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Monday, March 8, 2010

VOIP or IP Telephony Implementations: Tips for Success

Few IT professionals have practical experience in implementing IP Telephony solutions because there is both a voice and data component. It is not as simple as loading software on a server, assigning IP addresses and dropping telephones on employee desks. The voice professionals understand PBX and voice technologies and the IT professionals understand LANs and WANs. Implementing an IP Telephony solution requires expertise in both the voice and data world. A complete understanding of the two will ensure success.

As the business community migrates its voice and data systems to IP telephony, it is important to understand what elements need to be considered. An IP telephony implementation is very different than installing a traditional TDM PBX. Consideration must be given to the following when developing the initial project plan:

·Assessment and planning of current voice and data infrastructure

·Network readiness (QOS, capacity, network management, security, IP addressing, etc.).

·Voice and Data Infrastructure preparation (cabling, power, etc.).

·Equipment or data room preparation (back up power, cooling, etc.).

·Integration of applications such as Voice mail, ACD or branch office solutions.

·Validation of System design.

·New goals and expectations from affected departments.

·Organization readiness (aptitude and training of voice, data and user groups).

·Risk Assessment.

·Sign Off of the Project Plan by all team members

Now that the project plan outline is developed, take the following items into account to ensure project success:

·Ensure the Project timeline is realistic.

·It is imperative that the voice people talk to and understand the data people.

·Order any Telco services well in advance of assumed time frames.

·IP Telephony will require more planning than you expect.

·Have regular POTS circuits in place for back up.

·Ensure the IP Telephony PBX or Server supports POTS analog circuits or telephones.

·Treat station reviews as an important task.

·All PC's connected to IP Telephone sets must have all the latest patches loaded.

·IP Telephone sets require power to operate. What's your power continuance plan?

·Simplify your LAN architecture.

·Communication is key to users and department leaders.

·Minimize the number of vendors in your architecture.

·Identify any potential hidden and often overlooked costs of implementation.

·Don't underestimate the importance of network management.

·Prepare and draw out all call flows including the call center and voice mail back door.

·Analyze voice traffic and understand trunking traffic studies.

·Don't upgrade your data network at the same time of IP PBX cut-over.

·Make sure all software is compatible.

·It is useful to develop a multi-phase plan.

·Watch out for alarm circuits, HVAC and fire safety equipment circuits.

·Elevator telephones, Overhead Paging?

·Test, test, test.

·Any 911 issues?

·Address any additional network security concerns.

·Ensure all users are properly trained.

·Develop a post cutover action plan.

·Do not try to save money on the installation.

This is by no means a comprehensive plan as every project is unique, but I hope that you may have found some items to consider that maybe would have been overlooked.

John Leonardelli

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