Before deploying VoIP platforms, make sure you have the infrastructure to support your communications needs. Learn what factors influence the network technology you’ll need to support VoIP.
Whether you are simply performing a voice-over-IP refresh or getting ready for a complete redesign, it’s best to have a plan for what technology you have in place and what you want to accomplish.
Enterprises have many infrastructure considerations to take into account when planning to implement VoIP. New telecom service provider and cloud-based VoIP platforms and services are providing IT departments with more choices in terms of architecture, infrastructure, integration and end-user options.
When looking at the overall picture, put careful thought into public switched telephone network (PSTN) access, LAN and WAN preparedness, end-user connectivity and integration needs. Let’s look at all of the options.
Addressing access to the PSTN
When it comes to enterprise VoIP, you need to handle two different types of calls: on premises and off premises. On-premises calling commonly uses three- to five-digit extensions for calls within the same corporate IP-based LAN. If you want to dial outside of the company, off premises, you need to access the PSTN.
For decades, analog and digital plain old telephone service or T-carrier systems were the only options to connect to the PSTN. These technologies use communications protocols other than IP, which is the protocol modern enterprise networks use today. VoIP gateways are required to translate between the legacy telecom network and corporate LAN.
Some telephone companies, however, offer direct Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunks that transport voice natively in IP directly to the PSTN carrier. Network administrators no longer have to deal with expensive and complex T1 and T3 line cards in VoIP gateways.
Some enterprise cloud vendors now offer cloud services fully managed by a VoIP service provider. In these situations, off-premises PSTN connectivity can be through traditional SIP trunks or through a SIP connection built across the internet that uses standard broadband internet.
Keep in mind that if you decide to use the internet for PSTN access when you implement VoIP, you lose the ability to control quality of service (QoS). For organizations that consider voice communication a mission-critical service, it’s best to stick to legacy analog or digital telecom trunks or IP-based SIP connectivity options. Using the latest internet-based PSTN access means administrators no longer maintain VoIP infrastructure on premises, because it is fully managed by the cloud provider.