It is increasingly simple to get started with VoIP. Most businesses and home users already have some form of internet connection, which is the most important ingredient for getting connected with VoIP. As VoIP is only possible with an internet connection, the type of connection you have and the stability of your connection will play a huge role in the quality of your calls. As a result many service providers will insist on a separate internet connection dedicated to your VoIP solution. 

Unlike traditional phone services, getting started with VoIP requires fewer equipment and a quicker turnaround time to install, this is since the infrastructure that is needed for VoIP is typically bundled with your current network architecture and internet connection. This means no need to deploy separate architecture and expensive equipment. One point to note is that should you be opting for a new internet connection such as fibre, this may extend your estimated installation date as you will need to wait for your internet connection to be installed. Your service provider will advise on the best steps to take to ensure quality of service and provide options available on the VoIP solutions available. One way to ruin a relationship with a customer is to provide bad call services, so ensure you understand all the options before making a decision. Typically there are 2 main options to choose from, this is either an on premise-based system or a hosted solution, also referred to as cloud-based. Both on premise and hosted solutions will each have their own sub choices to choose from, such as end-points, type of extensions and so on. Before deciding which option would best suite your unique environment there are a few items to consider and unpack these are;

  1. Your local network. Do you have existing infrastructure available such as cabling, network switches, SIP enabled handsets, any form of SIP PABX and so on.
  2. Your internet connection. A fast and stable fibre connection could be used to incorporate your VoIP solution. However an unstable LTE connection would be less desirable.
  3. A disaster plan. It is important to note what the plan needs to entail should your connectivity or electricity be offline. Are your telephone calls business critical, if so ensure this is accommodated for accordingly.
  4. VoIP service. There are many service providers available, and having a clear understanding of what type of service you need will help you find the right provider or at least narrow it down. Some providers specialise in custom reporting, others with call centre software whilst others still cater for home users.
  5. Contract Terms.  Another important question is how flexible the contract terms are and whether service level agreements need to be catered for.

Once you have answered these questions you can reach out to the service providers of your choice. At Netlayer we will will assess your current infrastructure, if applicable, and based on this information and answers to the above items, we would suggest the solution best suited.

There are some important terms that you may come across in your discussions which is worth understanding these are;

Session Initiation Protocol  (SIP)

SIP is a protocol used to initiate VoIP sessions in real-time. It also allows you to maintain, modify and terminate each connection.

SIP Trunking

Service providers use SIP Trunking to connect PBX’s together with the traditional phone network to send and receive calls over the internet. This allows a traditional PBX to be upgraded to allow for SIP capability without replacing your existing telephony equipment.

Codec

In the context of VoIP, you may come across the G.722 or G.729 codecs. This is essentially a form of bandwidth optimisation which ensures the quality of calls are superior to the typical voice call.

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

DHCP is used by client-side network devices to be assigned an IP address and other important parameters to make a connection. It also ensures IP addresses are unique. VoIP phones can be configured with a static or a dynamic IP. Please can you help with this explanation I stole this.

Latency and Jitter.

Latency and jitter are often mentioned in collaboration when identifying quality of service with calls. Latency is the interval between a signal being sent and it arriving at the other endpoint. It is the amount of time it takes for a user’s voice to be heard by the recipient. Jitter on the other hand is the difference between the time it takes for a packet of data to reach its destination. When the jitter is high, users perceive this as a delay on their end.

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The relevant details for ISPA are:

Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA)
Address:

PO Box 518, Noordwyk, 1687
Telephone: 010 500 1200
Email: complaints@ispa.org.za