Timing Is Everything Identify Problems Before They Occur

Most company IP networks were not designed for voice. They weren't built to accommodate hundreds or thousands of voice sessions each day. They were designed for a more data-centric purpose. It is common sense to assess how well the network will react to these new users and their sessions.

However, recall the fact that convergence is all about change. This is one of those instances. The idea of paying for an assessment ofthe current environment (or current state) as preparation for deploying a new telephone system is a radical change for most companies. As discussed, IP telephony is far more than just a new telephone system. However, as most people within a company's procurement process do not realize this just yet, they resist spending money on a function that they believe has been free in the past.

The reality is that this prework in the traditional PBX environment was not free, but was built into the price ofthe installation. In an IP environment, this cost is more significant, and more difficult to hide within the scope ofthe installation.

Therefore, many organizations resist this necessary step. Unfortunately, all too often, they pay for this decision in dramatic ways. Problems associated with deploying IP telephony have little to do with the actual voice communications platform, and everything to do with the condition and design ofthe network itself. The still-short history of IPT is inundated with examples of network issues causing problems for voice communications.

The key point is that when these problems occur, the company installing IPT is likely to come to the conclusion that this new system does not work. This is an incorrect assumption—the system works fine, but the network needs some fine-tuning, if not a complete overhaul.

Let me share the experiences of a number of clients who decided to deploy IP telephony without first conducting a full network assessment. In these cases, network issues, such as a lack of bandwidth and poor resource utilization, undermined the success ofthe IPT deployment. The following sections review some of these challenges and discuss various potential actions that can address these concerns.

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