7 Best Practices for Implementing a Hosted VoIP Phone System
If your business has decided to switch from a conventional PBX phone system to a hosted VoIP phone system, then you’re definitely on the right track! That’s because:
- Hosted VoIP is now the #1 phone system choice among U.S. businesses.
- Hosted VoIP is the fastest-growing industry in the world.
- The total number of hosted (mobile) VoIP users worldwide has topped 1 billion.
- Conventional phone companies are losing a whopping 700,000 landline customers per month.
[For more statistics on the incredible growth of hosted VoIP phone systems, read our article here.]
Here are 7 best practices to ensure that your implementation experience is smooth, streamlined and successful:
1. Analyze and optimize network bandwidth.
One of the biggest reasons why a hosted VoIP phone system is dramatically more affordable than a conventional PBX phone system, is that there is no need to build and maintain a separate voice network. All phone calls, user-to-user instant messaging, and video conferencing run on the existing data network (i.e. the one that provides users with access to email, corporate intranet and the public web).
However, in order for voice and data to work and play well together, it is necessary to analyze and optimize the network bandwidth to ensure that it can handle the added load. This process involves examining aspects such as traffic flows, usage patterns, switches, speed, and more.
2. Give VoIP traffic priority.
It is also necessary to ensure that VoIP traffic is given priority on the network, so that call quality is consistently acceptable and sustainable. Ideally, prioritizing VoIP over other network activities will have a negligible impact on performance. For example, instead of taking 0.7 seconds to receive an email, it might take 0.8 seconds. However, if prioritizing creates a noticeable lag or causes any other adverse user experience issues, then these can all be resolved by increasing the bandwidth.
3. Install a managed router.
A managed router allows you to offload system maintenance, configuration and update tasks to off-site experts. This is a win for your users who can get the support they need when they need it, and it is a win for your IT team because they do not have to manage the phone system!
4. Establish an on-site redundancy system.
If you work with a reputable and experienced VoIP Solutions Provider, then you can be assured that they have several redundancy systems in place to ensure that the system remains operational in the event of a power failure, or other adverse events.
However, it is also recommended that you establish an on-site redundancy system in case something negative and unexpected happens on your end. This back-up system could include installing data connections from diverse carriers (the added bonus here is that the secondary voice connection can be used as your primary data connection, which gives you even more bandwidth). It is also a good idea to install on-site backup power systems, so that you can access your IP phones and make changes to the system in the event that you lose power.
5. Boost your security.
There are several ways to fortify your network security, and thwart external hackers as well as internal rogue users. Best practices in this area include: apply WPA-2 and WPA password security, ensure that all users who access the system from their mobile device have strong network encryption, deploy a next-generation security gateway appliance, prevent users from making insecure file transfers, restrict network access to trusted parties, use an access list to prevent unauthorized SIP requests, establish usage limits, and more.
6. Establish resolution tools.
Resolution tools are very important, because they reveal issues or problems that may emerge months or years down the road. By addressing them now, you reduce risks and potential costs. These tools include setting alarms for when usage patterns deviate from typical norms, organizing VLANs by user group to assess traffic patterns, and so on.
7. Establish monitoring tools.
Once your system is up and running, it is important to monitor user experience and usage, so that you can make any adjustments and optimize performance. Key metrics to keep an eye on include: burst density, compression, jitter, gap density, R-factor, mean opinion score (MOS), codecs, VLAN configuration, link utilization, and the list goes on.
The Bottom Line
All of the above best practices are vital to ensure that your implementation experience is successful vs. stressful. That is why at DigitalPhone.io, we oversee and manage ALL OF THE ABOVE for you — including consulting with your users/user groups to learn about their telecommunications needs and preferences, making sure that your network is ready to handle the load, providing all technical support (which is great news for your IT team!), and monitoring ongoing performance. Don’t worry about missing a critical phase or overlooking a key detail. Our experts take care of everything and guide you every step of the way.