Ensuring Network Readiness for VoIP

Changing to VoIP requires careful consideration of your network capacity. Network reliability is critical for VoIP.

Many small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) are motivated by cost and effectiveness to move from plain old telephone service (POTS) to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). While this move usually introduces measurable cost savings and communication streamlining, these benefits are often offset by headaches related to network speed and capacity.

By taking a few preliminary steps, you can ensure your network is ready for VoIP and make the most of the benefits that come with the transition:

Conduct an evaluation of the wide area network (WAN): You need to determine the amount of bandwidth you’ll consume based on the number of VoIP clients, or phones. Estimate the number of concurrent calls that will be made, in addition to the other applications that require bandwidth. You should also consider the type of connection and determine whether a T1 fiber or coax cable connection might be a good choice and partner with a business-level provider for internet.

Evaluate the network infrastructure, and determine if any equipment needs replacing: When it comes to VoIP, speed isn’t everything. You also need superior reliability, which means it may be time to invest in a better router or upgrade your switching gear. These are the two main areas where performance can be significantly impacted, and if you decide to replace the equipment, it’s a good idea to prioritize quality over price.

Use a virtual local area network (VLAN): When you have different types of traffic competing for bandwidth, it’s good to segment items that require heavy bandwidth, like video, from others that require more priority, like VoIP. Setting up a VLAN allows you to segment traffic that is sensitive to network delays, giving you a way to protect voice transmissions from latency, dropped calls, or jitter.

Get bigger than PoE: Power over Ethernet provides power to the device over the same wire through which internet connectivity is established, and it’s ideal for VoIP devices. It solves problems like having access to phones and other devices during a power outage. Some small businesses achieve even better results by investing in PoE+, which doubles the amount of power feeding to the device and better equips devices that have video cameras or a video display.

A switch to VoIP requires careful consideration of the network, plus power backup on dependent devices. Before making the move, take time to ensure your network is equipped for VoIP.

Compass Solutions helps you find the technology to support your current needs and help you prepare for the future. For more information about VoIP and equipping your network for a switch to updated communications technology, contact us today.

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