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VoIP hardware is hot-ticket item among IT pros

More IT pros are shopping for VoIP hardware than for software-based telephony clients for the PC and mobile devices, a TechTarget survey shows.

A large majority of IT professionals are shopping for VoIP phones, an indication that the shift to IP-based telephony from Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTNs) is in full swing, according to a recent TechTarget survey.

In the survey of 358 IT pros, more than 80% intended to go with hardware in the next 12 months by purchasing IP phones, while almost six in 10 said they plan to buy software-based telephony clients that run on the PC.  

The survey, which focused on intended voice over IP purchases, also found that roughly half of the respondents were looking for software-based IP clients for mobile devices.

Over the last half-dozen years, an increasing number of businesses have been replacing their PSTN connections with less expensive VoIP alternatives. The pace of the switch has sped up as the quality of VoIP calls have improved and carriers like AT&T have switched to IP networks.

Choosing a VoIP provider

The majority of respondents -- seven in 10 -- said they would choose a VoIP provider based on the network infrastructure within their respective companies, the survey found. The closest other determinant was the legacy PBX vendor, which was important to 30% of respondents.

Other factors that mattered, such as their companies’ video or mobile phone providers, were chosen by less than 20% of IT pros.

Almost 65% of respondents said reducing telecom costs was the main driver for switching to VoIP. Cost savings from operational efficiencies, the second biggest VoIP driver, was chosen by 60% of IT pros.

Other deciding factors -- including implementation of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking, development of IP phone-based applications and call center improvements -- were selected by 35% to 40% of respondents.

SIP trunking and VoIP

SIP trunking and VoIP are the cornerstones of IP telephony. VoIP is often implemented alone, however.

While VoIP can run over a SIP trunk, if the latter is not available, IP calls can be routed over existing PBX trunks via a media gateway. SIP trunks are required to take full advantage of VoIP's capabilities.

More than six in 10 IT pros said they would consider Cisco as their VoIP vendor. Roughly four in 10 chose Microsoft, and 32% chose Avaya Inc. Polycom came in fourth at 17%, followed by Mitel Networks, ShoreTel and Unify.

Because VoIP is an Internet-based technology, security has to be added. Vulnerabilities that criminals can exploit are found at the protocol, application and implementation levels.

Successful attackers can listen in on conversations or gain remote control access of the computer running a VoIP application. Best practices for securing VoIP are available through the VoIP Security Alliance.

Next Steps

Knowing the ins and outs of VoIP

Getting the best practices for implementing VoIP

A how-to guide on VoIP over WAN

Dig Deeper on IP Telephony Systems

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