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Friday, 28 September 2012

H.323 Border Elements and Peer Elements

Border Elements and Peer Elements are optional entities similar to a Gatekeeper, but that do not manage endpoints directly and provide some services that are not described in the RAS protocol. The role of a border or peer element is understood via the definition of an "administrative domain".
An administrative domain is the collection of all zones that are under the control of a single person or organization, such as a service provider. Within a service provider network there may be hundreds or thousands of gateway devices, telephones, video terminals, or other H.323 network elements. The service provider might arrange devices into "zones" that enable the service provider to best manage all of the devices under its control, such as logical arrangement by city. Taken together, all of the zones within the service provider network would appear to another service provider as an "administrative domain".
The border element is a signaling entity that generally sits at the edge of the administrative domain and communicates with another administrative domain. This communication might include such things as access authorization information; call pricing information; or other important data necessary to enable communication between the two administrative domains.
Peer elements are entities within the administrative domain that, more or less, help to propagate information learned from the border elements throughout the administrative domain. Such architecture is intended to enable large-scale deployments within carrier networks and to enable services such as clearinghouses.
The diagram, figure 2, provides an illustration of an administrative domain with border elements, peer elements, and gatekeepers.

H.323 Network Signaling

H.323 is defined as a binary protocol, which allows for efficient message processing in network elements. The syntax of the protocol is defined in ASN.1 and uses the Packed Encoding Rules (PER) form of message encoding for efficient message encoding on the wire. Below is an overview of the various communication flows in H.323 systems.

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