Before deploying VoIP consider this

VoIP is hitting the mainstream thanks to a multitude of benefits to enterprises. Find out more here.

Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) has created ongoing buzz as a continuous stream of companies have chosen to implement the solution. Beyond toll charge savings, VoIP offers a multitude of benefits to enterprises including the ability to offer enhanced applications to employees, customers, and partners, extending the capabilities and functionality available to an enterprise. Preparing your company to take advantage of these capabilities...

is crucial to maximizing the return on investment and ensuring a seamless transition between networks.

Until recently, VoIP related discussions focused on services available, deployment options and viability, but as implementations continue to roll out, concerns are quickly evolving. One concern that frequently surfaces is how to migrate existing phone applications from a public switched telephone network (PSTN) to a VoIP infrastructure.

Applications that reside on a PSTN, such as interactive voice response (IVR) systems, typically play an integral role in the day-to-day operation of a company. The ability to quickly and easily migrate applications to an IP network is imperative to ensuring a successful VoIP deployment that meets expectations and needs. Rather than face this concern in the eleventh hour, when planning your VoIP strategy consider the following tips regarding migrating applications to a VoIP network:

Determine the network features your company needs from an IP network
Many IP infrastructures are not as feature-rich as PSTN switches. Establish which features, from the telephony and application perspective, are necessary to meet your organization's needs, such as transfer and conference capabilities. Select an IP network that offers these capabilities.

Determine bandwidth needs
Many people think of bandwidth needs in terms of phone sets dependent on the network, leaving application requirements out of the provisioning equation. Be sure to take into account application loading when determining the amount of bandwidth needed to transport voice.

Make sure application platforms integrate with the VoIP platform
You'll eliminate many headaches if you ensure that your application platform integrates with your VoIP platform. Utilize a development platform that allows you to build and deploy applications in a VoIP infrastructure or PSTN, enabling easy migration between the two. In addition, if you expect to handle frequent or staged updates to your applications, you should consider using a rapid application development environment to ensure that you can quickly and cost-effectively make changes to your applications.

Consider the important role of security
Network security is an important issue to consider when implementing VoIP. Determine whether or not applications will be deployed within a corporate firewall. If you deploy applications outside the firewall, you may need to upgrade your equipment to ensure communication and data are secure.

About the author
Sanjeev Sawai is the vice president of research and development at Envox Worldwide (www.envox.com), a voice solutions provider and SearchEnterpriseVoice.com's Enterprise Application expert. With more than 15 years experience in the development of telecommunications and embedded systems, Sawai is responsible for investigating and evaluating new standards and emerging technologies in the voice solutions market.
This was first published in February 2005

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