At Key Communications we have seen the best of networks and the worst of networks. Some were built and configured to handle Voice Over Internet Protocol and other were not. In this article we are going to look at networking and how to improve your network for VoIP for your VT Business Phone system.
In many cases, we see very old networking wiring on many of the networks that we work with. Typically the network wiring was done with CAT3 cabling. CAT3 cabling does work with some systems and not others like virtual PBX. Once we assess the situation with the wiring we will know whether we have to upgrade your network or not.
In some, we have seen some pretty messy cabling installations over the year. Some of the problems that you run into are poorly terminated wires, crimpled cables and cable runs over 300 feet are your typical culprits that you have problems. Here's what to look for: Inspect your data room and see if the cabling is neat and tidy.
Thankfully bad cabling is easy to spot. It normally ends up in a tangled mess like in the picture on the left. This is one of the first signs that you may have a problem with your network. When cabling is a mess, it tends to pull on wires loosening connections, etc..
Virtual PBX requires a small amount of bandwidth per telephone. It's average is approximately 80kbs (kilobytes per second). Most networks that get installed today with CAT5 or CAT6 cabling can handle 100 Mbs (Megabits per second). The typical amount of traffic that VoIP add to the LAN data network is minimal. Smaller businesses typically use a simple 100 Mbs ethernet switch to handle their voice network. For larger networks of fifty or more phones, you'll need something more robust. When you install your Ethernet switch make sure it can support QoS (quality of service). You'll see this listed as a spec of 802.11 p/q and VLAN capabilities. These two features are on most high-end switches.
Now that we know you have a fast enough Ethernet switch to handle the VoIP traffic, you can go ahead, right? Almost, but not quite yet. There are a lot of companies making Ethernet switches today and many of them are junk. They barely support data transmission, let alone handle quality of voice over your network. When you suspect you might have a problem on your network, check your Ethernet switch first. There are many choices for quality Ethernet switches on the market. Here are just a few Netgear, HP, Dell, Cisco are just a few of the companies that make decent switches.