Optimizing the Network for Voice Traffic:
As Voice over IP (VoIP) technology increasingly permeates enterprise and public switched voice networks, the importance of a network optimized for voice cannot be overstated. While non-voice networks may appear to function adequately, latent issues often come to light only when the more demanding requirements of voice packet transmission are introduced.
Understanding Network Performance for Voice
- Latency and Packet Transmission: Unlike data packets, voice packets are extremely sensitive to delays. A delay that is imperceptible in email transmission can be detrimental in voice communication.
- Quality of Service (QoS): Implementing QoS is critical. It prioritizes voice packets over other types of data, ensuring smooth and uninterrupted voice communication.
Steps to Optimize a Network for Voice
- Managed Switches with QoS: Employ managed switches that support Quality of Service.
- QoS Capable Switches: Ensure switches are configured for optimal QoS.
- Power Over Ethernet (PoE) Switches: PoE switches are recommended for VoIP applications.
- Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS): A UPS ensures continuity during power outages, maintaining telephone connectivity.
- Network Infrastructure: The network should be at minimum Certified CAT 5e.
- If the current infrastructure doesn't meet this standard, prepare to upgrade the wiring and equipment.
- Include all costs, expenses, and labor in your quote.
- Network Analysis: Conduct a thorough network analysis to identify potential issues. Consider using services like MicroConvergent for this task.
- Collaboration with IT Management: Foster a good relationship with the IT management team, especially if you are not managing the data network.
Testing and Certification
- Ensure the network is certified for voice traffic. This includes:
- Certified Category 5 cabling.
- Smart Data Switches with configured QoS.
- PoE implementation.
- For remote phone applications, ensure the router supports multiple NAT sessions. Refer to IPitomy's router compatibility guide.
- Verify adequate bandwidth for remote users and SIP Trunks. A standard guideline is 200Kb of symmetrical bandwidth for each concurrent voice call (G.711 CODEC).
- Most data connections are asymmetrical. Ensure the VoIP connection aligns with the lesser bandwidth rate.
- Account for fluctuations in connection speeds throughout the day.
Equipment and Collaboration
- Always recommend appropriate equipment to avoid issues with outdated networks.
- If the data network is managed by another team, provide a checklist and a proof of assurance document for them to sign off on. This verifies that your voice network requirements are being met.
Checklist for Network Readiness
- Verify the IP address of the IP PBX.
- Establish the IP address range for DHCP use.
- Disclose any static IP addresses in use.
- Ensure switches are PoE capable and QoS enabled.
- For remote phones, confirm the router's capability for multiple NAT sessions.
- Set up necessary port forwarding to the PBX (ports 5060, 10000-20000 for remote phones, port 80 for remote maintenance, port 4569 for branch office use, and port 22 for factory support access).
By following the guidelines and checklist provided, you can ensure a successful IPitomy install and foster a positive, ongoing relationship with existing IT personnel. This comprehensive approach is key to integrating VoIP into your network effectively and maintaining high performance standards.