It’s time for a communications upgrade, and you’re considering replacing your legacy copper-wire phone lines with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). While you may have heard that the simplicity of VoIP allows you to plug your phone into the Ethernet jack, there are steps you need to take to prepare your network for the increased volume it will handle.
In addition, the simplicity of VoIP may be complicated by the ways in which the technology can be tailored to your preferences and needs, from infrastructure to end-user options. Your VoIP solution will rely heavily on the network for the quality of voice calls, so it’s important to go through a short but critical checklist to prevent any problems during deployment. Consider these four steps:
Determine how you’ll access the public switched telephone network (PSTN).Your enterprise will handle both on- and off-site telephone calls. On-premises calls access a three- to five-digit extension within the local area network (LAN). Off-premises calls will need to access the PSTN, which can be done either through the internet with a service provider or through session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking. It’s important to note that when accessing the PSTN through the internet, you lose any control over Quality of Service (QoS).
Prepare the LAN. Assessing the condition of the LAN to handle VoIP is all about thoroughput. Identify any areas where bottlenecks could cause congestion issues, and look for speed problems that could introduce jitter or latency. It may be as simple as upgrading to faster links or introducing port aggregation where there’s a bottleneck.
You can also configure end-to-end QoS measures that prioritize voice calls whenever there’s a risk of dropped or delayed packets. Even if you’re simply upgrading your VoIP, it’s a good idea to review the LAN configuration to optimize performance.
Create a plan for branch locations. The biggest determination for your branch locations is deciding what types of connections to use for VoIP. Multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) is reliable, but more costly and time-consuming than a site-to-site virtual private network (VPN). Some enterprises are opting for a software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) approach that allows branches to be quickly configured from a centrally-managed virtual overlay.
Choose features for end users. One of the benefits of VoIP is the wide variety of features available to end users. From video conferencing to digital receptionists and call forwarding, enterprises are able to customize the features to fit exact needs. A VoIP solution basically takes everything that’s available on a desk phone and places it on a smartphone, and adds to it an array of options on top of basic phone functionality.
If you’re preparing your network for VoIP, contact us at AMD Communications. From determining your best option for accessing the PSTN to ensuring you can deploy VoIP easily to a new branch, we can help ensure your VoIP implementation is seamless.