Prepping Your Network for VoIP

Prepping Your Network for VoIP

networkBefore you bring VoIP into your workplace, determining whether you have the technology available to support your implementation is a necessity. Ensuring that your network architecture and infrastructure have the required capacity is a critical step. Similarly, addressing PTSN access needs to be part of the equation.

 

Prepping the LAN

For a VoIP implementation, ensuring enough end-to-end throughput is provided while jitter and latency are lowered needs to be a priority. Voice services are a form of real-time streaming, so network congestion significantly impacts quality.

 

Before adding VoIP, audit network uplinks to locate potential bottlenecks. If issues are identified, upgrading to a faster link can resolve the issue. Alternatively, port aggregation can decrease the odds that VoIP-related traffic is subject to interruptions.

 

Configuring end-to-end quality of service (QoS) can ensure that the network manages voice traffic properly, decreasing the chance disruptions will occur as a result of dropped or delayed packets. This allows voice to remain a priority.

 

PTSN Access

While your internal calls will remain on premises, if you want to dial outside number, you have to access the PTSN. If you partner with a cloud VoIP provider, they often have either traditional SIP trunks or SIP connections over broadband that provides the necessary level of connectivity.

 

However, if you are maintaining your own VoIP system, then you’ll either need your own SIP trunks if you want an efficient solution. While T1 and T3 line cards in VoIP gateways are technically a viable option, they are typically expensive and complex to manage, making them less than ideal.

 

Similarly, using the internet for PTSN is an alternative but, by going this route, you lose a substantial amount of control over QoS.

 

Remote Site Concerns

If your company has remote sites, you have a few options for managing VoIP traffic. Existing WAN connectivity can support voice as well a site-to-site virtual private networks (VPNs), giving you two potential approaches. However, if you sent VoIP traffic over broadband, there is no way to apply QoS between each location.

 

SD-WAN technologies can decrease latency for VoIP traffic by combining multiple internet links and secure tunnels. In some cases, this approach may be preferable for VoIP platforms in particular.

 

Integration Considerations

When selecting a VoIP solution, choosing an option that provides the proper integrations can make a significant amount of difference in regards to operational efficiency. For example, solutions that work on smartphones through an installed app allow employees to take their desk phone number with them.

 

Similarly, opting for a VoIP platform that can integrate into other solutions like team collaboration platforms, video conferencing solutions, or even AI bots can also assist with productivity.

 

While these aren’t technically network-specific considerations, they should be on your mind with you are preparing for a VoIP implementation. That way, when you choose and prep for a solution, you don’t have to change course midstream simply because you discovered too late that a VoIP platform is lacking in a key area.

Nathan Weatherford

Nathan is in charge of Marketing & Business Development at VocalPoint Consulting. Launching new marketing initiatives, planning for events, meeting with clients and providers is all part of the job.

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