Your company has decided it's time to add a VoIP phone system to the local area network. Since access to the traditional PSTN will still be needed an ATA will connect your company to that system. A gateway/firewall will connect your VoIP users to the internet. Your telephone and network people (staff or vendors) have drawn up a diagram showing where the people are, their phone numbers, the location of their network connections and the nearest available power outlets. Connections to special devices such as a FAX have been noted and relationships, such as who's phone forwards to a colleague or assistant, are also in the notes. That's great, because the number one criteria for bringing a successful a new VoIP system on line is getting organized before you start and staying organized through the implementation.
Unless your staff has the expertise and the extra capacity to do the install, configuration and testing themselves, you'll be working with at least one vendor, and possibly many vendors. Their accumulated experience can save big money and larger headaches. However, chose your partners in this endeavor with a careful eye to their longevity in the business, range of skills and past projects. Referrals and references are worth the time invested.
Some of the concerns you and your suppliers will address:
- Test and assess the proposed network capacity. Since quality of service is important to the performance of the new phone system, see if what you have in mind will be adequate.
- And while you're at it, this might be a good time to consider where quality of service monitoring should be done. Those routers, bridges or gateways will also be configured to best handle the types of data traffic expected.
- Are there any types of equipment with “special needs”? If so, is the expertise required to include them in the VoIP system available? Or must they be replaced?
- What's the plan when power fails? All this networking equipment requires both cabling and a wall plug. A large, green, rarely used generator in the basement is only one solution.
- What about leaving the hardwired connections in place? Maybe even incorporate them into your backup plans to keep the business in business when power fails.
- Consider NOT including all the wonderful new functionality possibilities at initial roll-out. Incremental enhancement reduces business risk, stress on the users and demands on the support staff.
- You already know it, so just a reminder: the Details Matter. Make sure everything you buy is compatible. Consider upgrade paths. Anticipate new or increased demands on the system. Think of things that could go wrong.
Though it could be daunting, you are embarking on a project which will bring new capabilities to your organization, offer greater functionality at a lower cost and bring new capabilities your staff can use to increase volume and profits.