Voice over IP – how to select the right solution for your business
With the ISDN disconnection commencing in the Newcastle and Hunter region from September 2019, it is important to think about how you will make the transition to technologies such as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). If your business is on ISDN and you do not act, your communications will be cut off.
When planning your transition, here are some tips on how to select the right solution for your business.
The best solution is one that works reliably
To have a good experience with your new voice solution, select a data network service and a SIP service that is fit for purpose.
Don’t get caught with cheap providers. Cutting corners by loading up all services onto the same low-cost internet connection will result in a voice service that is frustrating to use, if not unusable.
The pain is doubled if you have signed contracts for a service that can’t support your needs.
Are voice services critical to your business?
Not all organisations see voice services as a cornerstone of their communications.
Businesses that are largely online and use email, social media and webpages to operate may not get value from putting extra resources into voice services. In these circumstances, it may be better value to run your voice and data services on the same connection and have your voice traffic traverse the internet.
For most businesses however, a dedicated data link between you and your VoIP provider is the most reliable solution. VoIP is very sensitive to fluctuations in data speeds, being a real-time connection.
If voice services are critical to your organisation, you will need advice on selecting a voice data connection that can provide the dependable throughput you’ve enjoyed with ISDN.
If you are not sure on where your organisation sits in this assessment, seek expert advice.
- Business-grade data and voice services
Business-grade data network services are very different to consumer-grade services.
Business-grade services are usually the same upload as download speed (symmetrical) and the broadband speeds quotes are much closer to real speeds than the theoretical speeds of consumer services.
The biggest difference when it comes to voice is the ability to have your calls stay off the internet completely, avoiding the traffic interruptions and “no guarantees” service you get on a public network.
- Quality of Service (QoS)
Configuring your network to prioritise voice traffic is a necessity on any converged data network where voice has to compete with other internet applications such as email and web browsing.
Quality of Service is a networking method of prioritising your real-time data over non-real-time data, where a momentary delay will not be significant or even noticed. Using QoS will allow your network infrastructure to get the most from its capability.
Signing a contract on a service that doesn’t provide a reliable and adequate service for your organisation is a pitfall to avoid. Your SIP trunks and voice data need to be compatible. Check the details for guaranteed service levels and any penalty clauses before signing.
- Start early
Seek advice early in your transition from ISDN to VoIP, so you can plan your move carefully and evaluate your needs thoroughly.
Create a backup plan to give yourself options in case there is a change in your circumstances, or in options available to you from your service providers.
Martin Thurgate is the Director and General Manager for Diamond Information Technology (IT). Martin joined Diamond in 1998 as an IT technician and in 2000 he became a Director and equal owner of the business.
Over the past two decades Martin has assumed various roles inside the business, including customer facing technical roles, direct sales, Sales Manager and General Manager. This mix of hands-on technology and business experience has resulted in Martin becoming one of the leading IT experts in the region, with unique skills in helping businesses realise the potential benefits that IT can deliver to increase productivity and reduce costs.