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Media Gateway Control Protocol or MGCP is the usual set of protocols that are utilized during a live session in a multimedia conference. The protocols help to set the standards for any type of voice or visual activity that takes place during the conference. At the same time, some aspects of Media Gateway Control Protocol also aid in the recording of the audio and visual activity during the multimedia conference, making it possible to archive the entire event for replay at a later date.
The key to the function of Media Gateway Control Protocol has to do with overseeing the signaling process and allowing the host to manage the multimedia session effectively. In order to accomplish these tasks, the protocol will control the communication process between the media gateway that helps to convert data into packets and the gateway controller that is found at the point of termination. This conversion process makes it possible to convert the packets from signals received from a circuit switched network and allow the software driving the conference session to easily digest and translate the data into a usable format. Today, the typical gateway controller can control a number of gateways, which means participants in the conference can be involved using any number of different communication devices.
In structure, Media Gateway Control Protocol owes a great deal to two pre-existing protocols. Elements of both Internet Protocol Device Control and Simple Gateway Control Protocol are found in the mix for MGCP. What is a little different is that with Media Gateway Control Protocol, the structure of the master-slave relationship places the control firmly with the media gateway controller.
Enhanced versions of Media Gateway Control Protocol are usually referred to as Megaco or H.248. With the expanded use of the Internet on hand held devices, and the increasing reliance of many businesses on web based conferencing sessions to hold meetings, these enhanced versions are especially important, as they make it possible for more ports to be processed per gateway. Using Media Gateway Control Protocol, it is conceivable to hold an interactive web based conference that includes thousands of individual connections to the meeting.