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Properly Provisioning Your VoIP Network

Updated on February 23, 2012

Importance of Network Management

Unlike the telephone network, VoIP requires a little more management. This is part and parcel of the whole deal and one cannot envisage the benefits of VoIP without having this downside as well. It's because VoIP is a packet-switched network that allows a user to use an existing line for multiple purposes at the same time compared to the PSTN network which is circuit-switched and only allows two people to communicate leaving the line useless for any other activity. The undeniable benefits of having your voice communications on an already existing network instead of making use of a dedicated system for the same have led a large number of businesses in the United States to migrate their communication systems to VoIP.

However, it's important to know how to manage your network in order to ensure that VoIP has enough room to operate. Without such precautions you might be exposed to laggy service instead. The key lies in providing VoIP with its very own network space in which it can operate independently of other types of traffic. This prevents the other activities of your organization such as downloading and e-mail from affecting your critical voice communications. The solution is a technical one known as a "Virtual Private Network" or a VPN for short.

Creating a VPN for VoIP
Creating a VPN for VoIP

Understanding VPNs

A virtual private network is a kind of subsystem within the existing network infrastructure that is dedicated to a particular application or a certain type of traffic. In our case, this application is VoIP and we need to instruct the router as to how it needs to give VoIP traffic preference over others. In case you're wondering why VoIP has to obtain specialized treatment, this is because other applications are far more tolerant of flaky Internet connections than VoIP. That YouTube video of yours already buffers a little bit of extra footage so even if the connection is interrupted for a few seconds, you don't notice it at all. Neither will you care if your e-mail arrives a few minutes late. But when you're talking to someone, even a delay of a fraction of a second can become painfully noticeable.

Most routers these days allow users to create special rules for different types of traffic. In the context of a business however, it might require specialized management. Get in touch with your IT management personnel and tell them to create a separate network for VoIP traffic. It's not difficult to do but it's one of the most important tools for ensuring that your VoIP experience matches or even surpasses that of the PSTN network.

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