Reach New Heights: VoIP Readiness

Young lady hiker standing with backpack on top of a mountain andThe 2014 film “Wild”, which is based upon the memoir by Cheryl Strayed titled Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, stars Reese Witherspoon as Strayed, who in 1995 hiked over one thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail alone. As a single woman in the mid-nineties, much before the widespread adoption of the cellular phone – let alone Internet! – this took a great deal of preparedness to ensure safe and proper navigation of her journey.

An opening scene of the film shows Witherspoon packing her bag with all of the ‘essentials’ for her trip. In an effort of readiness, she packs her bag to the point that it’s nearly impossible for her to even get it up and on her back. Perhaps in this case she was overly ready, as later in the film she goes through a serious cleanse of her pack to make it significantly lighter (and more efficient) for the rest of her trek. You could suffice to say that even cleaning out her pack was part of the process of readiness for her expedition.

When it comes to planning for a new phone system, specifically one that is VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), the prepping can feel similar to packing your bags for an extended time away. There is so much that is involved that it can sometimes seem overwhelming, such as determining if your Internet connection could handle such a phone service to begin with.

Planning a VoIP installation demands a big time commitment from IT in order to ensure the network is aligned to meet service requirements. Outsourcing a readiness assessment for VoIP, as recommended by both ShoreTel and Avaya, frees up time for higher level decision-making as well as everyday responsibilities. The assessment alone consists of ensuring necessary protocols and standards are supported, confirming that the infrastructure is optimally configured for the IP telephony traffic, verifying that the installed WAN technologies are compatible with IP telephony, as well as measuring delay, packet loss and jitter to ensure that they meet acceptable thresholds for toll quality voice calls.

Hilltop’s VoIP Readiness Assessment service provides active testing to determine if the data network infrastructure can successfully carry VoIP traffic before deploying a VoIP solution so that any changes can be accommodated in the schedule and keep the project moving forward. Transition to VoIP can go smoothly and meet expectations when planned accordingly. The service assists in avoiding common implementation errors and service issues associated with VoIP and evaluates call quality over the course of a few days, running hundreds or even thousands of simulated calls over the network and taking measurements, assuring high Quality of Service (QoS).

When compared to the potential cost of lost business and opportunities due to poor voice services, the assessment is reasonably affordable. The cost depends upon the size of the network being assessed and the number of locations.

Conducting a comprehensive and cost-effective assessment will provide the necessary information to avoid both under-engineering and over-engineering the network to meet specific needs. Assessing VoIP capabilities prior to deployment is key to saving money and generating a more efficient workflow. By assessing the network, you reduce the risks associated with poor quality post deployment and overspending on equipment.