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Voice Over Internet Protocol: Technology Introduction

Introduction

The principles of IP telephony are based on transferring the voice using the Internet Protocol, which is currently considered the most perspective and used protocol for data transfer over the networks. The world market for IP telephony is actively developing and currently, VoIP (Voice-over-IP) technology is supported by almost all companies producing communication equipment. There are many benefits for the company upgrading their communication system to VoIP, but there are many issues to consider in that matter. Thus, this paper proposes an upgrade solution for VoIP, outlining the main considerations and benefits of switching to such a system.

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Benefits

The main advantage of switching to VoIP is directly related to costs savings. Such savings can be apparent in various ways, where in addition to the cost reduction in long-distance and international phone calls, the cost-saving factor can be seen in aspects such as:

  • Consolidating voice and data networks, resulting in fewer circuits needed
  • Staff reduction, as one department can handle the integrated voice and data network
  • Costs related to moving a station or adding a user, as there is no need to use the services of external vendors or providers (ShoreTel, 2007)

Additionally, with the reduction in costs comes an increase in capabilities that the new system will offer. The capabilities include the additional services available for VoIP users such as video calls, hunt groups, conference calls, re-routing calls, etc, as well as increased flexibility, facilitation of expansion, and quality of voice. (LeClair, 2009; ShoreTel, 2007).

Requirements

The requirements for the upgrade include several common components, which are not dependent on the selected vendor. Nevertheless, the selection of vendor is also a critical issue, which is dependant on the current size of the company, and accordingly the software selection. Other requirements include a modern switched Ethernet network (Latamore, 2007). Although Ethernet networks are installed in almost every company, the bandwidth of the network is an essential criterion that influences the number of simultaneous calls, the quality of voice, and the response time between calls (ShoreTel, 2007).

Other technical requirements, based on the type and the complexity of the upgraded solution, might include “voice switches, media gateways, communication servers, wireless telephones, communication applications, and more” (ShoreTel, 2007).

Considerations in Conversion Process

Areas of consideration, in addition to the assessment of the systems’ requirements, include such aspects as the necessity to support analog phone lines. This consideration can be based on the availability of the power backup systems, wherein in the case of electricity cutoffs, PSTN systems might continue to function, along with the possibility to use them in other tasks. In terms of cutoffs, it should be mentioned that the dependency on the internet as a carrier puts specific requirements for the internet service provider, specifically in terms of stability.

The size of the company can determine the methods of implementing VoIP upgrades, where the company should decide whether it is sufficient to dispense without high-cost vendor products or use low-cost software such as Skype (Greene, 2009).

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One concern of using Skype, and accordingly a factor that should be considered when upgrading can be seen through the issue of security. Special security precautions should be implemented in the network to prevent such threats as network-based attacks, phone service theft, eavesdropping, and power failures (ShoreTel, 2007). In terms of support, it can be seen that the maintenance of the new system can be performed by the existing IT department in the company, and thus the only training that might be needed can be related to vendor-specific equipment installed in the system.

Additionally, the costs of the upgrade are dependant on the existent infrastructure, the chosen provider, the usage of VoIP phones or hands-free devices, and other factors. These factors create flexibility in choice, where the costs might differ substantially, and thus, each company can upgrade to a VoIP system based on its capabilities and resources. In general, because a company might be spending hundreds of thousands on traveling expenses, international calls, and training the communication department staff, with the upgrade such costs can be compensated in the long term.

Conclusion

It can be concluded that a switch to VoIP telephony can be an important decision of a strategic nature, where the company might add new capabilities to their system of communication. Adding to the costs saving factor, and the constant developments in this area, such an upgrade should be recommended.

References

Greene, T. (2009). Skype Upgrade Simplifies VoIP Video Calls. PC World. Web.

Latamore, B. (2007). Tips for a successful VoIP conversion. Computer World. Web.

LeClair, L. (2009). Voip has come a long way; its worth considering now. AZBIZ.

ShoreTel (2007). IP Telephony from A to Z (ebook ed.): ShoreTel.

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