The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) standard was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). RFC 2543 was released in March 1999. RFC 3261 was released in June 2002. SIP is a signaling protocol for initiating, managing and terminating sessions. SIP supports ‘presence’ and mobility and can run over User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).
Using SIP, a VoIP client can initiate and terminate call sessions, invite members into a conferencing session, and perform other telephony tasks. SIP also enables Private Branch Exchanges (PBXs), VoIP gateways, and other communications devices to communicate in standardized collaboration. SIP was also designed to avoid the heavy overhead of H.323.
A SIP network is composed of the following logical entities:
User Agent (UA) - Initiates, receives and terminates calls.
Proxy Server - Acts on behalf of UA in forwarding or responding to requests. A Proxy Server can fork requests to multiple servers. A back-to-back user agent (B2BUA) is a type of Proxy Server that treats each leg of a call passing through it as two distinct SIP call sessions: one between it and the calling phone and the other between it and the called phone. Other Proxy Servers treat all legs of the same call as a single SIP call session.
Redirect Server - Responds to request but does not forward requests.
Registration Server - Handles UA authentication and registration.