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How to design VoIP Networks

Updated on April 5, 2011

Managing VoIP Networks

VoIP has a myriad of advantages apart from being cheaper to boot. The combination has led to its widespread adoption in businesses and even in homes. However, there are some valid criticisms against VoIP and some of these are inescapable as a consequence of some of the advantages. For example, it allows you to merge two disparate networks - the PSTN and the Internet and brings you cost savings and efficiency.

But because of this merging, you need to manage the network as well. We've all had experiences where the Internet is rather slow sometimes in the office when a lot of bandwidth is being used up elsewhere. We normally don't mind this because very few Internet applications are really time sensitive. Email for example can reach us many minutes later and we don't care. Even while chatting, it doesn't matter if a message reaches us a few seconds late.

But voice communications is a different ball game. When it comes to talking, we're extremely sensitive about any perceived delays even if it's a few milliseconds. This is why it's important for us to manage the network when we begin to use VoIP - something we might not normally do as we completely ignore it with PSTN lines.

Manage your VoIP Networks
Manage your VoIP Networks

Separating Voice and Data

The solution to the network management problem highlighted above is to virtually separate the two data streams of voice and web traffic to ensure that the former isn't hurt by the latter. In fact, this holds true for any number of time sensitive applications and each application must have its own virtual network.

There can't be a physical distinction (though that is possible as well) because that negates the advantages of unifying the two networks in the first place. However, there are many ways in which the traffic can be segregated virtually using Virtual LANs or VLANs. Even when you use hosted VoIP business solutions for example, you have to manage the traffic at your end. Moreover, you have to keep revising the allocation of bandwidth you have for VoIP since it's likely to keep growing. This means that you will have to also upgrade your Internet plans at regular intervals.

If you're not experienced in setting up this kind of system, contact your ITSP with whom you have your hosted PBX VoIP service. They will likely have pre built solutions for you so that your systems work smoothly. After all, it's in their best interests for you to have as great  a VoIP experience as possible.

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    • kshankin profile image

      kshankin 

      7 years ago from Rochester Hills

      That was a nice overview of VoIP network structure! Thanks for writing about it.

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