By: Dan O’Donnell
When I was working for the telephone company in the monopoly days we used to joke when Telecom Managers gave us a difficult time. We said to them, “You know that hum in your ear when you pick up the telephone? You want to keep it, don’t you?” The underlying threat being, I have the power to take away your Dial Tone.
Well, the monopoly days are long gone. New technology has created a variety of solutions to get that hum in your ear. In fact, when using mobile devices, there is no dial tone at all. Through all this change, however, there is one constant…there is no tolerance for unreliable service. Over the years, the monopoly phone system has created an expectation for five nines reliability, 99.999% uptime.
Advances in speed and reliability of the internet over the years provide a good network for VoIP calling. Mixing voice, data, video and mobile calling on the same IP network, however, presents some unique challenges.
Voice calls have no tolerance for delay and require packets to arrive in the same order as they were sent whereas most data protocols can tolerate various levels of delay. Having these different protocols running on the same network requires unique priority assignments for different applications called Quality of Service (QoS) designations.
Security is another issue that must be addressed on VoIP networks. VoIP systems are open to attacks just like any other device or end point connected to the internet. Further, different types of security devices are often needed for voice and data services.
Managing VoIP networks can be very efficient. As noted above, though, they also have special monitoring, management and security requirements. Fortunately, there are many specialized appliances available to provide these services. The critical foundation for cost effective and efficient VoIP management is a flexible access management system. All links should be monitored and managed. All links thus require multiple appliances. Developing a sound monitoring strategy is necessary to provide the reliability, availability and control needed for VoIP networks while helping manage the appliance costs.
Next generation network access systems can aggregate multiple links into a single appliance. Because VoIP links have lower bandwidth requirements, the aggregation ratio can be very high allowing significant CAPEX savings on expensive appliances. Another cost and efficiency feature of access devices is filtering. This allows the attached appliances to only process targeted protocols, further reducing throughput to the monitoring device and allowing more efficient operation.
Using the internet for voice, data, video and mobile communications is very efficient. Developing a monitoring strategy built around a next generation network access solution such as the AFS by Network Critical, will provide the foundation for high performance, high availability, robust security and reduced cost.
For more information about the AFS and Network Critical go to www.networkcritical.com.