Transitioning to VoIP

Posted on: 2017-11-10 | Categories:VoIP Services

VoIP technology has been around for a while but to some organizations, it is still brand new. VoIP brings voice calling into the 21st century so that calls no longer require their own dedicated network. Today no business can function without the Internet – whether you need it to send documents, collaborate with colleagues or set up a website. VoIP allows users to make calls through Internet protocols, bypassing the need for the PSTN entirely.

However not all organizations are completely on board with VoIP yet. There are many reasons for this including lack of access to reliable Internet, lack of financial resources, hesitation to adopt new technology etc. Other companies are in the midst of transitioning to VoIP. But quite a few organizations have concerns about the process and results. In the past, some businesses have even tried VoIP and then gone back to their old system for various reasons. So what concerns should you address before, during and even after making the jump to VoIP?

Common Concerns to Address While Transitioning to VoIP

Unlike other technology upgrades you might have implemented in the past, VoIP does not require tons of new equipment or expensive software. If you want to try out VoIP for a few days, you need three things:

  • An Internet connection
  • A device to make calls (smart phone, laptop etc.)
  • An account with any service provider

Unfortunately everything becomes a little more complex for enterprises since you have more than just one user to consider. Generally organizations have two major concerns with VoIP – cost and quality. The cost part is easy to address. Whether you implement a custom SIP deployment or purchase hosted services from a vendor, it will cost you less than what you are already paying.

The next concern is quality. There are a few things you can do to ensure high-quality audio calls for your users. One is to check the bandwidth, speed and traffic on your data network. Any piece of data sent over the Internet consumes a certain amount of bandwidth. When you add voice calls to everything else, the bandwidth requirements increase. So make sure that your network can handle the extra traffic. Quite often, organizations have to upgrade their Internet speeds for VoIP.

Another step is to check over all your network equipment for physical wear and tear, security and firmware updates etc. You might want to upgrade older equipment so that it can work with VoIP protocols. Something as innocuous as a loose cable can bring your phones down in the middle of the workday. While you won’t have much telephony equipment in your office, you should still check the hardware infrastructure of your data network.

Now that your organization is prepared for the upgrade, you can start making the switch. Some companies find it beneficial to maintain one or two landlines as a backup or for certain services like security and alarm systems. Sometimes you might find that audio quality is not quite as good with your new VoIP service. There are many reasons why this could happen and most of them can be resolved with ease.

Quality of service is often overlooked by organizations that are not familiar with VoIP. But QoS is essential for any VoIP implementation. These QoS settings and techniques guarantee a minimum level of service for users. For instance, you can tag data packets that contain audio with a higher priority relative to other types of media. This allows network equipment to give priority to voice calls over the network. Since VoIP is time sensitive, even a small delay will translate to significant problems for users.

Security is another issue that you shouldn’t forget. Bringing voice calls onto the same network as other types of data has its benefits and drawbacks. One such disadvantage is that your voice calls are subject to the same security concerns as email, documents etc. So basic security measures like password management, account management are applicable to your VoIP system as well.

There are many tools available to secure your network touch as firewalls, SBCs and others. Perhaps the most important is encryption. This prevents eavesdropping as no one can understand the contents even if they get hold of it. User awareness and education is an important part of security management. Even the most secure installation can be breached through a single lost or stolen password. Criminals don’t have to bother with trying to break your defenses if the users or administrators are careless.

VoIP technology has come a long way since its launch. There are very few issues that cannot be solved facing organizations today. Even concerns like security and quality of service are not major drawbacks. You can address them by implementing a few precautions and training. VoIP is a great value proposition for consumers and businesses alike. Pretty soon it will become the standard for voice calling, much like the PSTN was for decades.