Is your business VoIP ready?

Will the current infrastructure support swapping out of TDM cards to support IP? If so, to what extent? What about disparate legacy PBXs in local branch offices? VoIP also comes with a few network requirements like CAT-5 cabling, Gateways and SIP trunks to name few, which adds to the overall cost of migration.

For most organisations, a hybrid model that combines VoIP with TDM makes the most sense. This approach is less risky, less disruptive to your organisation and has less negative impact on your cash flow. You can spread the cost by planning the roll out over time while sweating the legacy assets to reach their end of life period.

Planning and preparation

Firstly, network planning is critical. Good preparation is important to a seamless transition and will ensure that your switch to VoIP is successful.

VoIP itself is not a bandwidth-intensive application but the amount of traffic this adds to the network can affect performance. More importantly, data networks were not designed to support real-time protocols (voice and video) and this presents IT with a challenge.

Beyond this, there are additional network-related considerations around SIP trunking and Wi-Fi. The network cabling may need an upgrade along with new networks, network management tools and hardware to prioritise real-time traffic to ensure quality of service (QoS).

Routing voice over a separate data network offers a higher level of data security, lowering the risk of cyber-attacks.

Choosing a VoIP provider

Even though VoIP has been around for more than 20 years, the majority of telephony solutions sold today are analogue based systems. As surprising as this may seem, the reason behind this is simple. Most telephony providers have merely added IP onto their legacy solutions. The architecture pre-dates the IP age, leaving consumers with continual maintenance of aging infrastructure and keeping phase with the business requirements in growth and expansion.

Most telephony providers still offer solutions that work like independent silos. Each site is only responsible for its own telephony functionality.

Features like voice, voicemail, fax and instant messaging, to name a few, in most cases require dedicated infrastructure. Duplication of telephony infrastructure at each site still remains the only way to offer redundancy.

One telephony provider addressed these challenges by designing their IP telephony solution from the ground up to run simply as another service on an IT Network.

After more than two decades of ground-breaking and innovative design, ShoreTel is the fastest growing mid-market UC provider in North America (Gardner Report).

In addition to this ShoreTel have been crowned Technology Provider of the Year in the European IT and Software Excellence awards.

ShoreTel has designed this innovative unified communications platform based on a truly unique and distributed architecture that is purposed build with no single point of failure.

This architecture incorporates a switch-based hardware platform that makes each switch and sites an independent call processor, which continues to operate seamlessly in the event of a wide area network (WAN) failure. The result is a single image system across all locations with complete feature transparency and integration of all call control, voice mail, auto attendant (AA) and automatic call distribution (ACD).

ShoreTel’s product offering can be deployed as an on-site, cloud or hybrid solution. From basic IP Telephony right through to a feature rich Contact Centre, ShoreTel uniquely distributed architecture means never again having to replace telephony infrastructure at the expense of growth.

ShoreTel recommends using Elingo as the preferred local vendor and ShoreTel partner.