Voice and Data: When Will They Converge?

Back in the day when I was a young administrator building networks for companies, we always supported multiple types of networks. It was just the way things were done then. Vendors did not play well with other vendors. And the technology was just not there yet. Even now in many companies I still continue to see separate networks: data and voice. All of which take up valuable resources.

Why hasn’t voice been migrated over to the data backbone? The technology is there and has been there for some time. Why are firms still supporting multiple networks?

IP Telephony and Voice over IP (VoIP) can help your firm reduce costs and simplify your network by using existing bandwidth that might be inefficiently used. That is assuming you have available bandwidth. VoIP has the intelligence to only use the bandwidth needed, and is even able to compress that usage on its own. This results in significantly less bandwidth being used, which is more cost effective data usage, compared to the voice or PSTN links. In addition, an IP-PBX offers much more functionality and flexibility to your network.

You must have heard of other firms migrating over to VoIP and having quality issues. This is true when voice traffic must compete for bandwidth with other applications on the network, the quality of calls will suffer even if the IP network is working perfectly. The “jitters” was a real problem for most early adopters. However, proper QoS and data shaping will ensure that the voice traffic will have the bandwidth it needs, when needed. This is critical for IP Telephony call quality. However, while ensuring uncongested bandwidth is available to voice is critical for superior call quality, other applications must also perform well to keep the business running.

Untangling and converging your voice and data networks will allow your networks to do more with less by reducing communications costs, simplifying administration, and increasing employee productivity.