I am amazed at how many companies have been convinced to run their voice services over the Internet without considering the impact to theirbusiness. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of the Internet and the new Possiblities that exist as it relates to Voice, Video and Data, but not without the proper infrastructure and certainly not without an analysis of the existing network, applications and business needs.
I have seen this scenario play out time and time again and more often than not the result is loss of business, productivity and in some cases, someone looses their job.
As it relates to Bandwidth over the Internet, let me make something perfectly clear – DSL is not a business grade circuit and a 3 Meg DSL service is not really 3 Meg. That is the download speed. The upload speed will vary based on your distance to the CO but will generally come in a 340-860Kbps. Most carriers provide a MTTR (mean time to repair) of 48 hours on these circuits, so when it goes down, be prepared to be down for a while.
D-Link, Linksys, SMC and the like are not business grade products. In fact any networking product sold at future shop should not be considered for business use. There is a reason that products from Cisco cost more that D-Link and it is the same reason products from Sony cost more than the Mitsusatu brand of TV.
When someone tells you they are going to give you a Firewall, with VPNand remote access capabilities, install it in your network and run voice and data over it all for $150 be warned, it probably won’t work the way you want it to. When they sell you a Ethernet switch for $47, don’t expect it to power your IP phone or provide any Quality of Service (QOS). When they tell you they are going to do it in their spare time because it really isn’t that difficult, don’t expect to have a working network the next day.
Even if you do all the right things and purchase all of the right equipment, there are no guarantees on the quality of your voice calls over the Internet. Things can be done to improve quality and ensure up time, but remember the Internet forwards data on a first come first serve basis and if your Voice gets thrown into a queue on some router out in the cloud it has to wait it’s turn.
Don’t make the mistake that I have seen others make. As easy as it may seem to set up a network and get your data flowing, don’t try and do it yourself with off the shelf products from your local bestbuy or futureshop. As much as everyone likes to save money, its not worth the time, effort, aggravation and possible loss of business that may result.