8 factors that SMBs need to consider when implementing VoIP​

8 factors that SMBs need to consider when implementing VoIP​

Bringing a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) to your infrastructure can bring with it a number of benefits to your business, but it is not something that should ever be rushed into as there are always consequences for not getting it right.

Is your system up to it?

VoIP is always going to place extra strain on a company's infrastructure, so it is essential to ensure your network is up to the task of handling the extra traffic.

When examining their network administrators should examine whether the network infrastructure has sufficient capacity to handle both data and voice traffic during peak periods.

By assessing your system in this way with the help of a VoIP service provider, like Arrow, it helps to prevent packet loss and jitter that can often plague systems that have not been planned properly.

What system will you go for?

The assessment of your network is not only good for deciding if it is capable of handling the demands of VoIP, but it is also an important part of helping to decide what type of VoIP platform is right for your business.

For example, companies may opt to segment their VoIP equipment into a separate virtual network, or VLAN, as a way of separating internal voice traffic from data traffic.

There's also the question of whether to go hosted or on-premise.

What are the current and future needs of your business?

Even when you have decided on the type of your system and assessed the impact of VoIP on your system, businesses still need to consider their needs in the present and the future.

Companies need to examine their objectives and any plans for expansion, as well as the estimated rate of growth. All of these are variables that can potentially have an impact on a firm's infrastructure.

Managed

By using a third-party provider to deliver the hardware, software and technical expertise, it makes it an excellent platform for firms looking to avoid costs, risks and subsequent IT headaches that may arise when using an on-premise VoIP solution, with such areas covered by a third-party expert, which minimises stress and effort.

Hosted

Alternatively companies may decide to opt for a hosted VoIP platform, which sees traffic routed over the PSTN (public switched telephone network) to a hosted-PBX system.

Hosted VoIP is very popular with smaller firms due to the fact that it does not require a massive amount of IT resources, nor does it burn a large hole in the pocket. Again there is a minimal level of fuss due to the fact that problems are monitored and addressed by experts.

On-premise

There is still a place for an on-premise VoIP system, particularly when it comes to larger enterprises, many of which have the resources and the capital capable of handling demands that come with the equipment, installation and maintenance of their own system.  The initial outlay on an on-premise system is much greater, but the lack of monthly fees means it can prove to be a financially viable option for larger companies.

Firewalls

There is no point setting up a great VoIP system if users are simply going to be foiled time and time again by existing firewalls. Network administrators should always ensure a company's firewalls, which often need in-depth reconfiguration, are adjusted to ensure an uninterrupted flow of data traffic.

Always test your system

It's no use assuming your system is always going to be running at its highest possible capacity. There are always going to be times when things are not functioning as they should. Testing your infrastructure is therefore essential, so network administrators should always think about how best to test out their system and prepare accordingly. This point is especially important for those that opt for an on-premise solution, as many hosted and managed VoIP platforms will carry out such tests for you.