Let’s Simply SIP

SIP or Session Initiation Protocol is a signaling protocol used for setting up sessions in an IP network.  A session may be as simple as a two-way telephone call or as jointed as a multi-media conference session.

Over the last few years, the VoIP (Voice over IP) population has taken on SIP as its protocol of choice.  SIP is an RFC standard (RFC 3261) from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), which is the organization in charge of the control and development of the machine that comprises the Internet.

SIP is a request-response protocol that acts similarly like two other Internet protocols, HTTP and SMTP.  These two protocols power the World Wide Web and the email system.  So, SIP mingles contentedly with internet applications and can be used to build connected voice (and multimedia) services.

SIP has become a robust force which is influencing today’s telecom industry. But SIP does not do everything, and it does not solve all problems. SIP has limits, but it works well with other protocols to get a job done.

SIP is hardly a cure-all and was never designed to be.  SIP is flexible and sticks to doing what it does best.

Plays Nice in the Sandbox

SIPs role is to help session creators deliver invitations to potential session participants wherever they may be.

SIP was modeled after HTTP, using URLs for addressing and SDP to convey session information.

SIP was designed so that it would be easy to attach SIP functions to existing protocols and applications, such as e-mail and Web browsers. It does this by limiting itself to a component values system and focusing on a specific set of functions.

SIP is, however, an important piece to IP telephony protocols and has four functions that work with existing and future IP telephony:

  1. SIP allows for the establishment of user location (i.e. translating from a user’s name to their current network address).
  2. SIP provides feature cooperation so that all of the people in a session can agree on what is to be supported among them.
  3. SIP is a device for call management – adding, dropping, or transferring participants.
  4. And finally SIP allows for changing features of a session while it is in progress.

SIP is not a session description protocol; SIP does not do conference control; SIP is not a source reservation protocol and it has nothing to do with quality of service (QoS).

SIP is an important protocol which is becoming widely deployed. SIP delivers a voice over IP network into a true IP communications network capable of delivering next generation converged services. SIP is powerful, but simple. But that power comes from doing what it does best, and playing nicely with other protocols in the converged protocol sandbox.

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3 Responses to “Let’s Simply SIP”

  1. Denita Pace says:

    Thanks for the info, been looking everywhere for information on this.

  2. Stumbled into this site by chance but I’m sure glad I clicked on that link. You definitely answered all the questions I’ve been dying to answer for some time now. Will definitely come back for more of this. Thank you so much

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