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Reliable Internet Service: A Requirement For VoIP


Vonage In Print News

What Does It Take To Go VoIP?

June 2, 2005

By Elizabeth Millard

One of the primary requirements for a Voip system is reliable Internet service. Although this seems obvious, some companies do try to implement Voip without increasing their broadband pipe, said Louis Holder, executive vice president of Voip firm Vonage.

It is official: Voip is all the rage. With the potential cost savings combined with the boom in service plans and monitoring tools, it makes sense that the strategy finally has found its foothold.

For home users, the switch from traditional telephony to the IP-driven type is as easy as -- well, a phone call. They merely have to talk to a local cable provider and usually can have Voip within a day or two.

But for enterprises, the undertaking is vastly more complex and costly, involving equipment, training, monitoring tools and other components.

Strong Connections

One of the primary requirements for a Voip system is reliable Internet service. Although this seems obvious, some companies do try to implement Voip without increasing their broadband pipe, said Louis Holder, executive vice president of Voip firm Vonage.

Although a Voip network will not be directly affected by some of the problems that affect data networks, such a spam and worms, traffic shifts due to security issues could change voice transfer rates.

To prevent quality problems, Holder believes, companies should simply pony up for additional broadband.

"There are some tools that will route voice and data, and do prioritization," said Holder. "But for many companies, it's easier not to have to worry about it and just get more broadband."

Budget Items

After broadband, the next expense round will go toward equipment, which will involve Voip phones and cabling -- and potentially more firewall protection.

An enterprise requires Category 5 Ethernet cable or better to run voice of data pipes, and also will have to install inline power or have additional outlets put in to power the IP phones.

Also, because the phone becomes an end point that can allow for access to the data network, more security must be employed through the use of firewalls and desktop-level applications.

Although each expenditure might seem minor when compared to data-network implementations, they do tend to add up, and companies should look at all costs during a network evaluation before the first IP phone is even bought.

Train Track

In addition to broadband and equipment expenses, companies also should budget for training. I.T. staff members are the logical candidates for extensive training because they will be handling the networks.

Forrester Research has noted that people familiar with converged networks are in short supply, meaning that if a company does training even before a Voip system is put in place, it already will be ahead of the game.

Cultural Shift

Beyond equipment and training costs, a company that is switching to Voip also must be aware that there will be shifts in responsibility that might not involve money but could lengthen the implementation time.

"When you're making the leap from traditional telephony to a Voip system, you're talking about a larger change in management," said Pierce Reid, vice president of marketing for Voip monitoring and management firm Qovia.

Traditional telephony systems usually are handled by a building manager, whereas IP telephony falls into the hands of I.T. Companies will have to map out how the changeover will be made and whether a traditional telephony system will continue to operate.

Hall Monitor

With most of the implementation pieces in place, one of the last details is to determine how the system will be monitored.

Just as a data network is scanned for hiccups and data-flow changes, a Voip network also has to be checked frequently, said Jeff Walker, Motorola's senior director of marketing.

"Quality of service has improved quite a bit over the past few years, but there are still a surprising number of things that can go wrong in a Voip system," he said. "There are issues like jitter and delay. In a data network, this might happen and users wouldn't even notice. But with voice, they hear it immediately, and then they call I.T."

There are several popular monitoring tools from companies like Avaya and Qovia that collect and store information about Voip to make the data searchable so that problems in the network can be isolated more easily.



 
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†AK and HI residents pay $29.95 shipping. ††Limited time offer. Valid for residents of the United States (&DC), 18 years or older, who open new accounts. Offer good while supplies last and only on new account activations. One kit per account/household. Offer cannot be combined with any other discounts, promotions or plans and is not applicable to past purchases. Good while supplies last. Allow up to 2 weeks for shipping. Other restrictions may apply.

1Unlimited calling and other services for all residential plans are based on normal residential, personal, non-commercial use. A combination of factors is used to determine abnormal use, including but not limited to: the number of unique numbers called, calls forwarded, minutes used and other factors. Subject to our Reasonable Use Policy and Terms of Service.

2Shipping and activation fees waived with 1-year agreement. An Early Termination Fee (with periodic pro-rated reductions) applies if service is terminated before the end of the first 12 months. Additional restrictions may apply. See Terms of Service for details.

HIGH SPEED INTERNET REQUIRED. †VALID FOR NEW LINES ONLY. RATES EXCLUDE INTERNET SERVICE, SURCHARGES, FEES AND TAXES. DEVICE MAY BE REFURBISHED. If you subscribe to plans with monthly minutes allotments, all call minutes placed from both from your home and registered ExtensionsTM phones will count toward your monthly minutes allotment. ExtensionsTM calls made from mobiles use airtime and may incur surcharges, depending on your mobile plan. Alarms, TTY and other systems may not be compatible. Vonage 911 service operates differently than traditional 911. See www.vonage.com/911 for details.

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