Short for Media Gateway Control Protocol, developed by Telcordia and Level 3 Communications, a control and signal standards to compete with the older H.323 standard for the conversion of audio signals carried on telephone circuits (PSTN ) to data packets carried over the Internet or other packet networks.
The reason new standards are being developed is because of the growing popularity of Voice over IP (VoIP ). Regular phones are relatively inexpensive because they don't need to be complex; they are fixed to a specific switch at a central switching location. IP phones and devices, on the other hand, are not fixed to a specific switch, so they must contain processors that enable them to function and be intelligent on their own, independent from a central switching location. This makes the terminal (phone or device) more complex, and therefore, more expensive. The MGCP is meant to simplify standards for this new technology by eliminating the need for complex, processor-intense IP telephony devices, thus simplifying and lowering the cost of these terminals.