Table of Contents
TIPS ON DEPLOYING ENTERPRISE VOIP
VoIP deployments continue to gather momentum, but enterprise users face daunting challenges and considerations. Our research and review of the most prevalent expert-level recommendations could help avoid unnecessary issues on the path to deployment.
ASSESS YOUR NETWORK AND SECURITY INFRASTRUCTURE.
Are firewalls, IDSes, and VPNs optimized for voice and advanced security compliance? Network requirements for VOIP are necessarily advanced to maintain a proper level of security. Your current or former traditional “static policy rules” are essentially inadequate for robust VoIP traffic control. Advanced protocols will dynamically allocate ports during call setup, requiring the opening and closing of ports at the security gateway on the demand level. Inspection of VoIP traffic at the network layer and the application level is necessary to deal with the challenges of VoIP protocols in Network Address Translation (NAT) environments. Bandwidth, latency, and quality of service also become critical requirements for network and security infrastructure when processing multiple simultaneous voice streams.
ANALYZE YOUR ENTERPRISE RISKS TO ENDPOINT SECURITY
Will your proposed system present a risk to your enterprise customers? Will it risk your reputation?
Lowering telecommunications costs is a major justification for VoIP deployments. This is especially prevalent since there are many newer innovative services that traditional telecom providers don’t provide. It’s also a major reason Solutions Integrators are tasked with delivering solutions for this type of service. Unfortunately, many Solutions Integrators have minimal control over the VoIP SPs to connect Enterprise customers.
When it comes to security, shortcuts are tempting but should be avoided. The way to go is to implement a trusted, credible, tested, and proven VoIP SP partnership. Next, build a rapport with the VoIP SP, and establish a dialog about your security expectations and the confidence you will expect in their products, services, and voice QOS level.
ESTABLISH ACCURATE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES FOR VOIP SETUP AND DEPLOYMENT
Most Enterprise customers are likely aware that VoIP provides an Internet Protocol handset where a group of facilities is utilized to operate and transmit voice data via the Internet. Most importantly, you must have a credible, interoperability-tested, and proven VoIP SP partner that you trust. Establish a rapport with the VoIP SP, then build confidence in their products, services, and voice QOS level. Maintaining this relationship and knowing that the service will benefit all enterprise stakeholders is equally important. Solutions Integrators can further enhance their credibility by providing Business Case Studies of their deployments that document their offering to more enterprises. Establishing confidence is key.
ANALYZE VOIP COSTS AND BENEFITS VS. CONVENTIONAL PUBLIC SWITCHED TELEPHONE NETWORKS
With VoIP, international calls are not expensive. Also, VoIP provides voice coding techniques that are acceptable for all networks. When done right, VoIP offers confidentiality and security in communications. It also uses cryptography and encryption methods to provide security for voice communications. It’s interesting to note that VoIP was originally introduced in voice communication to overcome the problems in circuit-switched networks. Switching to an IP-based communications system increases productivity and allows time to focus on more important business matters than IT. Enterprise users can spend less on travel by using online conferencing and other robust tools for better collaboration. Employees will have more ways to stay connected with easier ways to maintain access to the network, whether at work or home. Using a VOIP client, users can select region codes and telephone numbers.
VOIP COMPONENTS AND THEIR REQUIREMENTS
The main network components of VoIP are equal in function to the switched network of the circuit. VoIP networks should handle all of the functions PSTN does and also be able to perform the function of the gateway to the existing public network. VoIP architecture involves many components that aid in communication. The components are:
1. ETHERNET SWITCH:
The Ethernet Switch receives the data and checks for the data or voice before passing it to the destination. The home, office, or college computer networks transfer data using the Ethernet protocol. This switch is essential for the customer’s network, making the connection process easier.
The device changes fax and voice calls in real time between the PSTN and an IP network. The most important functions of a VoIP gateway include voice and fax compression/decompression, call routing, and control signaling. Some features include interfaces to external controllers, such as Soft switches or Gatekeepers and billing systems.
A router is a device in computer networking that forwards data packets to their destinations based on their addresses. The work done by a router is called routing, which is somewhat like switching, but a router is different from a switch. The latter is simply a device to connect machines to form a LAN.
– Firewall: A firewall is a small part of the software mixed with hardware in some situations to protect from unauthorized access to a private network. A firewall normally blocks useless traffic data from inside to outside the network and vice versa.
WHAT NETWORK DESIGN SKILLS AND TOOLS ARE REQUIRED FOR SUCCESSFUL ENTERPRISE DEPLOYMENTS?
The network design aspects should be accomplished so that future technologies are easily and seamlessly integrated. But there are always issues while dealing with a voice transmission. The network infrastructure is the major factor that contributes to the VOIP architecture in an organization. Delays are usually present in the VOIP network architecture, and it’s one of the main criteria for VOIP network performance. The delay depends upon various factors like network setup, the distance between the caller and receiver, the total number of users accessing the network, the type of network in use, and the deployed equipment.
