Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a computer communication protocol which is widely used to control multimedia communication sessions like video and voice calls over a private network or the public Internet. The best example of SIP would be Skype which uses Voice Over IP technology to connect two computers together for video or voice calling.
While Skype and other VOIP software can be used for video and audio communication, it can’t be used in a private network. If you want to setup a SIP server in your network quickly, a good option would be OfficeSIP. The benefit of OfficeSIP server is that it is free and requires minimal configuration to setup completely.
Setting up OfficeSIP
First of all, you will need to download OfficeSIP server. The latest version of OfficeSIP Server is 3.1 but you can always start with the latest 3.3RC build. The installation is quite comfortable and effortless. You will only be given the choice of installation path. Everything otherwise is pretty straight forward.
Once installed, you will need to go to the OfficeSIP server installation directory and run “ControlPanel.exe”. By default, it should be located in “C:\Program Files\OfficeSIP Server”
A word of caution for Windows 8 users: you should not install the SIP server in C:\Program Files\ folder. Choose another drive instead. This is because the OfficeSIP Server does not run with administrative privileges by default so it will not be able to write on the configuration file when you change its settings.
There are a few fields in the control panel of the server which need explaining. The first one is the “Server address”. You can also change the port but it is highly recommended that you keep it as default.
The login and password fields are for controlling the control panel. When you click on the Connect button, the server will start and you will be taken to the user management and configuration window.
Clicking on the “Settings” tab will enable you to configure different settings of the server. If you are using Active Directory in your network, you can let the server pull all the users from the Active Directory and add them as SIP users. Otherwise, leave everything as default.
The user management tab has been named as .csv File which is quite strange. You can click on the .csv File in order to add or remove users from the server.
Once you have added the users, everything is setup and your SIP server is running on the network. To connect using this SIP server, just download the SIP client messenger and install it on the client systems.
OfficeSIP messenger is very similar to any other messaging program. You will need to enter your username and password to sign in. If there are multiple SIP servers running in your network, then you can manually give the IP address of the server you want to connect.
If you are getting error messages similar to “Can not find server, try to specify server address“, you can uncheck the “Find server automatically” checkbox while logging in and specify the Server IP address (which should be localhost if you are testing it on the server).
All the users added to the SIP server will be shown on the messenger window and the online users will get a green icon in front of them. You can text, voice and video call any of the online users easily from the messenger interface.
While OfficeSIP is not the best SIP software out there, it comes in very handy if you want to setup a simple communications server in your network.
What type of communication setup do you have in your network? What are your thoughts about OfficeSIP server?
Image credit: Businessman Dialing On Conference Phone by Big Stock Photo.
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