As a follow-up to my article on “Are VoIP Phone Systems Reliable”, an important question to ask is whether your network will support these IP telephony solutions? The fact is that with an IP system you will see savings, increased productivity and greater communication flexibility. But this is pointless if your network is unable to support the structural IP requirements if necessary.
One of the most important requirements is to have enough bandwidth to support IP delivery. This bandwidth depends on the number of calls, the different functions you want to use and of course the codecs that the IP telephones themselves need. You need to think and plan for the future of your organization.
A solid network infrastructure must provide the throughput, with the correct bandwidth, to meet such things as latency, jitter, and packet loss. Depending on the codecs used, such as G.711, each call requires 80k or using compressed codecs, G.729 can reduce the required bandwidth to 32k. Latency, the time it takes to properly send and receive a person’s voice over the IP network and deliver it to the receiving party, plus jitter and packet loss, resulting in voice degradation must be addressed before the system is deployed.
Most IP systems have compensated for this, and some have applied for patents, but it is imperative to discuss this with your IP provider in order for the voice quality to perform optimally.
So ask the questions, how will you use the system, how many calls will be made over the network, will external and secondary sites be connected, are there bandwidth sensitive applications in use such as video, data exchange, email, browsing problems? employees?
Most companies have a high-quality switched network. However, old equipment routers, switches, and servers may need 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 speech requirements. It can also improve security. The goal here is to ensure the best possible Quality of Service, QoS, by asking the right questions before implementation. Voice traffic must take precedence over data. We can wait for emails, but not for someone’s conversation.
Finally, you need to ensure that your network providers have a good Service Level Agreement that guarantees you the services your network needs. Choosing an IP provider to help you manage all these issues and questions can be critical to the success of a satisfactory IP system deployed at your business. They must be willing to provide some sort of network assessment before proceeding with this type of installation. Doing so increases the chances of a successful installation and discovery of potential bottlenecks that will cause performance issues in the future.
– Ron Focazio, Senior Partner NovaCom