Companies have plenty of reasons why they may want to carry Voice-over-IP (VoIP) traffic over a virtual private network (VPN), with security often being a one. While many VPNs can handle the traffic, at least on occasion, not all of them are well suited to the task. Additionally, there are other considerations that come into play, especially if performance is a concern.
If you want to use VoIP over VPN, setting it up properly is essential. Here’s what you need to know.
The Case for a Specialized VPN
Technically, any VPN could carry VoIP traffic. However, the nature of voice communications means some VPNs will fall short when it comes to performance, leading to issues like latency, unreliable connections, and dropped calls.
Without a specialized solution, your VPN may not offer the necessary features or capabilities. Not only can this hinder productivity, but it can also damage your reputation, as customers or clients are not going to be impressed by a subpar experience.
Begin with QoS
Preventing these problems usually makes a Quality of Service (QoS) mechanism mandatory. QoS allows bandwidth to be allocated to voice traffic, ensuring enough is available for a high-quality call experience. Without QoS, network congestion can lead to service degradation or call interruptions.
Similarly, VoIP traffic requires a substantial amount of resources. Without QoS, voice traffic could disrupt other applications, harming your staff’s ability to handle critical tasks.
With the right VPN solution, you can make sure VoIP connections are given the proper treatment by extending your virtual LAN (VLAN) outside of your premises.
Optimizing Your VPN Gateway
For voice communications, jitter can be a serious problem. Jitter occurs when packets arrive out of order or are dropped, usually due to differences in latency. During a call with jitter, one of both parties may be unintelligible, seemingly speaking nonsense, or cut in and out, making the discussion hard to follow.
When you implement VoIP, adding a dedicated VPN gateway is a critical step if you want to avoid jitter. Similarly, selecting a VPN solution that was engineered to handle VoIP traffic specifically increases the odds that you will get high-quality results.
VPN or Encrypted Tunnels
In some cases, you may not need to use VPN to enhance security for your VoIP calls. If your goal is to secure traffic between two offices, setting up your own encrypted tunnel between the two locations may be a more efficient approach since you have control of both ends of the connection.
However, if you want to secure VoIP calls coming from the field, employee home offices, or similar locations where you only have control of one end, using a VPN may be your only option. In these cases, you’ll need to find a VPN provider that is prepared to meet your needs, including handling VoIP traffic.
Ultimately, if you want to up the security of your voice calls by sending VoIP over VPN, opting for a solution that is designed and optimized to handle that kind of traffic is essential. Otherwise, you are not going to get the experience you need for your business to thrive.