That Buzz You Hear Is Voice over IP
After years of talk, the Voice over Internet Protocol is becoming a viable telephony option that network managers are either addressing now or soon will have to address. Just how ready is VoIP, and where does its implementation make sense?
The idea behind VoIP is simple. If you have corporate data running all around the organization on a LAN, and between sites on a WAN, then why not packetize your voice traffic and send it over the IP infrastructure instead of using dedicated switched voice circuits?
Charles Burns, Amicus, on VoIP implementation.
Is your company likely to benefit from VoIP? It depends. "IP telephony works really well in some situations, but not in others," said Roger Jones, business development director at Basking Ridge, N.J.-based communications company Avaya. "If you have a mid-sized organization with 500 people in a single headquarters with existing voice infrastructure, would introducing VoIP add anything? Probably not."
It's more likely to benefit organizations with one or two large sites and many smaller ones, or organizations with many remote workers, Jones said. In these cases, it's likely that the large offices have relatively sophisticated telephone switches with advanced telephony features, while the small branch offices have far less feature-rich ones that need managing and maintaining none the less.
With a VoIP infrastructure, this whole architecture can be changed. The functionality of the main office's PBX can be extended to all the branches, because it acts like a server offering telephony features to each branch over the IP network. Features such as conferencing and short-dial calling can therefore be made available to everyone, regardless of their location, and only one central voice messaging system is required for the entire organization.