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Preparing For A VoIP Phone System
First things first, you should determine what kind of calls you will make. You can invest in VoIP phones to be used at a desk, you can make VoIP calls directly from a computer, or you can make VoIP calls via smart phones. Before getting into networking details, you should determine which of these endpoints (if not all) you will provide for your employees.
Next, if you are switching to VoIP, you will need Ethernet cables to connect your devices to the internet, but be sure that you are purchasing the correct cables. If it is within your budget, Cat 6 Cables are a great choice as they can typically support 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) at 205 MHz for up to 328 feet. For a more affordable option, Cat 5e cables can support 100-MHz bandwidth. You will want to avoid using older Cat 3 cables, as their compatibility and capacity is not well-suited for VoIP.
To make sure your VoIP phones are receiving enough power, you want to invest in Power over Ethernet (PoE) cables. These allow devices that aren’t plugged into AC sources to obtain power from your internet. PoE is often used for surveillance cameras, ceiling-mounted access points, and even LED lights. If your Ethernet switch doesn’t allow for PoE, you can invest in a PoE Injector, which is an additional power source that can be used alongside non-PoE switches.
Manage Internet Traffic With A Dedicated VLAN
By building your network with a dedicated Virtual Local Area Network, you are able to better control and distribute network traffic to ensure minimal interruptions that may result in dropped voice or video calls. This method allows you to isolate and manage VoIP traffic without worrying about tertiary traffic.
Manage Wireless Traffic With Access Point Handoff
You should analyze your network and determine how many simultaneous calls your wireless connection can manage (Wi-Fi networks are mostly designed for laptops and tablets rather than voice and video). It is recommended that businesses use a managed Wi-Fi that supports access point (AP) handoff when one network is overloaded. Systems that are set for smaller packet sizes, on-premises or cloud-based controller that can manually control AP are other possible solutions.
If someone within your organization cannot help you determine the difference between media and data traffic, you should contact a professional. Software-defined firewalls are recommended as they are designed to filter internal data traffic and packets rather than just data traffic.
Determine whether or not your router has Packet Per Second (PPS) capability, which provides traffic shaping and policing, allowing you to prioritize voice and video data on your network. To determine how many Mbps of traffic your router should be able to manage, assume that one out of every five people will be on a 1 Mbps voice call, and one out of every seven will be on a video conference at 100 Mbps. Next, multiply the number of voice users at your company who will be on a voice call and a video call at any given moment, and then multiply that number by a minimum of five. If your router cannot support this minimum amount, you should consider upgrading to a router than can.
Considering all these aspects will help you make the best decisions about your new VoIP phone system. If you need more assistance, have any questions, or are looking for VoIP phones and equipment, please feel free to call 800-564-8045 or visit Startechtel.com. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.