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VoIP Hacks by Theodore Wallingford

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Hack #77. Shape Network Traffic to Improve Quality of Service

There's a reason why the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) has been the dominant global voice network for a century: Quality of Service.

VoIP is a wonderful technology. It enables all kinds of features and portability options that are not available with traditional telephony technologies. However, unlike traditional telephony, VoIP has some inherent quality issues. By the time you finish reading this hack, you'll know how to tackle the quality problem with the VoIP engineer's best weapon: the Linux kernel's built-in router.

On the traditional telephone network, every single call has a dedicated time slot using a technology called time division multiplexing (TDM). With TDM, a circuit is divided into several time slots, each with its own dedicated slice of bandwidth. This is what ensures that your call is the only call in that time slot, and that after all of the time slots are used, the circuit is at top capacity and no further calls will be allowed.

With VoIP, your call is converted into thousands of small datagrams (or packets, if you please). These packets are then queued up on a device (your computer, analog telephone adapter [ATA], router, etc.) and thrown out over the wire, with no guarantee that they will even reach their ultimate destination, wherever that might be. You can see how this might cause problems with voice quality, especially when other data traffic on that same link is vying for that link's limited ...

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