9 Steps to Optimize Your Network for VoIP - PCMag.com

9 Steps to Optimize Your Network for VoIP - PCMag.com

9 Steps to Optimize Your Network for VoIP - PCMag.com

Posted: 14 Jan 2020 01:28 PM PST

Moving your voice traffic to your data network has become a default implementation for business phone service over the last 10 years. However, even though there are several easy-to-use solutions aimed at small to midsized business (SMB) customers available these days, including our Editors' Choice winner in that category, RingCentral Office, you still need to prepare your network for this kind of data. Making this kind of project successful means staying aware of several key networking challenges that can spell the difference between clear conversations and sudden hang-ups or unintelligible call experiences. In some cases, switching to VoIP might require a physical office restructuring, a different approach to using wireless networking, or a trip to the store to purchase a lot more Ethernet cables.

To help you anticipate and prepare for these networking issues, I spoke with Curtis Peterson, Senior Vice President of Cloud Operations at cloud-based business phone system provider RingCentral (24.99 Per Month at RingCentral) . We discussed some of the obstacles Peterson witnesses when helping companies move to RingCentral products. Keep in mind: Some of the terminology and phrasing you'll read in this article may sound confusing, which is why companies such as RingCentral offer guided installation services to smaller organizations. If you've got networking expertise in-house, then you'll be able to manage most of these issues on your own. However, if you don't know the difference between WI-FI and dial-up service, well, then your vendor will work with you to get you set up pronto.

1. Determine What Kind of Calls You'll Make

Business VoIP

Business VoIP

Before we get into networking specifics, you'll have to determine the devices on which you'll let your employees make VoIP calls. You can purchase dedicated VoIP phones that let employees make and receive calls from their desk. You can also make VoIP calls directly from a computer without ever touching an actual phone. To piggyback off that technique, you can also make VoIP calls from smartphones. Determine which, if not all, of these endpoints you'll be using immediately. "Before the network requires more thought, determine that," advised Peterson.

2. Buy Wires

This is a no-brainer but, now that you're making the switch to VoIP, you'll need enough Ethernet cables to connect your devices to the internet. Additionally, you'll need to purchase the right Ethernet cables. Peterson recommends buying Cat 6 cables if you can afford them. These cables can typically support 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) at 250 MHz for up to 328 feet. You can get 1,000 feet for anywhere from $90 to $170. If you can't afford Cat 6, then Peterson recommends you use Cat 5e cables, which can support up to 100-MHz bandwidth. Peterson discourages his clients from using older Cat 3 cables, which he said presents a "troubleshooting nightmare."

3. Choose a Power Supply

The easiest way to ensure that you're getting power to your VoIP phones is by distributing Power over Ethernet (PoE) cables. PoE lets devices that aren't plugged into AC sources pull in juice from your internet. Companies use PoE for surveillance cameras, ceiling-mounted access points, and even LED lights. If your Ethernet switch doesn't allow for PoE, then you can order a PoE injector, which is an additional power source that can be used alongside non-PoE switches.

4. Manage Internet Traffic With a Dedicated VLAN

Ethernet Cables Internet Switch

Ethernet Cables Internet Switch

Building your network via a dedicated Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) lets you better distribute network traffic to ensure that voice and video calls don't get dropped when someone starts downloading a large file onto their computer. If you dedicate your VLAN only to phone and video traffic, then you'll be able to isolate and manage VoIP traffic without having to worry about tertiary traffic.

5. Manage Wireless Traffic With Access Point Handoff

"Traditional Wi-Fi networks are usually a small managed system designed for laptops and tablets, and not for voice and video," said Peterson. Because of this discrepancy, it's important that you analyze your network to determine how many simultaneous calls your wireless connection can manage. Peterson recommends managed Wi-Fi that supports access point (AP) handoff for when one network becomes overburdened. He also suggests a system that is set for smaller packet sizes as well as an on-premises or cloud-based controller that can manually control access points when necessary.

6. Test Your Firewalls

Peterson suggests taking a vendor's maximum published throughput with a grain of salt. "This is not enough of a benchmark for how much media you can drive through a firewall," he explained. If you don't have someone in your organization who can help you determine the difference between media and data traffic, then contact a professional. Peterson recommends using software-defined firewalls, which are designed to filter internal data traffic and packets rather than just data traffic.

