your call is switched. Anyone aware of security needs can easily see that this approach is infeasible for security reasons.
Choosing Voice over IP (VoIP) does not necessarily mean you have to replace your existing phone infrastructure all at once and make large investments in a new one. Voice over IP (VoIP) can be converted step by step. You can equip new workstations, subentities within your organisation and field offices with new Voice over IP (VoIP) phones and use a gateway to connect them easily with the existing central office at your headquarters. But you can also continue using the existing telephone infrastructure in the process. That offers a number of advantages to you: Users require no special training and so any qualms they might otherwise have had about using new Voice over IP (VoIP) systems are eliminated from the outset. Moreover, data networks have much shorter depreciation periods than telephone infrastructures. If you are planning an installation in a new building, a strictly IP solution offers the greatest potential for savings. It allows you to dispense with separate voice communication cabling for the building. Your data network transports your voice communications (VoIP), your data, your fax transmissions (Fax over IP) and your multimedia applications (Video over IP). A gateway serves as your interface with the world of public switched telephone networks (PSTN). The use of Voice over IP (VoIP) blurs the line between telephony and informatics.
What are the Inherent Risks of Voice over IP (VoIP)?
Telephones are still the main link with the world for most public authorities and governments. With telephony developing at such a fast pace, it is important to be aware at all times of the threats that Voice over IP (VoIP) can pose. Anyone who combines telephony with IT also combines its security gaps and multiplies the risks involved! Voice over IP (VoIP) communication is based on the use of open IT standards. This very fact invites hackers to their damaging and unwanted mischief.
Hackers record calls as audio files to listen to them later. They reroute calls or conduct them under false identities, generate false engaged tones or switch manipulated waiting queues. Damaging programs for these purposes can easily be found on the Internet and downloaded by anyone for free. It is therefore essential that anyone who has planned or is planning to use Voice over IP (VoIP) has to devise a security plan.