As businesses expand and change, they may outgrow their existing networks and require s network upgrade. Since network upgrades tend to be long-term investments and also tend to affect your overall VoIP platform, it is important to plan for future growth while still addressing current needs.
In order to meet this objective, proper network upgrade planning must be done before the first piece of new equipment is purchased. Be sure to consider the below issues when your company is planning a network upgrade.
The Number of Users, Types of Equipment, and Location Requirements
How many network users, printers, and servers will the network upgrade support? Be sure to include the anticipated growth of new users and devices over the next 12 months at the minimum before considering a network upgrade. In addition to the number of extra resources, also think about other variables such as locations for the proposed network upgrade.
For example, remote work environments may require your organization to network upgrade and expand to employees’ homes. Other than that, consider possible mergers, acquisitions, and other factors that can change the nature of the current office space and its network upgrade.
Current Internet Connectivity
How does the business connect to the internet? Does the ISP or the company own the equipment? If the company network upgrades its connectivity, it may need to get the equipment to enable this improvement.
With the steady proliferation of 5G technology, it is important to identify gaps in infrastructure and maintain equipment that will be compatible enough to support the very same, and at scale.
What applications does the network upgrade need to operate? It is especially important to identify the requirements of voice and video applications, as these programs often require special services from an ISP in order to maintain an acceptable quality of service for the network upgrade.
Video conferencing applications in particular consume large amounts of data and bandwidth, so ensuring your network upgrade can sustain the load is crucial for providing meeting experiences to your team that are free from lags and disconnects.
Existing Network Infrastructure and Layout
How many devices are currently on the network? How are they physically laid out? Is cabling running all over the floor, hidden in walls, or threaded through the ceiling? When buying equipment, you must take physical infrastructure into account, as well as future plans for new network upgrade services. Virtual servers and other hosted infrastructure can be a viable option to consider, with the best VoIP vendors offering SaaS-based services at a nominal monthly or annual fee.
Of course, adopting a fully hosted service isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and your organization may need to maintain infrastructure on-premise, or use a combination of the two. Most VoIP carriers can advise you on which deployment options are most suitable for your business’s unique network upgrade requirements. So, make sure you keep them in the loop as you’re weighing in on your decision.
New Services Required
What new services will be required now or in the future? If the network upgrade will have to accommodate a remote office, for instance, consider a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection. VoIP and video conferencing are common applications that your business may want to add in the future. These network upgrade services should be taken into account when you are designing a network upgrade.
Security and Privacy
Does your company currently have a firewall in place? Today's Integrated Services and VoIP routers incorporate the features of stand-alone firewalls, saving space and simplifying complexity. VoIP security is of prime importance to organizations that operate intricate and extensive networks these days, in order to protect data and stay compliant with relevant regulatory bodies.
Additionally, leading cybersecurity vendors specialize in niche services, ranging from threat detection to penetration testing. So, taking things a notch or two higher for your VoIP solution to further strengthen your network’s perimeter will also count as a significant network upgrade of what you currently own and operate.
Your business may want to upgrade a wired network or replace it with a wireless one. Or the company may want a combination of wired and wireless technology.
How big is the area that your wireless network upgrade must cover? Each wireless access point has a limited range that is affected by the physical characteristics of the area to be covered. This ties in closely with network infrastructure and layout requirements, and whether you need to upgrade over to some hosted services in order to maximize coverage and minimize load on any existing on-premise resources.
Enabling Remote Working Capabilities
As employees now prefer remote working or a hybrid workplace model, it is important to consider serious network upgrades for your business to maintain security standards from wherever the employees may be. You may have to increase bandwidth so that the network upgrade and the new infrastructure can support all of the VPNs and remote connections.
It may also be necessary to deploy some user authentication methods with your new network upgrade to ensure that only verified connections can access your network upgrade. Multifactor authentication and user-based roles will need to be employed to maintain the VoIP security of your network upgrade especially if your company operates on a bring-your-own-device model.
This type of network upgrade will also enable cloud migration for your business to enable remote collaboration tools for benefit of your mobile workforce.
Reliability and Uptime Considerations
What is the real cost of downtime to the company? How much downtime can the business tolerate before incurring financial losses? Maintaining 100% uptime is extremely expensive and impractical. You have to decide, in discussion with all stakeholders, how much reliability the company can afford before a network upgrade.
Your network is a crucial component for your business, communication, and otherwise. Therefore, consistent network upgrades and maintaining it is just as necessary, as it can determine the overall speed and performance of operations across every length and breadth of your business. However, scaling network upgrades (or downgrades) will depend on a few variables that need to be addressed well beforehand, such as infrastructure deployment, coverage, locations, and even user quantities.
Comparing the best VoIP services can help ensure that you choose the best option for upgrading your network for the benefit of your business.