Senior IT Consultant, Mike Oster, shares his thoughts on VoIP…

I have been in the IT industry for over 30 years, so it takes a lot for a technology to impress me. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a technology that impresses me. Maybe it’s because I remember the early days of the Internet, when things were as slow as a sloth. In order to facilitate a data connection over mostly slow and unreliable connections, error correction had to be built into the protocol (the IP in VoIP). So, if a system detected an error in a data packet it could simply ask for the packet to be resent—brilliant—unless of course that data packet is in the middle of a LIVE stream of data from a phone conversation. Then an errored packet can be catastrophic. Imagine trying to have a phone conversation and hearing the words that were meant to be at the end of a sentence before the words that were intended to be at the beginning of the sentence. While that is not exactly what happens if the data packets of a VoIP conversation arrive out of order, you get the idea.

So, when considering VoIP as part of your phone system solution, there are certain things you must consider to prevent you phone conversations from sounding like a trip to the monkey house at the zoo.

  • If at all possible you should consider a dedicated Internet connection for your VoIP service. This will ensure your Internet data usage is not competing with your VoIP needs. The more you can segregate your voice traffic from your data traffic, the better. In an environment where there are multiple network cables at every user’s desk, you can implement a completely separate physical network for your phones. This will provide the best VoIP experience since there would be no competition for network bandwidth or resources.
  • If you just can’t dedicate an entire network to your VoIP solution due to technical or financial obstacles, don’t fret. There are still things you can do to provide a quality VoIP experience for your users. The first is to ensure you have an Internet service of sufficient quality and bandwidth to support both your data and voice requirements. Most VoIP providers have a test you can run on your Internet connection to ensure it meets the requirements for good voice quality.
  • Using an enterprise-class firewall and switches is preferred as well. Most of these devices have configuration options that will allow VoIP traffic to be prioritized above standard data traffic.

So, if you don’t want your phone conversations to sound like a troop of babbling baboons, don’t monkey around. Give IT Radix a call and we can help get you on the path to a quality VoIP experience.

First published in our May 2017 IT Radix Resource newsletter