Voice over IP (VoIP) is on its way to becoming the dominant means of transmitting telephony conversations. In turn, this move from traditional circuit-switched to packet-switched technology will have a significant impact on those systems used to record such voice communications.
When considering a VoIP recording solution, there are several key points to think about, including:
- Recording must be considered at the design and configuration stage of a VoIP network to ensure that packets can be routed to the recording nodes within the network.
- You require less hardware and much less cabling than circuit switched Recording.
- Recorders can be deployed on industry standard hardware.
- Low capacity recorders will be sold as software-only solutions while higher capacity units will use add-in cards to provide additional compression capability where needed.
- VoIP will facilitate the provision of recording services ‘within the cloud’ which can be offered by the network providers and retrieval of calls will be accessed via browser technology.
- VoIP recording will become just one aspect of overall IP recording solutions.
- VoIP recording will become a standard feature of all VoIP systems…like voice mail.
What is VoIP?
Voice over IP is a means of transmitting speech over a packet-based infrastructure such as the Internet. The continuous stream of bytes representing the audio signals are chopped into (fairly) small packets – each holding, typically, 20 to 30 milliseconds of audio and sent across the data network to their destination. By sending a stream of such packets in each direction, two-way telephony can be achieved.
The technical issues around quality of transmission are not discussed here but obviously the compression algorithms used, the time taken to deliver the packets and the proportion that get through to the far end determine the overall quality of the call. Given the ready availability of bandwidth, the inefficiencies of using IP packets to transmit relatively small payloads can now be largely ignored as the savings in other areas outweigh this.
How Does VoIP Impact Recording Systems?
With a packet-switched network, the speech packets are transmitted over a path determined by the routers and switches in the network. In a complex network with multiple paths, it is difficult to predict where packets will be sent. Successive packets on a given connection can even follow different routes or arrive out of sequence.
Two basic approaches can be taken to record calls in an IP environment:
- “Passive” – in which the recorder attempts to ‘sniff’ or ‘snoop’ the network without any of the parties involved in the call needing to be aware of this.
- “Active” – in which at least one of the parties involved in the call is ensuring that the required data is deliberately sent to the recorder.