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A New Way to Communicate
Person-To-Person Communication is the the new way of communication. Internet started as a defense, research, and university network. There are two applications that have spread the Internet usage to almost all companies and persons in the world: e-mail and Web surfing. However, these applications do not direct real-time communication between individuals, a capability that is becoming highly useful as more and more individuals have broadband or a fixed connection to the Internet.

Therefore, the next big step of Internet usage will include person-to-person communication such as:
  • Voice (of which IP telephony is but one component)
  • Video
  • Presence
  • Instant Messaging
  • Conferencing with voice, video and data collaboration, and more…

Several forms of person-to-person communication over the Internet have already been in use for a few years. However, it is just now, when a general standard has been established, that these types of applications will become more available and more widely used. SIP is the Internet standard for such applications and currently has a strongly accelerating growth. 

SIP brings us a lot more then just IP telephony...

A powerful driving force for SIP is that Microsoft has announced that all future real time communication (RTC) will be based on the SIP standard. Windows Messenger, which can be downloaded at no charge, already has a SIP mode that provides the user with telephony, voice, video, presence, and instant messaging. And, Microsoft has recently launched the Windows Real Time Communications Server 2003. It includes a SIP server for safe enterprise usage and a programming API, which is expected to result in numerous SIP applications. With the market impact of Microsoft, there could easily be tens of millions of SIP users.

IP Telephony – Just One Part

SIP is also used for “ordinary telephony,” i.e., voice with 3 kHz bandwidth and common number dialing, over IP networks. For this application, the SIP standard is taking over from the earlier H.323, which is a protocol from the standardisation organisation of the telecom world, the ITU-T. H.323 has been used to build islands of VoIP, but most often without interoperability on the IP level between the different operators. Another protocol is MGCP, or the related H.248/MEGACO, that sometimes is used to control IP phones on a low level in order for operators to connect these to the old telephone network, the PSTN.

It should be noted that IP telephony - where ordinary telephony is emulated over IP - is only a small part of person-to-person communication for which SIP was created. Real time person-to-person communication is expected to be the next big step in Internet usage following e-mail and Web surfing.

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