is there a better way to VoIP?
Why keeping voice and data separate may not be the best approach

Many companies are still keeping their voice and data traffic separate. By running two networks, they have some peace of mind that a loss of the data network would not impact the use of the telephone. This is completely understandable. Contrary to popular belief, the exchange of emails is not instantaneous.  And, in reality, if a message takes a few seconds to arrive the impact should be fairly small. The email arrives, the recipient responds and all is well with the world.  For voice traffic this is not the case.

Convergence makes sense

‘Voice is King’ is a common response and a loss even for a second of a telephone conversation can be catastrophic. Imagine the loss of an order, the impact on customer relations or credibility – it simply cannot happen. With this in mind, the segmentation of voice and data remains the favoured approach. However changes in technology, means there is a ground swell towards converged networks  – and for very good reason.

The landscape for connectivity has increased exponentially in last five years. The advent of new technologies has made far greater bandwidth available than ever before. Bandwidth in excess of 50Mbps (downstream) is becoming more and more commonplace.

But, does more bandwidth alone solve the conundrum of how to run voice and data across the same network? The answer is NO.

An increase in bandwidth very quickly translates to a change in usage patterns. The additional capacity is soon absorbed into the overall pool, often resulting in a further increase in bandwidth some months later as the ceiling is reached once more.

Class of Service falls short

What is the answer to keeping the voice and data traffic distinct whilst running across the same network? Granted the voice traffic needs to be prioritised. Some providers will safeguard bandwidth by applying Class of Service or CoS. This is where a static rule is applied to segment an agreed amount of bandwidth for voice traffic subject to the number of telephone users, the expected call volumes, the bandwidth requirement of the telephony solution and the call quality required (defined by the level of compression applied). CoS works and provides a degree of comfort that data usage will not impede telephony. However it fails to support the original objective – to converge the network to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

Use additional capacity elsewhere

Consider a company that applies a CoS policy across ten sites to dedicate 10Mbps of bandwidth for voice traffic. During normal office hours this works perfectly well and supports the daily operations. However, what happens when there is very little or no voice traffic at all? What happens when this company is short on bandwidth resource to carry out nightly backup regimes? The answer – 10Mbps of bandwidth is sitting idle and waiting for a call to be made. This capacity could clearly be used elsewhere by the business, providing a greater efficiency and return.

A SMARTER way to prioritise

Link-Connect’s approach ties together the need to prioritise bandwidth for voice traffic and delivering maximum network efficiency. Our solutions are capable of dynamically identifying traffic by protocol and/or application. Once identified the appropriate bandwidth policies are applied. In essence, when the telephones are in use the bandwidth is safeguarded and when they are not in use, the bandwidth is made available for other processes.

Zero waste, optimum performance and maximum return.

Through our partnership leading telephony organisations, Link-Connect provides a complete business communications service that delivers an extensive range of capabilities via an easy-to-use web portal. With a range of business-focused features, and an emphasis on control and administration, the solution provides the full telecommunications suite. Local administrators can manage the system according to business needs and you can empower your employees to manage their calls easily and effectively to maximise their individual productivity.

For more information about converged communications and how Link-Connect can help you please visit our VoIP page – here