I have heard that many hosted VoIP solutions are not really business-grade. What should we look for in a company to be sure they can handle enterprise level requirements?

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Things you should consider when choosing VoIP suppliers:

Choose experienced partners: Is the supplier experienced in PBXs, LANS, WANs and security?

Breadth and depth: Does the supplier have quality products, relationships with third parties and the ability to knit all the elements of the infrastructure together? Remember the old has to work with the new during transition.

Service support: Do they have professional service packages for assessment, design, implementation and cost benefit analysis?

Global or local: Can the supplier deal with a global company with local branch offices providing on-site support when needed?

Roadmap: Can the supplier support a step-by-step roadmap to full convergence to help you achieve a phased introduction to full IP telephony?

Check for interoperability: VoIP equipment from different providers is not always compatible. Using handsets from different vendors can degrade voice quality through repeated compression and decompression. Ensure VoIP equipment is backwards compatible with legacy voice equipment.

This was first published in September 2005

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