VoIP migration strategies: Q&A with 3Com

3Com's Doug Hydeoffers some tips and tricks to ease migration and ensure that your network is ready for VoIP.

TechTarget: How can enterprises ensure quality of service on their existing networks?

Doug Hyde: An important part of ensuring quality of service is reducing latency. Delays in the voice traffic should be negligible. The best strategy is to prioritize the voice traffic over the data traffic. This will ensure that the voice traffic is efficiently moved from one destination to another.

TechTarget: How can enterprises handle the added security threats that come with IP telephony?

Hyde: Security is certainly a concern when you're implementing Voice over IP. Many enterprises find that keeping the voice traffic separate from other traffic on the network ensures better security. A newer trend in voice technology is to put voice on VLANs. For example, many universities have implemented multiple VLANs, each of which handles a different user group -- one for students, one for faculty and one for staff. This has proven to be a very effective method for keeping different users' traffic separate and secure.

TechTarget: What's required to scale an existing network to support IP telephony?

Hyde: It is important to assess your network before migrating to Voice over IP. Taking a look at your network and understanding its current capabilities -- the demands you put on the network -- will ensure a smoother migration as you lay VoIP on top of an existing network.

TechTarget: Many networks were built around 10 or 100 megabits, and as they are now moving gigabits to the desktop, administrators need to be aware of the current capabilities of their networks. However, not every network needs to move to gigabits to VoIP. You just need to know what additional applications your network is capable of running.

Additionally, it is not necessary to 'throw more bandwidth' at your network if you employ good quality of service -- technology is pushing quality of service to a level that allows you to get more out of your network without increasing bandwidth. A quality assessment is the important first step in deciding how to migrate to VoIP.

TechTarget: How can organizations power IP phones and other devices on their networks, and will this create complex additional wiring and electrical issues?

Hyde: Power over Ethernet is a growing area. As more enterprises migrate to VoIP, reliability becomes an issue to be addressed, and it is technology that should be looked at by administrators who are preparing to upgrade to VoIP.

Running phones to every desk was part of how a traditional PBX system worked. With the traditional system, the power came over the phone line. PoE, now an industry standard, combines your power and data wire connections into one cable. By utilizing PoE, today's enterprises are able to retain the reliability of a traditional PBX system, save costs, increase security and minimize the amount of cabling running to each desk.

TechTarget: How can companies with a growing number of traveling and remote workers support mobile users on the network?

Hyde: Running VoIP over the network, especially when you have a VPN, can extend the reach of your phone system. A mobile worker could be in a hotel in Beijing, yet with an Internet connection and a softphone, he could receive phone calls as if he were at his desk in the headquarters building in North America.

VoIP means workers have the flexibility to be reached whenever and wherever. Either by utilizing a find me/follow me feature or unified communications, they are always accessible.

TechTarget: Can VoIP systems provide multi-vendor integration in their solutions?

Hyde: 3Com focuses on providing the types of solutions for both networking and VoIP that are interoperable. Administrators could begin with a 3Com network, install another vendor's VoIP solution and still expect to have the highest quality of voice service, or they could have another vendor's network and still successfully integrate 3Com's VoIP solutions onto their existing network.

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