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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

H.323 is an umbrella recommendation from the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) that defines the protocols to provide audio-visual communication sessions on any packet network. It is widely implemented by voice and videoconferencing equipment manufacturers, is used within various Internet real-time applications such as NetMeeting and Ekiga, and is widely deployed worldwide by service providers and enterprises for both voice and video services over Internet Protocol (IP) networks. It is a part of the ITU-T H.32x series of protocols, which also address multimedia communications over Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), Public switched telephone network (PSTN) or Signaling System 7 (SS7), and 3G mobile networks.


The first version of H.323 was published by the ITU in November 1996 with an emphasis of enabling videoconferencing capabilities over a Local Area Network (LAN), but was quickly adopted by the industry as a means of transmitting voice communication over IP networks (see VoIP).

One strength of H.323 was the relatively early availability of a set of standards, not only defining the basic call model, but also the supplementary services needed to address business communication expectations. H.323 was the first VoIP standard to adopt the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) to transport audio and video over IP networks.

H.323 call signaling is based on the ITU-T Recommendation Q.931 protocol and is suited for transmitting calls across networks using a mixture of IP, PSTN, ISDN, and QSIG over ISDN. A call model, similar to the ISDN call model, eases the introduction of IP telephony into existing networks of ISDN-based PBX systems, including transitions to IP-based Private Branch eXchanges (PBXs).

Within the context of H.323, an IP-based PBX might be an H.323 Gatekeeper or other call control element that provides service to telephones or videophones. Such a device may provide or facilitate both basic services and supplementary services, such as call transfer, park, pick-up, and hold.

Over the years, H.323 has been revised and re-published with enhancements necessary to better-enable both voice and video functionality over packet-switched networks, with each version being backward-compatible with the previous version. Recognizing that H.323 was being used for communication, not only on LANs, but over WANs and within large carrier networks, the title of H.323 was changed when published in 1998. The title, which has since remained unchanged, is "Packet-Based Multimedia Communications Systems." The current version of H.323, commonly referred to as "H.323v6", was published in 2006. [Continue Reading and Links At]:


OpenH323 Project

The OpenH323 project aims to create a full featured, interoperable, Open Source implementation of the ITU-T H.323 teleconferencing protocol that can be used by personal developers and commercial users without charge.

OpenH323 development is coordinated by Quicknet Technologies Inc. but is open to any interested party. Commercial and private use of the OpenH323 code, including use in commercial products and resale, is encouraged through use of the MPL (Mozilla Public license).


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