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Hosted VoIP Featured Article

September 09, 2010

Aptela's Six Steps to VoIP Readiness

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

You’ve decided you’re ready for VoIP. Congratulations. Here are six steps, courtesy of hosted VoIP provider Aptela (News - Alert), to give you a successful experience. The entire white paper these are excerpted from is worth reading, of course:

Step 1: Define Your High-Level Needs. Whether your office will experience good quality VoIP services depends on a variety of factors— including your patterns of traffic and usage, existing network capacity, and existing data bandwidth. Get started by creating a clear picture of your VoIP needs, by asking yourself questions such as what are your calling habits? For example, does your office have primarily outbound calls or inbound calls? Domestic or international dialing? Are employees local, remote or mobile?

Step 2: Identify Your Current Network Capabilities. Problems with call quality are usually related to limited bandwidth within the local network. To protect against quality issues, it is essential to assess your current environment and budget for VoIP usage. You may need to make additional investment in a new Internet Service provider, increased bandwidth or a QoS (Quality of Service) router—an investment that will be recouped through your new VoIP service.

Step 3: Verify Your Network Components & Readiness. Now that we have a picture of your network’s existing bandwidth, let’s take a look at other components that will impact VoIP quality. The paper gives a detailed list of the components you’ll need to examine, such as your gateway, router, modem, et al.

Step 4: Engage Aptela for Pre-Qualification Assistance. Your Aptela sales representative can introduce you to a technical engineer who can walk you through any questions or concerns about your network’s VoIP preparedness. We recommend that you speak with an Aptela engineer prior to VoIP deployment to verify that you have the equipment and solutions that best fit your office’s environment.

Step 5: Deploy Your Network and VoIP Solution in Stages. It’s best to plan and execute your VoIP network deployment in stages. First deploy all network upgrades including Internet access bandwidth and router installations. Then Aptela will assist with phone registration and setup of the hosted PBX (News - Alert) capabilities.

Step 6: Manage and Maintain Your Network. Any changes to your network or configuration settings after establishing service can affect your phone quality or cause your phones to lose registration and stop working. Network changes include—but are not limited to—adding new users (phones), purchasing new or replacing existing network devices (router, firewall, hosted servers) or changing the settings within network devices. It’s important to plan for network changes in advance.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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