7. Doublecheck Your Router

 How to Access Your Wi-Fi Router\

 How to Access Your Wi-Fi Router\

Determine if your router has Packets Per Second (PPS) capability. This functionality provides traffic shaping and policing, which lets you prioritize voice and video data on your network. "What we look for is basically assuming one out of every five people will be on a 1-megabits-per-second [Mbps] voice call, and one out of every 7 will be on a [video] conference at 100 megabits per second," he said. Multiply the number of voice users at your company who will be on a voice call and a video call at any given moment, and then multiple that number by a minimum of five. That's how many Mbps of traffic your router should be able to manage without any issue.

8. Evaluate Your Network for VLANs and Quality of Service

Once you start running voice traffic over your data network, you'll quickly realize that this traffic becomes real important real fast. For example, few things ruin a successful sales call faster than the customer getting cut off or having your sales pitch turned into a series of unintelligible bleeps and blurps. Bottom line: you want to protect your voice traffic over your application traffic because the latter can stand latency, jitter, and other network traffic problems much more resiliently than a voice experience can. And some of the best ways to protect any traffic stream is through judicious use of virtual LANs (VLAN) and quality of service (QoS) capabilities. Both of these features are based on industry standards but get implemented differently depending on which router and switch hardware your network is using. Sit down with your IT staff and your VoIP provider and work out a short but thorough test of these features on your existing network infrastructure and replace or update as necessary before rolling VoIP out in production. Your business will thank you.

9. Evaluate VPNs to Secure Your Phone Calls

VoIP is a long-time standard, and as with many mature technologies, security wasn't exactly top-of-mind when it was invented. One of the key security issues with VoIP is its underlying transport mechanism, the Session Initiated Protocol (SIP). While there are a couple of ways you can secure SIP, one of the best is to simply encrypt the stream by running it through a virtual private network (VPN). While that's relatively easy for a single call, however, it becomes complicated quickly when you're talking about many phone calls in a business setting. Spend some time evaluating VPN solutions from vendors that understand the requirements of securing VoIP traffic, and test those solutions under load to make sure you're not increasing your security at the cost of call quality.

Further Reading

More Business Reviews

More Business Best Picks

Get The Best VoIP Cloud Based Phone System Services In London UK Launched - Newswire

Posted: 04 Feb 2020 12:25 PM PST

(Newswire.net -- February 4, 2020) -- London, UK -- London company VoIP Providers UK updated its range of cost-effective VoIP phone systems for small and medium businesses all over the world. The company aims to help clients cut down phone costs while enjoying all the powerful tools to grow their business.

VoIP Providers UK, a leading provider of cloud-based telephony systems based in London, announced the launch of an updated range of reliable and cost-effective VoIP phone systems for businesses worldwide. The company offers over 40 phone system features, including Auto Attendant (IVR), Ring Groups, Call Forwarding, Music On Hold, Voicemail, Custom Greetings, Call Recording, Desktop, Laptop & Mobile App, and many more.

More information can be found at https://voipprovidersuk.com

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, has been steadily gaining popularity as a phone call alternative that sends voice over the Internet rather than over a series of phone lines. The newly launched VoIP phone systems at VoIP Providers UK aim to provide clients all over the world with an affordable option to make dozens or hundreds of phone calls every day, while also saving themselves business time and money on voice communication.

Cloud phone systems give companies a more robust phone feature set at a fraction of the cost. The cloud based hosted phone systems at VoIP Providers UK are simple and flexible and have powerful call-management features.

In addition, these phone systems allow businesses to connect with users on a wide range of platforms, including Desktop App, Laptop App, IOS App, Android App, and more.

When working with VoIP Providers UK, clients can opt to keep their existing business phone number or register a new one. The telephony experts can port the client's current business phone number from any telecoms provider.

Whatever the client's business sector, the team at VoIP Providers UK have the range and flexibility to create a package that is right for them. They can provide each and every client with reliable telephony solutions and professionally managed services.

Currently, VoIP Providers UK covers 79 countries and 3653 area codes worldwide and have an inventory of virtual numbers in every country and area code covered.

A spokesperson for the company said: "Our services are individually tailored to meet your requirements and business needs. Switch from a traditional phone system to a hosted telephony platform. There is no installation or maintenance required on site. All you need is a reliable internet connection."

Interested parties can find more by visiting the above-mentioned website.


Popular posts from this blog

SIP Phones Explained - Telecom Reseller

Endpoint Wars 2019 – Which is the Best Device? - UC Today

Cyber Monday: The best software deals for charities - Charity Digital News