As a follow up to my article on “Are VoIP Phone Systems Reliable”, a major question you have to ask is will your network support these IP telephony solutions? It is a fact that with an IP system you will see savings, increased productivity and more communication flexibility. But this will be futile if your network does not have the capability to support, as needed, the IP structural requirements.
One of the major requirements is having adequate bandwidth to support the IP delivery. This bandwidth depends on the volume of calls, the different functions you want to deploy and of course the codecs required by the IP phones themselves. You need to think and plan for the future of your organization.
A sound network infrastructure must provide the throughput, with proper bandwidth, for meeting issues like latency, jitter and packet loss. Depending on the codecs used, like G.711 each call requires 80k or using compressed codecs G.729 can reduce the required bandwidth to 32k. Latency, the time it takes for a person’s voice to be sent and received properly over the IP network and delivered to the receiving party, plus jitter and packet loss, which result in voice degradation must be addressed prior to system deployment.
Most IP systems have compensated for this and some have patents pending but it imperative to discuss this with your IP vendor so voice quality can be at peak performance.
So ask the questions, how will you be using the system, how many calls are going to be made over the network, will there be remote and secondary sites connected, are there any bandwidth sensitive applications in use like video, data sharing, email, employee browsing issues?
Most companies have a quality switched network. However, old equipment routers, switches, servers may have to be upgraded or replaced. We have found that using VLANs can improve voice quality by separating data requirements over a separate network from the voice demands. It can also improve security. The objective here is to insure the best Quality of Service, QoS, possible by asking the correct questions before deployment. Voice traffic must be given priority over data. We can wait for emails to arrive but not a person’s conversation.
Finally you need to make sure that your carrier providers have a sound Service Level Agreement in place guaranteeing you the services your network demands. Choosing a IP vendor to help you manage all these issues and questions can be critical to the success of a satisfactory IP system being deployed at your firm. They should be willing to offer some kind of network assessment before moving ahead with this kind of installation. Doing this will increase chances for a successful installation and discovery of possible bottlenecks that will cause performance issues in the future.
– Ron Focazio, Senior Partner NovaCom