Skip to Main Content
Cost savings and the ease of developing and adding new services have motivated great interest in Internet telephony, which integrates services provided by the Internet with the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Internet telephony relies on several protocols, including the real-time transport protocol (RTP) for multimedia data transport and the session initiation protocol (SIP) or H.323 for establishing and controlling sessions. SIP can integrate with other Internet services, such as email, the Web, voice mail, instant messaging, conference calling, and multimedia collaboration. We have implemented a SIP-based software suite called the Columbia Internet extensible multimedia architecture (Cinema), which we installed and integrated with the existing private branch exchange (PBX) infrastructure in the computer science department at Columbia University. The Cinema environment provides interoperability with the PSTN, programmable Internet telephony services, and IP-based voice mail. It also integrates Web access and e-mail for unified messaging and supports multiparty multimedia conferencing. The setup lets us extend our PBX capacity and will eventually let us replace it while keeping our existing phone numbers. It also provides an environment in which we can easily add new services and features, including interoperation with existing multimedia tools, e-mail access from standard. telephones, network appliance control, and instant messaging support.