You’ve hear all the hype surrounding hosted VoIP, including the lower cost and increased productivity. You think you want to make the jump and migrate to this platform, but are you ready? Aptela (News - Alert) recently released a white paper that explored this option in a six-step guide to ensure a successful VoIP experience.
1. Determine High-Level Needs – before you can know for sure if your business will have a good experience with hosted VoIP, you need to measure your patterns of traffic and usage, your existing network capacity and your existing data bandwidth. Determine your calling habits; whether or not you need to intelligently route calls to multiple users; whether or not you have SIP phones and the necessary power and Ethernet ports at each employee location; and if you have an IP-savvy professional to assist with assessment and implementation.
2. Determine Current Capabilities – hosted VoIP and VoIP in general earn a bad reputation when call quality suffers, yet this is generally due to limited bandwidth within the local network. Assess your current environment and budget for your anticipated VoIP usage. Examine the current Internet access you use and be sure your ISP offers a business-grade service; opt for DSL if available; fiber optics can also deliver higher speed and greater consistency; and T1 offers substantial bandwidth. Also evaluate your current bidirectional bandwidth for all points of Internet traffic.
3. Verify Network Components and Readiness – you need to understand and have a picture of those components that can impact the quality of your hosted VoIP solution. Your gateway – provided by your ISP – allows the Internet connection for multiple network devices and must be setup to allow phone connectivity and for QoS. You need to have modem connected to a router, and if it is a wireless LAN, check it carefully for usefulness. You must also have a switch, SIP phones, hosted servers, and firewalls to ensure smooth connectivity with your hosted VoIP solution.
4. Look to Aptela for Pre-Qualification Assistance – this hosted VoIP provider can connect you with a technical engineer to walk you through any questions or concerns about the VoIP preparedness of your network. Speak with this engineer before deployment to be sure your network is ready.
5. Take the Deployment in Stages – plan and execute your migration to hosted VoIP in stages, first deploying all network upgrades. In this process, you need to qualify your network, install any necessary network upgrades, design the migration experience, order and setup your hardware, enable your phone numbers and customize new services.
6. Manage and Maintain the Network – be sure to keep in mind that any changes to the network or configuration settings after you establish service can affect your phone quality and even cause your phones to lose registration and stop working. These changes can include adding new users, purchasing or replacing existing network devices, and changing the settings within your network devices.
Aptela can be a valuable partner in the process of migrating to hosted VoIP for your business, so lean on their expertise to ensure a successful experience overall.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Janice McDuffee