SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Steve Lingo
With nearly 20 years in telecom, Steve has managed products, partners, and product marketing activities around the globe. He joined...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Steve Lingo | February 25, 2013 |

 
   

Five Steps to Prepare Your Network for Hosted Voice

Five Steps to Prepare Your Network for Hosted Voice As your business prepares to make the transition, there are a few network elements you'll want to make sure are ready first.

As your business prepares to make the transition, there are a few network elements you'll want to make sure are ready first.

Is your business considering moving to the cloud? You're not alone. According to Gartner, Inc.,"By year-end 2015, 60% of enterprises will provide 30% of their users with cloud voice services." This isn't surprising, given the cost, operational and performance benefits associated with hosted services. Businesses of all sizes are finding that the improved TCO, business continuity, worker mobility, and advanced features that the cloud provides simply make good business sense. But as your business prepares to make the transition, there are a few network elements you'll want to make sure are ready first:

1. Quality of Service. QoS availability and proper configuration on your MPLS network is key to your call quality staying high and calls staying connected. Without it, calls will be adversely affected by other network activities such as email and web browsing. Ask your network provider to explain how QoS should be configured on your network to ensure you get the best possible call quality.

2. Physical Infrastructure Compatibility. Even though you're moving your VoIP call control to the cloud, there are still physical elements in your network that must be correctly configured. For example, you'll want to ensure that Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol or DHCP is configured on your LAN and that your switches and cabling are all optimized for VoIP traffic. Additionally, make sure that your existing devices, like handsets, will be supported by your cloud provider, as well as ensuring that your cloud provider is aware of any outside servers or hosted services you need to access. Summary: make sure your cloud provider has a complete picture of your network's physical infrastructure and requirements.

3. Firewalls. You absolutely want to keep the bad guys from getting in, but you also need to let the good guys out. Voice calls must reach the cloud so they can be processed and connected, and users need browser-based web access so they can configure call services. So it's very important to understand how firewall rules work for the different types of traffic you'll be generating, from ICMP and UDP to HTTP and HTTPS. Ask your cloud provider for a comprehensive list of appropriate firewall and network settings so you can ensure good traffic is able to flow as it should while securely blocking the bad stuff.

4. Call handling and handset requirements. Give thought to your various user groups and their specific requirements--for example, receptionists, basic users, executives, conference rooms, fax machines, etc. Think about the array of Hosted PBX features your employees can use to work more efficiently and which will ensure your customers get the help they need when they need it. Do you plan to use the Auto Attendant feature to answer your calls, or to employ hunt groups that automatically route customer calls to the next available employee? Additionally, if you want to be able to move and use handsets anywhere on your network regardless of electric outlet availability, ask your cloud service provider if their Hosted PBX phones include Power-over-Ethernet switches.

5. Avoiding common "gotchas". In their move to the cloud, many businesses overlook a device that still holds a place of importance in many offices--the fax machine. If you need to send/receive faxes, ask your cloud service provider if their Hosted PBX service supports it. Also make sure they can support VoIP and data on a common access circuit, or you won't be able to enjoy one of the big savings benefits.

Additionally, be sure to ask potential vendors a few probing questions, such as: Is the network theirs (i.e., do they own and operate the network facilities) and do they have the reach to cover all your sites and likely expansion areas? Will they let you bring your own handsets? Do they offer the high-quality "business grade" voice service your organization requires? What about service up-time and SLAs? Don't be afraid to ask your cloud service provider how they would handle any scenario you require--their ability to answer your questions and help you up front will go a long way towards preventing bad surprises later.

Proper Planning and Preparation Leads to a Smooth Transition
Moving to the cloud is increasingly a wise decision for many businesses, but it's important that you take the steps to get your network ready for the move. Use the items above to help jump start your planning process and dialogue with your service providers and you'll be well on your way toward a smooth transition to the cloud.





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2017
March 27-30 | Orlando, FL
Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Special Offer - Save $200 Off Advance Rates

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

March 8, 2017

Enterprise IT's ability to innovate is critical to the success of the business -- 80% of CIOs agree. But the CIO role has never been more challenging than it is today, with rising operational respo

February 22, 2017

Sick of video call technology that make participants look like they're in the witness protection program? Turns out youre not alone. Poor-quality video solutions can give users an unprofessional ap

February 7, 2017

Securing voice communications used to be very simple since it was generally a closed system. However, with unified communications (UC) you no longer have the walled protection offered by a dedicate

February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.