Voice over Internet Protocol has had a huge impact on business communications. No longer is it necessary to have a PBX with a maintenance contract for each of your offices. Today the phone system for your entire organization can be housed in your data center, or for redundancy placed in an offsite, secure third party data center. Are you implementing some aspects of VoIP into your network?
15 years ago each of your offices needed to have dial tone from the LEC (Local Exchange Carrier) or a CLEC (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier) in order to make office to office phone calls, or connections outside of your network. Today many businesses have a WAN or Wide Area Network that connects all of their offices together and provides 3 or 4 digit dialing between all of their employees. All dial tone comes from a centrally located phone system that gets numbers from a SIP provider and distributes them out to their employees from a central location. What may have taken a team of 10 or 20 engineers/phone techs to manage in the past can now be managed by one individual very easily.
The primary requirement for VoIP to work throughout your organization is a solid connection to the Internet or to your companies WAN. Where VoIP solutions begin to fail is when you have numerous remote locations that can only support 1.5 Mb DSL or cable connections. 1.5 Mb of bandwidth can get eaten up quickly with simultaneous phone calls. Some IP based phone use compression that will only allow you to make a few calls at a time. Make sure you understand the math behind this technology and understand how many simultaneous calls you can make for the amount of bandwidth you have. This can and will be a major mistake for many IT Managers adopting this technology.
If you’re a new business, adoption of VoIP should be a cinch. There are numerous companies on the market that offer VoIP solutions with the equipment included. This is nice because you’re getting a turnkey, tested solution and won’t need to work with an equipment vendor and a VoIP carrier – but rather just one company. Check out offerings from Telesphere, and Paetec to start – but if you’re pushing 100+ locations you may want to entertain Qwest as their footprint may cover more of your offices.
As the writer of this blog we try not to self promote all the time, but we already have relationships with many of the VoIP providers. Shoot us an e-mail and tell us about the VoIP project your planning! What challenges are you running into with your implementation?