There are many call monitoring and management tools to consider in system designs, both software and hardware-based. Hardware-based tools can be expensive and difficult to deploy. Monitoring software is best utilized, including call recording, monitoring call conversations, VoIP call center functions, call recording backup, remote access, reporting with graphic displays of call activity, and others to deliver high quality. All software and hardware concepts should be analyzed during the network design phase.
The hardware components should be given greater importance since they are usually more difficult to deploy, take longer, are expensive, and become obsolete. The basic hardware components, including routers, gateways, and other participating devices, are configured accordingly. Sometimes a phenomenon known as “jittering” can be caused due to time variations and improper routing techniques. Routers are also configured accordingly to minimize the jittering effect.
IMPACT OF VOIP DEPLOYMENT
Maintaining different networks can be expensive at the beginning of deployment and while the system is functioning. Other than cost-cutting and staff reductions, running data and voice on a single network will provide a certain level of uniform service with Enterprise level communication. This leads to further business applications like unified messaging, which combines data, video, and voice. The network must be able to control both data and voice to maintain quality. Other important considerations that can be considered are flexibility, scalability, and reliability of the network. VoIP gives Enterprise users many choices, including checking phone calls through a computer while traveling or having an email sent every time for a new voicemail message.
VoIP can be deployed in many different network segments. It has been mostly deployed in the backbone and for enterprise networks. Deploying VoIP as an end-to-end Next-Generation Network solution introduces additional constraints and resulting issues. Many additional components are being developed daily to increase the effectiveness of VoIP architecture and the systems deploying VoIP. VoIP architecture and systems can be limited to work not more than two systems, with many of the business departments of the Enterprise striving hard to implement the VoIP architecture between different networks. In many common situations, the proposed architecture consists of the following:
1. PBX REPLACEMENT:
Various platforms are available to interface a system onto a voice network, including the Intel architecture and the acceptance of a PBX replacement to be built using available components. Linux creates an ideal platform for this type of hardware due to its inherent stability, as well as being able to provide for the magnified network capabilities that a VoIP installation requires, including QoS at the 802.11 VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) and IP level support for segmentation of an Ethernet network.
2. MEDIA SERVERS:
A media server processes and generates media streams in a Packet cable environment and other VoIP networks. In the Internet and online communication, the media server processes all multimedia applications, such as call distribution, on-demand faxing, email programs, etc. In VoIP-specific applications, the media server handles all functions related to tasks such as decoding tones, bridging multiple streams, processing scripts, and recording audio.
A Gatekeeper provides communication for clients. These are specific clients that use Gatekeeper-compliant applications. Net Meeting is an application example. The Gatekeeper receives client requests and then checks whether the requests are authorized or not. The Gatekeeper routes the request to the proper address if they are authorized.
VoIP functions better when compared to other technologies since architecture designers take more steps while designing VoIP architecture by including various technologies and techniques.
QUALITY OF SERVICE (QOS)
Benefits like cheaper call rates, mobility, and wireless features are typically expected from the high-quality service for VOIP. Traffic is one of the main areas that deserves focus and high consideration. The things to be considered in the VOIP transmission are end-to-end delay and packet loss, including end-to-end packet delays such as coding, packet, and network delay.
Recommended guidelines for providing a better QoS to Enterprise clients:
- Packet loss should be less than one percent
- One-way latency must be inside 150ms
- Jitter should be lesser than 30m
IMPACT OF DIFFERENT CARRIER TECHNOLOGIES ON VOIP SYSTEM EFFECTIVENESS
VoIP has existed for years and has already faced many challenges with emerging and existing technologies. Many carrier technologies have an impact on VoIP, positively or negatively. Among the technologies always assessed are Wi-Fi and Wi-Max. Wi-Fi, or wireless fidelity, is an established and mainstream technology that wirelessly allows wireless connectivity between two or more devices for data-sharing purposes. Wi-Fi is a mobile connectivity technology for businesses, individuals, or long-distance. The voice traffic is highly sensitive to latency and frame loss; users are immediately aware of the disturbances and are intolerant of a small degradation in voice call quality. During the design aspect of the VoWi-Fi networks, all the worst-case scenarios should be considered at their most vulnerable initial points. The bandwidth of the spectrum is reduced while using VoWi-Fi. The disadvantages of Wi-Fi married to VoIP can be severe if the deployment is not carefully planned. As a result, during the design aspect of VOIP, all of the worst-case scenarios, like degradation in voice quality and other factors, should always be considered.
The bottom line is that you must be mindful of all issues and considerations affecting your Enterprise VoIP deployment. The planned deployment need not be complex or issue-plagued as long as due diligence is undertaken. Good luck!