ADSL - the VoIP killer
Weak link in reliability chain
Over half of UK businesses are avoiding VoIP 'cos their ADSL broadband connections to branch offices aren't up to scratch, according to research coming out of Enterprise-VoIP specialists Viatel.
Viatel hired Omniboss to talk to 200 IT Decision Makers to find out why more companies aren't using VoIP, and discovered that 54 per cent have not touched VoIP, with almost 70 per cent of those citing unreliable voice quality as the overriding factor preventing them switching to IP, with expensive leased lines being seen as the only alternative - thus limiting VoIP to large enterprises that already have an extensive data infrastructure.
It's certainly not that smaller companies don't want VoIP - 95 per cent of those without VoIP said they would jump at the chance if the call quality issues could be resolved.
Viatel's point, of course, is that those issues can be resolved though the use of uncontested ADSL.
Of course, something as simple as reconfiguring ADSL routers to prioritise traffic could also work.
But the original driver for VoIP, cost savings, is not as compelling as it once was with the cost of voice communications dropping across the board - arguably because of the pressure that VoIP systems have put on pricing. Today much of the advantage of VoIP is in its ability to integrate with other systems, but that's a much harder sell than the cheaper phone calls that VoIP is still identified with.
I may as well throw in my totally uninformed voip opinion too!
Does voip work? Yes, subject to you using the right kit, same as anything.
Does it need to cost a bundle? No, not if you think about it.
Will it go wrong? No, not if you have thought about it. Use reliable kit, have spare capacity etc and you should never have a problem.
It is invaluable in some situations, I run a helpdesk service, my people all work from home, so its fantastic for us. It (asterisk currently) sits on our vpn/IM server, and gives us the ability to put phones on our clients sites etc.
The right kit? Dedicated server, with a hot failover in a separate datacenter. Hardware phones, QoS on our broadband. Business grade voip->pots service (Gradwell).
Shame we will never get broadband in the Uk anything like our buddies in Norway or Sweden. Even Norway, where the beer is very far from free, dedicated 50mb duplex fiber, installed 500, and 50 a month. Japan, 100mb duplex for about 60-100 a month.
So its perfectly doable, workable etc, you just have to watch out for the cowboys. As usual.
As for call charges, I'm not 100% how much cheaper than BT it is, I can not for the life of me figure out their calling rates from their website, but I am pretty sure they bill by the minute. Gradwell offer lower call setup costs, then bill me by the second at what I'm pretty sure is substantially less also. End result, much cheaper, more functionality and flexibility.
Its a tool, and like any, will not work for every job. To select the tool you need, remove preconceptions, research the subject, plan your implementation etc.
Also, avoid reading the comments on sites like this. (Even mine :-) For example, the thought of everything in my business grinding to a halt because of a switch is hilarious. I have spares. So should you, or a service contract that is quick and efficient.
Paris, because I'll bet even she wouldn't swallow some of the reasons punted above.
The value of VOIP
VOIP is not about cheaper calls, no matter what the marketing claims.
Historically, there were only voice bearers. Then we started running data circuits over those voice bearers; the PRIs and the OC-series. Then voice itself became packetized and suddenly we're running voice over data - but still over those same voice bearers. The technology ramps up, but underneath it's still a circuit, and you're still using roughly the same bandwidth to make a call.
The true value of VOIP is in rich voice functionality and the lower cost & complexity of operating a single data network with voice as "just a service".
As more services converge onto data networks (storage is next with FCoE) we'll see increasing utility from that notion. RIght now, we're still building infrastructure. So this is the expensive stage.
But in the meantime, you still need a reliable bearer at the bottom of it all. If you're serious about business-grade branch-office VOIP, you'll go BDSL, with SRST handing off to local PSTN, and a very highly available core switching capability in your DC.
And don't expect a ROI under five years.
"The idea is to run voice and dat on the SAME cable. That's how you save the money"
If you install a VoIP system you only need one CAT5/6 outlet saving you between £25 - £65 (depending on amount of outlets)
You need to upgrade all of your switches to support QoS and PoE, the phones are more expensive, the actual PBX (in many cases) is more expensive.
Not such a money saver in the, well pretty short term.
Also if your switch dies you lose voice and data. Normally if something breaks in the comms room you can still make and answer phone calls or compose and answer emails. With a new converged system you can do neither!
Can you believe I sell this stuff, I can't.