Businessman working in his office with computers and business papers on table. Young entrepreneur looking behind holding the receiver while on call at his office desk.
Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, allows for traditional telephone services to operate via internet connectivity. VoIP is an affordable, easy-to-install and innovative alternative to conventional landline systems. Remember, however, that it relies on a sturdy network connection in order to perform optimally. If you’re planning to deploy this system in your workspace, make sure you optimise your network properly in preparation. Here are some tips on how to achieve this.
Determine the reason for your calls
Does your company make a lot of sales-related calls? Are your employees always at their desks or usually out of the office? Is there a big help desk onsite? Answering questions like these will help you figure out exactly how your business communicates via a telephone system. This in turn will assist you in deciding what VoIP devices your company will require, as well as how many.
You might need a VoIP phone for every single one of your employees so they can easily make calls from their desk. You might need just one or two VoIP phones. You might not even need a phone, as VoIP enables you to make calls using your computer and other data-driven devices. Knowing the type and amount of devices you’ll require will help you make a more informed decision regarding VoIP for your company.
Evaluate your wide area network (WAN) connection
Remember to designate the correct amount of bandwidth for your VoIP service to perform to the optimal level. Your bandwidth requirements will depend on the number of VoIP devices you want to install and the number of concurrent calls that you’ll be making. For example, the recommended bandwidth for one concurrent VoIP call is between 85 and 100 kilobytes per second (Kbps), so 10 concurrent calls would require about 1 megabyte per second (Mbps).
Consider your cables
When you install VoIP in your office, make sure you have the sufficient amount of cables as well as the right kind of cables. You can choose between telephone wire cables and Ethernet cables. Each type of cable comes in two varieties. If you want telephone cables then you can choose between the following:
Line cords, which carry different types of data and are also used for alarm systems, fax machines and credit card machines
Handset cords, which are used on every corded phone, including IP phones
If, however, you’ve decided on Ethernet cables then you’ll have these two options instead:
Category 5 or ‘Cat5’ cables, which can handle Ethernet speeds of up to 100 megabytes per second
Category 6 or ‘Cat6’ cables, which are designed to handle gigabit speeds of up to 2000 megabytes per second
Of course, your choice of cable will depend mostly on what your company can afford, but it is recommended that you have ‘Cat6’ capability if you are installing VoIP. This is because of the capacity for speed that ‘Cat6’ cables guarantee. At the very least, you should ideally choose Ethernet cables, as these allow for a greater bandwidth than telephone cables.
Use a VLAN
If you have various different services operating on one network then the performance of an important application like VoIP might be impacted. This is where virtual local area networks, or VLANs come to the rescue. These networks can help you prioritise data traffic for specific tools or applications that might be vulnerable to network delays. They can help improve the performance of your VoIP system and maintain the quality of your service. You don’t want to risk dropped calls, latency or any other kind of mishap.
VoIP is a robust tool that will help to streamline and strengthen your business communications. Just make sure your company’s network is properly optimised before deploying a VoIP system in your office. Know why you’re making use of this technology before you opt for it, check your WAN connection, use the right type and amount of cables, and take advantage of a VLAN to ensure optimal performance.