Prior to making the decision to switch to voice over IP, it is imperative to ensure that the network is capable of handling both voice and data transmission. While it is possible to maintain separate networks for both, it would be a costly endeavor. Running voice and data on the same network will provide a more uniformed level of communication services.

The network should maintain sufficient bandwidth to handle all communications components, while still being scalable, flexible and reliable.

Almost as important as strong network capabilities is the readiness of management tools. There is an abundance of call management and monitoring tools on the commercial market. The majority of management tools available are now software based, as hardware based tools are both expensive to deploy and difficult to maintain. Call monitoring software is designed to record, monitor, backup files and provide remote access to administrative functions. An optimal call monitoring software helps to ensure that quality is at it’s best.

An alternate method to ensuring quality to provide voice traffic priority by configuring QoS. In a network designed for voice over IP, QoS should be configured so that voice gets priority over other types of traffic.

While business may have the ultimate in network and software available, none of that means anything if staff is ill-equipped to operate or understand the system’s data flow, defined communication process, or basic technology behind the hardware or software tools in the system.

Staff should be trained in a manner that they understand the needs and basic requirements of both voice and data network processes.

The final item to consider before deploying a voice over IP solution is network security. While it is unlikely that a VoIP network will ever be hacked, it is best to take preventative steps to ensure security. This can be done by using voice and data encryption, and a virtual private network. It is also optimal for businesses to run properly configured firewalls and ensure that the firewall used supports SIP or H.323 technology.