More businesses are adopting Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions than ever before. From streamlined platforms to centralized communications, VoIP is a truly cost-effective and flexible alternative to outdated phone systems. VoIP improves operational efficiency, cuts telecommunication costs, and increases overall performance. The preferred choice for countless brands and ventures, VoIP easily integrates into any existing telephony system or communications protocol.
Within the VoIP market, however, there are several brands and services available. The only way to secure the best VoIP package is to conduct extensive research. When it comes to the right system for your business, there are three important aspects to consider.
Scalability should be of paramount concern when selecting a VoIP system. Companies should look for the following before choosing a service provider:
- affordable VoIP services that promote brand growth and expansion;
- seamless integration of VoIP into existing telephony and business communications platforms;
- file sharing, screen sharing, uploads, downloads, and any other specific features that are needed by the business;
- Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking to expand or reduce business lines on an as-needed basis; and
- compatibility between private branch exchange (PBX) and SIP, with the flexibility to enhance, edit, or bring on new services.
Hosted vs. On-site Services
There are hosted and on-site options available for PBX services. Both have their unique advantages and disadvantages and should be taken into consideration when adopting new VoIP platforms.
- Businesses without existing PBX hardware tend to benefit from cloud-hosting services.
- Cloud services are easier to deploy, are more cost-efficient, and eliminate the need to purchase new hardware and pay maintenance fees.
- On-site systems offer more flexibility and better control over private telecommunications networks.
- On-site PBX is the best option for companies that have the means to invest in hardware and maintenance for optimal system functionality.
Deciding between on-site and remote services depends on the particular needs of the company. Businesses should also weigh the benefits and risks of deploying these services before signing their names on the dotted line.
With the advent of burgeoning technologies and bring your own device (BYOD) policies, more and more employees are able to get work done while on the go. In fact, many now use their own mobile, wireless, and digital devices from remote venues. With this in mind, businesses need to integrate contact lists, video conferencing, and call-forwarding services for their remote teams.
With modern VoIP features, businesses are also able to secure more freedom and flexibility for workers. They no longer have to invest in expensive tools for mobile workforces, since the same applications and programs are being utilized across the board.
According to a recent Cisco study, 89% of all companies let their employees work on their own computing devices. Statista, an online statistics company, reports that the average American owns three devices, and that number is increasing. This surge in employee demand for WiFi strains the networks.
Previous coverage-based wireless network designs have ceased to meet current WiFi requirements. Optimizing wireless networks to accommodate coverage and capacity and taking additional steps to improve performance is a must.
Employees often deploy access points hastily, resulting in wasted effort, slow WiFi performance, and help desk requests from frustrated users. The five steps outlined below will help ensure optimum WiFi performance.
1. Plan WiFi Performance
This step involves asking stakeholders, such as managers and directors, how they expect to use WiFi. Questions to ask include:
- How many wireless devices will be used?
- What devices are they?
- How many access points will be needed?
- What settings must be tuned?
An infrastructure evaluation will also be necessary to determine whether it is possible to use or upgrade existing hardware.
2. Conduct a Wireless Site Survey
Wireless site surveys should be both pre- and post-deployment, and the former can be either predictive or AP on a stick. With a predictive survey, the engineer can plan the placing of access points using floor plans. With a manual AP on a stick survey, on the other hand, points are placed at different spots where readings are then taken. The post-deployment survey, in which the predictive survey and deployment are validated, is all too often neglected.
3. Perform Spectrum Analysis
Performing a spectrum analysis enables the engineer to pinpoint sources of interference in the 2.4- or 5-GHz ranges. Wireless video cameras, microwaves, and noise-emitting devices are all possible sources of interference.
4. Shut off 2.4-GHz Radios
This part of the spectrum is one of the most overcrowded, and large numbers of 2.4-GHz radios are in use. Three non-overlapping channels to use in that range exist in the United States. With many access points deployed, engineers must plan to reuse all of these and avoid co-channel interference. To make the final decision to turn off 2.4-GHz radios, one must know which devices will be using WiFi.
5. Avoid Co-Channel Interference
Co-channel interference occurs when coverage in the same area, with the same channel, is provided by more than one access point. Multiple access points serving clients on a single channel severely degrades wireless communication, depriving each device of the airtime that it can have.
To avoid this kind of interference, the engineer should make sure that each access point provides a carefully-planned cell size on a set of channels that do not overlap, thus ensuring that each client receives the optimum amount of airtime.
Taking these five steps will help optimize a company’s wireless networks and improve WiFi performance.