8 Steps to Optimise Your Network for VoIP

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Transferring voice to your data network can do wonders for your business in terms of the cost, data mining and app integration. However, it is not something that can be done lightly hence you need to take these steps before you roll out VoIP in production.

Implementation of VoIP phone system for small business through the cloud makes running voice over data network easier than before. However, it is still not something that you can turn on and off with impunity. To make this type of plan successful means being aware of different networking challenges which can spell the difference between abrupt hang-ups, unintelligible call experience, and clear conversation.

In certain cases, transferring to VoIP technology may need a physical office space restructuring such as a different method to use wireless network, or a trip to the store to buy more Ethernet wires.

To help you become prepared for these networking problems we are going to discuss the issues that businesses experience while moving to VoIP best business phone system .

• Determine which types of calls you will make

Before getting into the networking specifics, you will need to determine the devices on which you will allow your employees to make VoIP calls. You can buy dedicated VoIP phones which allow employees to receive and make calls from their desk. Also, you can make VoIP calls from a computer directly without having to ever touch a real phone. To piggyback off that method, you can make VoIP calls from your smartphones as well. You need to determine which, if not all, of these endpoints you are going to use instantly.

• Select a power supply

The easiest method of ensuring that you are getting power for your VoIP business phone systems is by allocating the power over Ethernet (PoE) cables. PoE allows devices which are not plugged into the AC sources to pull in power from your internet. Many businesses use PoE for ceiling-mounted access points, surveillance cameras, and even for LED lights. In case, your ethernet switch does not allow for PoE then you can just order a PoE injector. A PoE injector is an additional power source which can be used along with non-PoE switches.

• Purchase Wires

This is actually a no brainer, however, if you have decided to switch to VoIP phone technology, then you will have enough Ethernet cables to connect all your devices to the internet. In addition, you will have to buy the right Ethernet cables. It is recommended that you purchase Cat 6 cables if you can afford them. Usually, these cables can support 10 Gigabit Ethernet at 250 MHz for up to 328ft. if you are unable to afford Cat 6 then it is recommended to use Cat 5e cable which can provide support up to 100 MHz bandwidth. It is also advised to not use Cat 3 cables which can be a troubleshooting nightmare.

• Test your firewalls

It is suggested that you take a provider’s maximum published output with a grain of salt. However, this is not enough of a standard for how much media you can drive over a firewall. If you do not have someone in your company who can help you in determining the difference between data and media traffic, then you need to contact an expert. You should use software-defined firewalls, that are designed to filter the internal data packets and traffic instead of just data traffic.

• Doublecheck your Router

You must determine whether your router possesses Packets per second (PPS) ability. This functionality delivers traffic policing and shaping that allows you to prioritise voice and video data on your network. You need to multiply the number of voice users at your office who will be on a voice and video call at any given minute and then you need to multiply that number by a minimum 5. That is how many Mbps of network traffic your router should be capable of managing without any problem.

• Manage the internet traffic with a dedicated VLAN

Building your network through a dedicated VLAN allows you to distribute network traffic to ensure that all the voice and video calls do not get dropped if someone else starts to download a huge file on their computer. If you dedicate your VLAN just to your voice and video traffic, then you will be capable of separating and managing the VoIP traffic without worrying about the tertiary traffic.

• Assess your network for VLANs (Virtual Local Area Network) and Quality of Service (QoS)

Once you have started to run voice traffic across your data network then you will quickly realise that this traffic becomes important quickly. For instance, some things can spoil a successful sale call quicker than the caller getting disconnected or having the sales pitch turned into a succession of garbled bleeps.

• Manage the Wireless traffic with access point handoff

Generally, the traditional Wi-Fi networks are a small managed system which is designed for computers and tablets, not for voice and video. Due to this discrepancy, it is significant that you analyse your network to determine how many concurrent calls your wireless network can handle. A managed Wi-Fi is better as it supports access point handoff for when one network becomes overburdened. Furthermore, it is better to have a system which is set for smaller packet size along with an onsite or cloud-based controller which can manually control access points when necessary.

In conclusion, you need to protect your voice traffic over the application traffic since the latter can stand jitter, latency and other network traffic issues much more robustly compared to a voice experience can. In addition, some of the best ways to protect traffic stream is by using Quality of Service (QoS) and virtual LANs (VLAN) abilities. Both features are based on the industry standards however, they both get implemented in a different way according to the switch and router your network uses. You need to sit down with your IT team and your VoIP service provider and figure out a short but comprehensive test of these features on your current network infrastructure and update or replace as needed before rolling out the VoIP in production.