Video Conference Gatekeeper is a program that controls the access to video conferences, routing and call/voice stream processing. It usually operates under the H.323 standard. Video conference gatekeeper determines the degree of network channel loading, and accordingly, may temporarily deny access or limit the possible number of connections available.

All terminals, gateways, LAN segments, as well as hardware video conferencing servers (MCU Server), which are controlled by a gatekeeper are called the zone. The gatekeeper also provides interoperability and address translation with other Gatekeepers in the network, keeps a record of traffic, duration and type of calls (incoming or outgoing), provides authentication and user authorization.

A H.323 Gatekeeper serves the purpose of Call Admission Control and translation services from E.164 IDs (commonly a phone number) to IP addresses in an H.323 telephony network. Gatekeepers can be combined with a gateway function to proxy H.323 calls and are sometimes referred to as Session Border Controllers. A gatekeeper can also deny access or limit the number of simultaneous connections to prevent network congestion.

H.323 endpoints are not required to register with a gatekeeper to be able to place point to point calls, but they are essential for any serious H.323 network to control call prefix routing and link capacities among other functions.

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