9 Steps to Optimize your Network for VOIP

9 Steps to optimize your Network for VOIP

VOIP services are taking internet telephony to the next level; businesses are more likely to use VOIP services to communicate and grow with ease.
In 2020, many IT professionals encountered challenges managing business phone services. Since much of your corporate communication is now happening through unmanaged home networks, shifting to a dispersed model necessitates not just a thorough restructuring of how your phone system is structured but also adds network layer problems.

That’s challenging enough for basic voice calls, never alone the other communication features that these providers typically offer , such as Voip UK Landline, group chat, conference calls, video calls, and even electronic faxing. This presents significant challenges for VoIP-burdened administrators, especially those launching a new VoIP service or entering the field for the first time.
IT professionals should begin the new year by evaluating several key networking strategies that can mean the difference between clear conversations and sudden hang-ups or intelligible call experiences, as these challenges appear likely to persist for most companies at least through the first half of 2021/22, and likely well beyond that point for many organizations.
Changes to the physical layout of central offices equipped with VoIP technology are likely. If your company’s IT department hasn’t established a strategy or minimum specifications for your home router, the people in charge of VoIP or streaming-heavy workloads surely will.

When we’re talking about dozens of individual home and cheap Wi-Fi routers rather than a centralized business network, things get a lot more complicated. Unlike most residential VoIP providers, those catering to businesses provide a wider range of administrative controls for their customers’ phone systems.

1. Typically, what sorts of calls does your company make?
2. Test your Cabling
3. Devise a Better Power Plan
4. Explore the VLAN Option
5. To Control Traffic, Use Access Point Handoff
6. Flex your Firewall
7. Test your Router
8. Assess your Traffic Prioritization
9. Should You Use a VPN to Make VoIP Calls?9 Steps to optimize your Network for VOIP

1. Typically, what sorts of calls does your company make?
Firstly you need to figure out what types of calls your company makes to understand how you can optimize your business phone services.
There’s some groundwork before we go into the nuts and bolts of networking. You should first identify the most common causes of phone calls to your business. Do you make many phone-based sales? Take care of many internal or external customers at a support desk? Do most of your employees spend their days in an office or the field? Also, a major question is whether or not chat is replacing some once voice-only interactions. The first step in selecting the features you’ll want in phone service and deciding how to implement them is to figure out the fundamental blueprint of how your organization communicates.

With this knowledge, you can start eliminating prospective VoIP service providers and hardware solutions. If you want to give your workers the convenience of making and receiving calls without leaving their desks, you may invest in dedicated VoIP phones. VoIP also allows you to make calls from your computer without needing a physical phone. As a result of this method, VoIP calls can also be made from smartphones. Choose which of these destinations you’ll use immediately, if not all of them. Peterson suggested thinking about the network in more depth before making a decision.

2. Test your Cabling:
It goes without saying that to connect all of your devices to the internet, you will need Ethernet cables; but, because you are switching to VoIP, you will need to ensure you have enough and the proper kind. Peterson says that if you can afford Cat 6 cables, you should get them. This type of cable can transmit data at 250 MHz, which is fast enough to handle 10GbE at distances of up to 328 feet. One thousand feet will run you between $90 and $170. Remember that if you want to run an Ethernet network that fasts, you’ll probably also need to upgrade your networking hardware. Common small and medium-sized business network devices only support one gigabit of data transfer speed by default. When upgrading to a network capable of handling 10 Gbps traffic, it is worthwhile to investigate alternatives to Ethernet, particularly fiber, due to the inherent dependability and fine-tuning challenges that come with such a fast connection.

3. Devise a Better Power Plan:
Most suppliers recommend Power over Ethernet as the simplest method to supply juice to VoIP phones (PoE). Power over Ethernet (PoE) supplies power to devices over an Ethernet network rather than via an external power supply. For phones, that means anything from the computer next to them to the router or switch in a hall closet. While the concept may seem foreign to outsiders, the chances are good that you’re surrounded by examples of PoE right now. Security cameras, wireless access points installed in the ceiling and even LED lighting benefit from PoE in commercial settings.

With PoE, there are actually two challenges to overcome. That said, you’ll need compatible hardware first. Everything involved in the power delivery or consumption chain should ideally be PoE-enabled. It’s vendor-neutral, so you may use any hardware you like, but as is usually the case in networking, it’s best to stick with the same manufacturer.

