If you’re considering a communications upgrade, you’re likely looking at Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Because VoIP relies heavily on the strength of the network connection, you may also be weighing the possibility of an infrastructure upgrade to software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN). With SD-WAN and VoIP, not every pairing will work well. Here are the considerations you should keep in mind when evaluating SD-WAN to support VoIP:
Hosted or on-premise VoIP: You need to understand the voice requirements for your VoIP system. If it’s hosted in the cloud, your phone system will have different network needs than one that is hosted in-house. For a cloud-based VoIP solution, you may be required to have dedicated links to network providers.
Look for multiple paths: Using SD-WAN for VoIP requires a transparent use of multiple links in order to achieve resilience as well as support traffic separation. You also need to know that the link technology is supported by the SD-WAN solution.
Failover speed: Once you’ve evaluated whether SD-WAN and VoIP are a good match for links, you should determine how quickly the SD-WAN solution will fail over to an alternate pathway. If there’s jitter, latency or packet loss, how quickly does the solution respond? Make sure you have the ability to change the policy from a single control panel and apply it across all devices.
Path characteristics: You will want to evaluate how the SD-WAN solution monitors path characteristics. Does it use a piggyback method to timestamp and sequence packets or is it using separate measurement packets? Each of these options comes with benefits and drawbacks, but it’s a good consideration to think through because your choice may impact packet flows and bandwidth requirements.
Policy configuration: It’s a good idea to get beyond the demo and take a test drive of policy management within the SD-WAN. After all, everything looks user-friendly in the sales stage, but you should find out how easy it is to prioritize voice traffic or set a bandwidth limit. You will also want to test how easily the SD-WAN solution integrates with your other network tools.
Security: While the ability to segment traffic adds some inherent security benefits, it’s important to note that SD-WAN and VoIP solutions are not created equal when it comes to securing your data. Determine what type of authentication and authorization policies the solution uses and have your security team examine the registration process and how easy it might be for someone to join your SD-WAN topology online.
An upgrade to VoIP offers a variety of benefits to your company, including flexibility, scalability and reduced costs. It allows you to support your remote employees and offer a seamless experience to end users. With so much added volume on your network, you need the high level of visibility and control offered through SD-WAN.
For more information related to SD-WAN and VoIP, contact us at Compass Solutions. We can help you identify the VoIP solutions that meet your needs and the SD-WAN solution that is best suited to your communications upgrade.