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Siemon urges caution in implementing VoIP networks

  • 20 April, 2006 15:55

<p>While Voice over IP (VoIP) is fast revolutionising communications, many businesses are less than satisfied with the quality of transmission because they have rushed to install the technology, according to the Siemon Company.</p>
<p>“While companies will readily embrace VoIP because of the cost savings, the technology is only as good as the planning that goes into the entire system,” says Carrie Higbie, Global Network Applications Manager at the Siemon Company.</p>
<p>“Experts encourage businesses to plan carefully before implementing any VoIP system. All VoIP manufacturers recommend an infrastructure audit prior to implementation, because VoIP/IPT traffic is considered “live” transmission rather than a data type transmission where retransmissions would be acceptable. Using a Certified Infrastructure Auditor will assure the best audit of your network.”</p>
<p>Higbie recommends starting at the foundation. Is the cabling infrastructure capable of handling the new VoIP system? If it was installed years ago, does it meet today’s standards? VoIP technology has voice and data running over the same cabling system, so will the increased traffic slow down existing applications and affect business operations? Does the current cabling infrastructure offer the transmission throughput required for a smooth-running system?</p>
<p>“People often rush into installing a new VoIP system and later are surprised by poor quality and how it affects the performance of their network,” says Higbie. “They forget their cabling infrastructure must now support both voice and data. The first step in implementing a VoIP system must be to review and evaluate your infrastructure, including your cabling system. Does it offer the performance, speed and throughput necessary to handle the added demand? If it doesn’t, upgrading the system or some remediation will be necessary.”</p>
<p>To ensure high quality, it is essential to evaluate the entire network. Keep in mind that the quality of transmission for voice packets is much more demanding than data packets, and that transmission delay, packet loss and jitter must be kept to a minimum. Therefore, the construction of the network framework must be addressed. What type of electronics are currently being used? Do they support the quality of service required for the VoIP system? Depending on the type of system you plan to implement and the transfer mechanisms used by the system, businesses may need to upgrade the electronics or add additional feature sets to their active operating system.</p>
<p>“It’s not as simple as putting a VoIP system on an existing network. It would be rather pointless to build the capability into a system if the network’s edge devices such as routers or hubs lacked the intelligence and technology to handle VoIP packets,” cautions Higbie.</p>
<p>Another planning consideration is design and installation. Can current IT staff handle these? Are they trained in VoIP and understand the technology’s intricacies? If not, an outside professional might be required. Here lies another consideration: the quality of installation from one vendor to the next is not always equal. A VoIP system can be crippled by an improperly or poorly installed infrastructure and network, so it is important to have a certified designer and installer perform the work. Remediation can be the most costly factor in any network.</p>
<p>A Certified Infrastructure Auditor will evaluate the capability of the cabling and examine the electronics and the health of the network. The auditor should also make suggestions for improving the network through the removal of unnecessary protocols, understand the requirements of a VoIP system, properly design and install the system, and monitor the service once it is in place.</p>
<p>Higbie concludes: “Companies cannot necessarily assume that because their cabling is printed with a certain category rating, that cable plant will perform to that rating. Poor installation, degradation and minimally compliant products can cause a network’s physical plant to fail testing. Once these systems are installed, moves, additions and changes are performed and other trades work in the same space - which can all cause problems over time.</p>
<p>“So before implementing a VoIP system, remember: there is no substitution for proper planning.”</p>
<p>About Siemon</p>
<p>Established in 1903, Siemon is an industry leader specialising in the manufacture and innovation of high quality, high-performance network cabling solutions. Headquartered in Connecticut, USA, with global offices and partners throughout the world, Siemon offers the most comprehensive suite of unshielded, shielded, twisted-pair copper and fibre cabling systems available. With over 400 active patents specific to structured cabling, Siemon Labs invests heavily in R&amp;D and development of industry standards, underlining the company's long-term commitment to its customers and the industry.</p>
<p>Siemon’s Australian head office is located in Allambie Heights, Sydney, with offices also located in Brisbane and Melbourne.</p>
<p>For more information</p>
<p>Alana Patton David Frost
The Siemon Company PR Deadlines Pty Ltd
(02) 8977 7500 (02) 4341 5021
Alana_Patton@siemon.com.au davidf@prdeadlines.com.au</p>

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