Setting up your network to ensure it’s VoIP ready is an essential task for all types of users. Whether you’re a small to medium-sized business or a large corporation, there are steps you should take to develop your network.
Successfully implementing a project of this magnitude requires constant awareness of networking challenges. In some cases, moving to VoIP might mean restructuring an entire physical office space; in other cases, it may mean upgrading ethernet cables.
Regardless of the size of changes, the key is to understand what steps you need to take to harden your network for VoIP deployments.
Let’s jump into those steps below.
Decide What Type of Calls Your Organization Will Make and How
Before jumping into hardware specs, the first step is to decide what type of calls your organization will make and how those calls will be made. For example, does your organization make primarily domestic or international calls? If global, what region is most important to support? Another critical consideration is whether your team will be making calls in-house or if team members will need mobile access to your VoIP network. Once you answer these questions, you’ll have a good grasp of your network requirements.
Invest in Hardware
If your organization does not have the current infrastructure to support a VoIP network or the existing hardware is antiquated, you may need to invest in upgraded hardware. Some hardware purchases include:
- Ethernet cables
- VoIP compatible telephones
- Conferencing video and audio equipment
- Licensed software for mobile devices
- Power supplies and backup power supplies
- POE cables if required
Hardware and software procurement decisions will depend mainly on the size of your organization, your business’ physical location, and the complexity of your network.
Manage Your Network Traffic
If you are a small to medium-size business using softphones as opposed to hardphones, managing a VLAN may not be a huge concern for you as cloud service providers typically manage your network traffic. However, with any service provider, it’s essential to understand how they will handle your network’s estimated traffic.
However, many traditional brick and mortar businesses may not necessarily need softphone functionally. Instead, the primary concerns for managing your network will rely heavily on allocating network resources specifically to VoIP video and phone conferencing vs. other unrelated network usages like email or general internet usage.
Test Firewalls and Routers Routinely
If you don’t have a dedicated IT team or manager in your organization who can help you understand the VoIP landscape, then contact a professional. Firewalls and routing can be complex. However, at minimum, consider using software-defined firewalls designed to filter internal data and packets.
Monitor Virtual Private Networks
Virtual Private Networks or VPNs are typically used by most smart companies to protect internal and external communications and data. Using a Virtual Private Network is a smart move since VoIP operates over internet protocol, it’s also subject to IP security challenges. Consequently, the use of a VPN helps harden your network. However, implementing VPN use is not enough. Be sure to monitor VPN usage to determine if any attacks have been blocked or any existing threats exist.
Monitor Traffic Use
Once you are wholly reliant on VoIP for communication, your company will begin to understand how important bandwidth and bandwidth allocation is. Much like a financial manager, it’s important to allocate bandwidth responsibly. If not allocated properly, calls will fail or result in extremely poor quality.
Create a Manageable Process
As you’ve noticed, there are more than a couple of crucial steps to manage on your way to a reliable network for VoIP. However, it’s important to remember these steps will require time and a manageable process. If you need help crafting a custom infrastructure for your VoIP network, feel free to get in touch with Joon.