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IP telephony adoption rising, quality sagging

IP telephony adoption continues to grow, but service quality is lagging behind, according to a user survey from Psytechnics.

The number of companies using IP telephony and services related to it is continuing on a steady incline. The quality of the calls and services, however, is failing to catch up, according to a recent study.

Psytechnics Ltd., provider of voice, video and multimedia quality testing tools, released a study this month highlighting that call quality continues to fall short. The survey queried IP telephony users on the show floor of VoiceCon San Francisco last month.

According to the survey, more than 64% of respondents use some form of an IP telephony solution, and of those who do not have IP telephony deployed, 68% plan to roll it out within the next year.

And while enterprises continue to invest heavily in IP telephony technology, more than 60% said they have major concerns about quality levels, the survey found.

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Most respondents placed the blame on unreliable service providers and multi-vendor deployments, saying those were key to their IP telephone frustrations. As the number of IP telephony deployments continues to rise, so do the number of complaints about quality.

The survey found that 62% of enterprises questioned that use IP telephony have experienced poor quality in some form, blaming service providers or the challenge of managing multi-vendor networks as the cause.

Psytechnics uses the term quality of experience (QoE) to describe call quality. The company's CTO, Mike Hollier, said QoE tools can monitor at the network and application levels to identify and diagnose issues that affect quality and resolve performance issues quickly.

"We've encountered a number of enterprises that are suffering with voice performance problems that go undetected by typical IP QoS tools," he said. "In these instances, IP QoS tools indicate a green light, but end users are throwing up their hands in exasperation with voice application issues such as speech distortion, hiss and echo."

While the study found that IP telephony deployments have been on the rise, results showed that it will continue to grow, remaining top of mind for businesses in 2008. Fifty-seven percent of respondents indicated that IP telephony is their No. 1 communications investment priority for next year, while 33% said unified communications, which is a facet of IP telephony, will be a major initiative for 2008.

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