by August 21, 2002 0 comments



If you’re thinking of deploying VoIP technology in your organization, it’s important to know the benefits it has to offer and
costs involved. 

What you get
One advantage of VoIP is that it ‘packetizes’ voice into IP packets, just like ordinary data. This gives you flexibility to do many things. For one, you can use your existing LAN and WAN links to transport voice traffic along with your existing data traffic. Since VoIP converges your data and voice networks, you save on the additional expenditure of laying out a voice network and the associated equipment. Though the initial cost for a traditional voice network is lesser than a VoIP setup on your data network, the latter pays you back in good time. In case you already have a voice PBX in place, you don’t need to throw it out, as there are products that can IP-enable it, and hence use the existing system. It goes for your existing analog phone instruments too. They can also be used, but have limited additional features as compared to IP phones. 

Another major advantage of VoIP is mobility. Your phone extension, in a way, becomes your identity. The HR department of a company can just feed in your name, and the system automatically configures an IP phone for you. This phone would be ‘fixed’, irrespective of your physical location. So if you change offices within the same organization, just plug in your phone into the network of your new location, and your preferences and phone book will become available there. Even your extension number remains the same! 

Elaborating further on the concept of mobility, you may even be outside your office, say at a hotel with your laptop. If your company has a RAS or VPN access, just log onto the company network and you get your phone extension on your laptop (via a Softphone). This is because voice calls become an application running on a server rather than a dedicated line carrying electrical signals. Of course, you can’t be too sure of the quality of calls if you connect over a dial-up link. 

Costs
The price of a VoIP solution for your organization will vary depending upon the set up you need. You could either join VoIP equipment with your existing voice network, or go for a total VoIP implementation. In the former, you could simply place a VoIP box, connect plain analog telephones to it, and let your ISP provide you the IP-telephony services. Cost of such equipment could be below a lakh. Alternately, if you have offices in multiple locations connected over some sort of a private leased circuit, you could opt for a more sophisticated solution that would cost more. However, it will help bring down your long distance telephone bills significantly in the long run thereby justifying the cost. To deploy a VoIP solution, the vendor will of course need to check your network for the necessary bandwidth and its capability to handle voice
traffic.

Ashish Sharma

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