4. Explore the VLAN Option:
Multiple items are vying for access to your network’s limited storage space. Everything from the websites your employees access to the databases they query and the customer relationship management (CRM) records they create all use the same wires. If a packet is lost or arrives at its destination a little late, it’s not a major concern for the software because the network has mechanisms that allow data to “repair” itself. However, voice is an exception because it requires instantaneous processing. If the final words of your sales pitch arrive late, they will be dropped entirely, leaving your buyer with nothing but static. Network administrators and VoIP service providers can set up your network to prevent this from happening. Virtual LAN is one of the most well-known examples (VLAN).

Creating one of these works on the same principle as creating a virtual PC “inside” your actual computer, only in this case, the “inside” is a network. You can think of it as a subset of your network’s cabling (or “pipe space”) being administered independently and handling its own traffic. This is helpful for voice-over IP (VoIP) since there is far less chance of packet loss or other problems if VoIP is the only type of traffic traversing the VLAN. When someone starts downloading a large file, VLANs allow you to re-distribute voice network traffic into its own secured region, preventing calls from being dropped. Phone and video calls can be managed independently of other network traffic on a separate virtual local area network (VLAN).

5. To Control Traffic, Use Access Point Handoff:
The flexibility mobile VoIP provides for specific jobs, and the cost savings in data transfer make it an attractive option for many businesses. In essence, this is achieved by having your company-issued mobile devices switch to using your Wi-Fi network for voice calls anytime they are in the range of your on-premises network. But many of the difficulties for network administrators when they increase voice traffic to their wired network also arise when that traffic shifts to wireless.

“Traditional Wi-Fi networks are often a small managed system built for laptops and tablets, not for voice and video,” Peterson explained. In light of this disparity, you must assess your network to learn how many calls your wireless connection can handle at once. Peterson suggests a managed Wi-Fi system that allows access point (AP) handoff if a single network is overwhelmed. This function aids network administrators in ensuring a seamless traffic handoff as mobile devices migrate from one access point to another. If that last tweak isn’t made, your call quality could take a nosedive, if not completely severed. He also recommends a system configured for reduced packet sizes and a local or cloud-based controller with manual access point control capabilities.

6. Flex your Firewall:
Peterson says to be skeptical of a vendor’s claimed top throughput. He explained, “This is not enough of a standard for how much material you can drive past a firewall. Suppose you don’t have somebody on staff who is familiar with the distinction between media and data traffic. In that case, you can always ask for assistance from a third party, such as Iconoffices, RingCentral, or Intermedia.
If you’re technically aware, you should know that Peterson suggests employing software-defined firewalls. These firewalls filter internal data traffic and packets in addition to data traffic. Naturally, this requires constructing a software-defined network on top of your existing physical network, which requires its own set of considerations and procedures.

7. Test your Router:
Check to see if your router has traffic shaping and policy-based management features. Since this allows you to prioritize audio and video data on the network, it can significantly reduce the complexity and burden on your already overworked IT administrators.

He explained that one of every five users would be on a voice call at 1 Mbps, and one of every seven users would be participating in a 100 Mbps video conference. Multiply the number of simultaneous voice, and video calls your company’s employees to make by at least five. That’s how many megabits per second of data flow your router can handle without stuttering. If you decide to use mobile VoIP connectivity, you will encounter the same problems on your wireless network.

8. Assess your Traffic Prioritization:
The importance of voice traffic on a data network is immediately realized, as was noted above. A customer being abruptly cut off or your sales pitch is reduced to a string of incomprehensible bleeps and blurps are two examples of how quickly a good sales call can go south. To sum up, speech communication requires greater protection than application traffic because the latter is more resilient to delay, jitter, and other network traffic concerns.

We’ve discussed how using virtual LANs (VLANs) wisely is a great approach to secure data transmissions, but more choices are available to you if your router and other network architecture allow for it. Regarding customer satisfaction, high standards of service consistently rank high (QoS). Although this technology is based on established norms, its precise implementation may vary depending on the specific routers and switches used on a given network. If your IT manager recommends QoS instead of a VLAN, you should consult with both your internal IT team and your VoIP service provider. Work out a brief but thorough test of these features on your existing network infrastructure during that chat, and replace or update as necessary before launching VoIP in production.

9. Should You Use a VPN to Make VoIP Calls?
VoIP is an established technology that, like many others, was created without security being a top priority. The Session Initiation Protocol, which VoIP relies on for transport, is a potential security risk (SIP). One of the best ways to protect SIP communications is to tunnel them through a VPN, encrypting the data as it travels (VPN).

This may be simple for a single call, but complications quickly arise when applied to a large number of calls in a commercial setting. Test VPN solutions under load to ensure you’re not sacrificing call quality for added security and only consider solutions from suppliers with experience securing VoIP traffic.

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