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7. Setup

In this chapter we try to setup VoIP system, simple at first, then more and more complex.

7.1 Simple communication: IP to IP

       A (Sound card)   -  -  -    B (Sound card)     -  -  -

      calls and viceversa.

A and B should have

  1. an application like Microsoft Netmeeting, Internet Switchboard, Openh323 (under Windows environment) or Ohphone, Gnomemeeting (under Linux), installed and properly configured.
  2. a network card or other kind of TCP/IP interface to talk each other.

In this kind of view A can make a H323 call to B (if B has server side application active) using B IP address. Then B can answer to it if it wants. After accepting call, VoIP data packets start to flow.

7.2 Using names

Under Microsoft Windows a NetBIOS name can be used instead of an IP address.

          A            -  -  -             B       -  -  -
        John           -  -  -           Alice

                    John calls Alice.

This is possible cause John call request to Alice is converted to IP calling by the NetBIOS protocol.

The above 2 examples are very easy to implement but aren't scalable.

In a more big view such as Internet it is impossible to use direct calling cause, usually, the callers don't know the destination IP address. Furthermore NetBIOS naming feature cannot work cause it uses broadcast messages, which typically don't pass ISP routers .

You can also use DNS to solve name in IP address: for example you can call ''''.

7.3 Internet calling using a WINS server

The NetBIOS name calling idea can be implemented also in a Internet environment, using a WINS server: NetBIOS clients can be configured to use a WINS server to resolve names.

PCs using the same WINS server will be able to make direct calling between them.

A (WINS Server is S) - - - - I  - - - -  B (WINS Server is S)
                             E  - - - - -   S (WINS Server)   
C (WINS Server is S) - - - - R  
                             E  - - - -  D (WINS Server is S)
                   Internet communication

A, B, C and D are in different subnets, but they can call each other in a NetBIOS name calling fashion. The needed is that all are using S as WINS Server.

Note: WINS server hasn't very high performance cause it use NetBIOS feature and should only be used for joining few subnets.

7.4 ILS server

ILS is a kind of server which allows you to solve your name during an H323 calling: when you start VoIP application you first register to ILS server using a name, then everyone will be able to see you using that name (if he uses same Server ILS!).

7.5 A big problem: the masquering.

A problem of few IPs is commonly solved using the so called masquering (also NAT, network address translation): there is only 1 IP public address (that Internet can directly "see"), the others machines are "masqueraded" using all this IP.

           A  - - -

           B  - - -   Router with NAT  - - -  Internet

           C  - - -
                       This doesn't work

In the example A,B and C can navigate, pinging, using mail and news services with Internet people, but they CANNOT make a VoIP call. This because H323 protocol send IP address at application level, so the answer will never arrive to source (that is using a private IP address).


           A  - - -   Router with NAT 
           B  - - -         +           - - -  Internet

           C  - - -  ip_masq_h323 module
                         This works

           A  - - -   
           B  - - -    PhonePatch   - - -  Internet

           C  - - -  
                         This works

7.6 Open Source applications

Ohphone Sintax

Sintax is:

"ohphone -l|--listen [options]"

"ohphone [options]... address"

Also, when you start ohphone, you can give command to the interpreter directly (like decrease AEC, Automatic Echo Cancellation).


Gnomemeeting is an application using GUI interface to make call using VoIP. It is very simple to use and allows you to use ILS server, chat and other things.

7.7 Setting up a gatekeeper

You can also experiment gatekeeper feature

        (Terminal H323) A  - - -    
        (Terminal H323) B  - -  - D (Gatekeeper)
        (Terminal H323) C  - - -  
                   Gatekeeper configuration

  1. Hosts A,B and C have gatekeeper setting to point to D.
  2. At start time each host tells D own address and own name (also with aliases) which could be used by a caller to reach it.
  3. When a terminal asks D for an host, D answers with right IP address, so communication can be established.

We have to notice that the Gatekeeper is able only to solve name in IP address, it couldn't join hosts that aren't reachable each other (at IP level), in other words it couldn't act as a NAT router.

You can find gatekeeper code here: openh323 library is also required.

Program has only to be launch with -d (as daemon) or -x (execute) parameter.

In addition you can use a config file (.ini) you find here.

7.8 Setting up a gateway

As we said, gateway is an entity that can join VoIP to PSTN lines allowing us to made call from Internet to a classic telephone. So, in addition, we need a card that could manage PSTN lines: Quicknet LineJack does it.

From OpenH323 web site we download:

  1. driver for Linejack
  2. PSTNGw application to create our gateway.

If executable doesn't work you need to download source code and openh323 library, then install all in a home user directory.

After that you only need to launch PSTNGw to start your H323 gateway.

7.9 Compatibility Matrix

First Matrix refers to:

  1. Software intercommunications (i.e. Netmeeting with SwitchBoard)
  2. Software/Driver/Hardware talking (i.e. Netmeeting can use a PhoneJACK card).

|            | Netmeeting |SwitchBoard |  Simph323  |  OhPhone   | LinPhone    |Speak-Freely|HW PhoneJACK|HW LineJACK |
| Netmeeting |      V            V            V           V             X            X            V            V            
|SwitchBoard |      V            V            V           V             X            X            V            V            
|  Simph323  |      V            V            V           V             X            X            X            X                   
|  OhPhone   |      V            V            V           V             X            X            V            V            
| LinPhone   |      X            X            X           X             V            X            X            X            
|SpeakFreely |      X            X            X           X             X            V            X            X
|HW PhoneJACK|      V            V            X           V             X            X            _            _  
|HW LineJACK |      V            V            X           V             X            X            _            _

Second Matrix refers to Gateway softwares that manage LineJACK card.

|              |HW LineJACK GW| SwitchBoard  |    PSTNGW    |
|HW LineJACK GW|      _       |      V       |       V      |
| SwitchBoard  |      V       |      _       |       _      |
|    PSTNGW    |      V       |      _       |       _      |  


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