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Does implementing VoIP security affect the QoS? How would one handle it, if it does?

Does implementing VoIP security affect the QoS? How would one handle it, if it does?

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Yes, it does. This is a pretty broad question and I think you need to first focus in on your particular network and configuration. Routers, firewalls and security applications will impact QoS and stateful vs. stateless packet inspecting along with deep packet inspection that will make or break latency. There's an awful lot of "it depends," so in short, it does. Some IP/SIP phones and devices won't work real well under stateful inspection, thus the rules are thrown over to stateless. With unified communications (UC), many applications are calling for deep packet inspection. Security often translates into more latency and processing and keeping latency down is one objective. Voice packets want near real-time delivery vs. data packets that tolerate latency. With the advent of SIP trunking, keeping your data safe from your voice is equally important as keeping voice traffic safe from the day-to-day perils of data traffic.

This is where network assessment comes in, to not only uncover but to make scientific recommendations as to your specific network before deploying VoIP. So get it done before, again after changes, then after implementing VoIP/SIP telephony. Then, you must have something in place to monitor the network "ongoing" thereafter. Otherwise, your time will be spent chasing the phantoms and your original TCO will be ridden with holes and that means no promotions, pay raises or even retention.

This was first published in May 2009

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