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3 Small Business Phone System Infrastructure Tips

By: Scott Resnick


If you are considering upgrading your small business phone system to VoIP, first realize that in VoIP deployment there are some key factors that determine the success or failure of your system. Here are three essential infrastructure tips to help you ensure your system is implemented without a hitch:

1. Know Your Bandwidth Requirements
You must ascertain the amount of voice traffic, incoming and outgoing, carried by your voice network. You can calculate bandwidth yourself by examining your PBX system. Most PBX systems report utilization information that includes station-to-station and station-to-truck info.
Use a few general rules of thumb to translate voice utilization statistics into bandwidth requirements. Start by going with a 6.711 codec because it provides the best voice quality. Assume 20 millisec for packetization rate—the default setting for most IP PBX systems. Bandwidth utilization in this case amounts to 88K bit/sec per conversation. If we assume four users simultaneously per hour, in a 1,000-user IP voice system the additional bandwidth needed is 22M bit/sec. We simply multiply 250 (concurrent conversations) by 88K bit/sec per station.
2. Infrastructure Review
The second small business phone system tip is to review the gear that keeps your network alive. You want to check for the correct configurations and necessary feature support. During VoIP deployment you want to prioritize voice packetization so IP based quality of service (QoS) must be supported. Some IP PBX systems require multicast support. Check to see if yours is one. Ensure that these features are turned on. Then check to see if any of the configurations could pose a problem.
3. Network Statistics and Utilization
Bandwidth consumption metrics, latency, jitter, and packet loss must be audited. Bottlenecks for bandwidth consumption lie in the interswitch links. Failover considerations need to be dictated by maximum bandwidth utilization. It’s important to deploy uplinks redundantly. If one fails, then the other needs to be able to handle the load for both.
Exceptionally detrimental to business quality voice are latency, jitter, and packet loss. Although these are rarer, they still can pose a problem. When they do occur it’s usually due to outdated equipment or easily avoidable mistakes. An example would be an Ethernet cable that’s a lot longer than the maximum supported Cat 5 cable length. Some numbers to guide you: 0 packet loss, 40 millisec maximum jitter, and network latencies that do not exceed 100 millisec.  
A successful deployment of your small business phone system requires a little planning and foresight. Following these three key tips will ensure your IP PBX system and VoIP network succeeds. If you are ever lost, reaching out to your phone system provider is also an easy solution to ensure everything is done correctly.
This article was originally published by TTI Houston
Published: January 26, 2015

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Scott Resnick

Scott Resnick is the President and Owner of Today's Telecommunications Industries, LLC (TTI) in Houston, TX. For the past 39 years, Scott has been instrumental in serving the telecommunications needs of some of Houston's largest and most influential companies. TTI is one of the largest NEC dealers in the United States. Scott is an avid baseball fan, loving father, husband, and a world traveler.

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