While Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) offers cost savings can you rely on it to support your business? Is your network going to support the quality of service your customers expect?
You’ll find VoIP call traffic requires a high-performing network and is more sensitive to normal network problems than other Internet applications. Any network impairment will result in choppy or broken calls. Where you might not even notice network issues with other applications, VoIP users will get frustrated. Then there is the other side of how VoIP impacts the applications reliant on your network.
Before getting started with VoIP you need to know if your network infrastructure can handle it. Do you really want to sign a contract only to have the contractor find out your network isn’t ready? This isn’t good for you or the vendor. Worse yet, you don’t want to install VoIP and frustrate customers and employees with choppy or dropped calls. These issues can be easily avoided with some pre-planning.
Think your network is unlikely to present a VoIP problem? Think again, Gartner reports that 85% of business networks are not ready for voice solutions. A simple way to stay out ahead of this is to build network assessments into your VoIP planning, roll-out and maintenance. Unfortunately, over 75% of companies skip this step and waste time and watch costs escalate as a result. This can be avoided by performing these four easy assessments:
Pre-Deployment Network Assessment
A pre-deployment network assessment evaluates the existing capabilities of your network infrastructure to determine if there are any issues that would inhibit a VoIP deployment. This assessment should be done before entering into any contractual commitment to purchase VoIP equipment or systems. The analysis consists of assessing bandwidth, utilization, jitter, throughput and latency.
A post-deployment assessment is done to understand how VoIP has impacted the network prior to putting it into production. At this stage you’ll assess VoIP quality and network efficiency prior to going live. This assessment will help you determine your probability of success and help you avoid call quality issues and/or dropped calls. Whenever new tech is added to a network there is a risk unexpected consequences. Don’t skip this step; address any issues uncovered prior to going live.
As new devices are added and removed from networks (i.e., phones, laptops, switches, routers, etc.) they evolve. The smallest changes can impact how a network performs and it’s important to constantly evaluate networks. The sooner faults are identified the faster problems are resolved and the more satisfied user will be with the network. Regular network assessments increase quality, optimize infrastructure, and reduce overall cost.
Even the best assessments won’t uncover all issues, and when they do uncover issues, you’ll need a break/fix process for identifying and resolving problems. A network assessment tool is a critical element of a break/fix strategy. The Yankee Group reports some companies’ labor cost grew 30% to 40% after VoIP implementations due to network issues. Network assessment tools help identify and diagnose problems, resolve them, and minimize their impact.
If your company is considering VoIP or has already implemented, it is critical to deploy a network assessment tool to analyze and stay on top of your network. Many companies skip this integral element of VoIP implementations and research clearly shows a clear negative impact.
VoIP systems offer small and mid-size businesses great value. As you evaluate solutions you should be thinking about both telecommunications and the impact on your network. If you’ve engaged a telecommunications provider about VoIP and they don’t recommend a network assessment something is wrong. Don’t skip critical assessments and learn the hard way.