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VoIP Migration Doesn't Need to Happen All at Once

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November 15, 2013

VoIP Migration Doesn't Need to Happen All at Once

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Many businesses are watching closely as their partners and competitors make the switch to voice-over-IP (VoIP) business phone systems.

VoIP is taking the world by storm, with a projected compound annual growth rate of 7 percent globally over the next several years. It is currently a $33 billion industry. Businesses are moving over to VoIP in droves.

But for many organizations, making a complete break from their existing business phone systems is too abrupt. There’s a need for a gradual transition.

Making that possible are session initiation protocol (SIP)-enabled paging endpoints such as SIP speakers, SIP-enabled IP intercoms and notification endpoints that can give visual alerts. These can be phased in gradually.

“Paging and intercom devices configure just like a VoIP phone with a web-based interface,” noted industry watcher Phil Lembo in a recent blog post. “Because they are PoE powered, they pass electrical power and data over one cable, providing a low-cost and more manageable alternative to traditional wiring.”

In the mean time, businesses can use SIP-enabled IP to analog paging endpoints that allow existing analog equipment to be used while they are slowly transitioning.

For delivery door or access control, for instance, the same wiring can be combined with the newer VoIP technology.

“You may have used a door phone,” noted Lembo. “Once the phone was answered, the user could use the keypad on the phone to open the door lock. Now with SIP-enabled intercoms you can install a variety of different types of outdoor or indoor ones that provide the same functions but are connected to the VoIP system just like a regular SIP phone.”

Another adjustment that can be made in time is solving the single network drop in the user’s cube. Since running a new network cable can be cost-prohibitive, instead you can either use a small network switch or the second network port that some phones have that can be connected to a PC.

Such network switches are often 4-port versions and require a remote power brick, but phones with an integrated switch usually are only 100Mb, which limits the PC’s speed. The issue can be solved with 2-port PoE Gigabit switches passing power to the attached phone and providing a Gigabit connection to the PC.

“This eliminates the AC power brick and makes a cleaner installation.”

All of this can be rolled out gradually once the basic VoIP system is in place. Eventually, you’ll be in just the right position to make the complete jump to a full IP telephony system.

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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