There are different opinions regarding the VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or IP (Internet Protocol) telephone services within the communications industry today. Perspectives vary much dependent on which provider or vendor you are speaking with. It is essential to consider different issues when planning any type of IP integration or migration, the first being what terminology is being used. In its most simple format, VoIP is the transporting of signals and voice data using an IP network. IP telephony is the strategy that allows this procedure to be transferred utilizing the IP network. The second consideration to make is the development of a strategy on how both or either of the technologies can be used, while still maintaining a degree of redundancy and acceptable voice quality.
When VoIP was introduced to the communications industry during the mid-nineties, it was first advertised as the end to all long distance charges. Decades later, this is not the case. While they may have dealt with tough times, the long distance carriers continue to exist and all people continue to pay long distance charges in some way. The fact is that when a person uses VoIP in a capacity where voice data is transferred over an unmanaged network without the quality of service (QoS), such as the Internet, the results are typically poor. The reason for this QoS is quite simple.
The internet protocols were not designed for real-time of media.
Any traditional voice transfer using circuit switched networks provides a constant connection between the parties for the duration of the long distance call. The IP networks, such as a packet switched network on the Internet, typically allow data to be sent in the form of packets to be transferred in the best route or routes available. Hypothetically, this data can be sent using the Internet and its packets can be split using different methods, then arriving at the final destination in a separate order than it was originally sent.
Based on these things, such as IP addressing and packet headers, this is not an issue in the data industry because this is not a real-time transfer. A piece of data, such as email, can be reassembled once it reaches the final destination appearing normal to the final user. If voice data were considered to operate in the same way as textual data, then what would be found at the final destination would be inaudible conversations with garbled speech.
How the communications industry has helped long distance data transfer is by setting up parameters for quality of service. This includes different techniques, which can vary according to the vendor or service provider. Two popular themes behind the QoS include queuing and packet tagging. Packet tagging allows network appliances to assign specific priorities to different types of traffic; thereby, providing any type of real-time traffic to be provided higher priority than the non-real time traffic (such as data). Network devices will read these packet tags and send out the high priority packets before any low priority packets. This can be done alongside queuing. The queues are utilized so the packet waiting has a place to “wait in line”. When looking at VoIP, speak to the technology vendor and ensure they have a means of doing this effectively.
What are the benefits of VoIP?
When considering the full VoIP package, it is important to look at the benefit of toll bypass. For organizations with more than one location that place calls between the sites, VoIP may be the ideal solution. The most significant factor for any company with a data network is to handle the extra traffic. In the majority of cases, data networks use older technology and will need to upgrade to support the quality of service. The higher the bandwidth, the greater the ability of the company to deal with additional traffic.
Along with toll bypass, VoIP has various other advantages. It also provides the ability to connect with remote office locations so they can function under a “converged enterprise” banner. For instance, staff working in an office on the East coast can contact team on the West coast by dialling four digits.
When using VoIP, the possibilities are endless; however, planning and due diligence needs to be conducted beforehand. Deploying this strategy in your business without pre-planning can have you returning to the drawing board with several expenses. The cost of a failed VoIP service can reduce the rate of your ROI for years; therefore, you need to work with a vendor you can trust. References are essential before making a final decision!