How do media servers differ from media gateways?

Expert Carrie Higbie explains how media servers differ from media gateways and how media servers are useful in video and voice environments.

Can you explain what a media server is and how it relates to or differs from a media gateway? What are media servers used for, and how would they be useful in an environment running voice or video?

A media server stores and provides videos or voice to end users. A media gateway is a device that provides protocol translation services to control how the content is delivered to end users. Media servers are a very effective way of distributing voice and video. Depending on how the servers and the network are configured, both media gateways and servers may be required to distribute voice and video.

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Probably the easiest example to understand is a service like Netflix. Netflix has many media servers that store movies and television shows for its users. A gateway may change the protocol to deliver the media to users based on their network, end device and capabilities at both ends. This sets up a session so users can view the media stream.

Learn more about media servers and gateways:

  • What are media gateways and how do other support protocols work? Learn how media gateways support VoIP networks.
  • What is a VoIP media gateway? Listen to this podcast to learn everything you need to know about VoIP media gateways, including their four protocols and how they work.
  • Breaking down radio configuration parameters in 3G networks: Learn how media gateways handle calls in 3G networks.

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