With all of the discussion about VoIP among businesses, it can be easy to get lost in the details. While you may have already explored the benefits of VoIP and understand how it works, there may be some terms that are still confusing you. For example, as you discuss your VoIP phone system with your tech department or research VoIP systems online, you may see the acronyms TCP and UDP quite a bit. There’s no need to scratch your head any longer because we are going to discuss four common protocols in VoIP and explain how they affect your system.

What’s A VoIP Protocol?

Just in case you need a refresher, VoIP works by sending data packets over the internet, instead of landlines. In this context, the word protocol simply refers to the rules that determine how computers communicate with each other.


The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) can be described as an improvement in initiating and terminating multimedia sessions. By These “multimedia” sessions include internet telephony (similar to VoIP), video conferencing, and other forms of unified communications. It is not a communication service, but a protocol or set of rules for defining how communication sessions are initiated and terminated.


The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is concerned with preserving the integrity of your data, ensuring that no information is lost or missed as it travels from the server to your computer. First, data packets are transmitted from Server A to Server B. After receiving the packets. Server B sends Server A an “acknowledgement”, signifying that the packet arrived intact. If there are any delays or issues with the “acknowledgement” receipt, Server A will resend the information to Server B, Because TCP checks for errors and issues with the packet, it is helpful in scenarios that require error-free communication and data integrity, like email or file transfer.


The User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is primarily concerned with your data’s transmission speed. Instead, of the “acknowledgement” process in TCP, servers utilizing UDP will just send data packets, one right after another. While there is a check for errors, if an error is discovered, there are no attempts made to “recover” the lost data. There are also no ‘callbacks” to verify that a packet has been received, instead, once Server A sends a packet to Server B, it will continue to send data packets. Because UDP is less focused on data integrity and more on the speed of data transmission, it is appropriate in scenarios like live broadcasts and online games.


The Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) is a protocol that defines the management of real-time transmission of multimedia over a network. It is sometimes combined with a control protocol (called RTCP in this case) to enable to monitoring of large-scale data delivery to multiple users. It can be used to detect packet loss and compensate for jitter delay during transmission. Generally, RTP is configured with UDP since there is less risk of packet loss. Using RTP with UDP also allows packets to transport more data, efficiently utilizing bandwidth and providing fast data transmission.

We are Your Partner in Business Communications

FatPBX is dedicated to providing businesses with the tools they need to successfully communicate with their clients, in either B2B or B2C relationships. Our communication solutions are designed to be simple for you to use and incorporate into your business. This means you can focus on your business activities while we handle all of the technical stuff in the background. If you’re serious about taking your company’s communication to the next level, get in touch with us!