Written by: Allyson Koekhoven
There is a common debate around adopting VoIP as opposed to traditional telephony systems. VoIP detractors regularly outline the issues related to the adoption of VoIP such as call quality and security. Marco de Ru, head of product management at wireless convergence company MiRO explains that each of these problems can be overcome with the correct approach and product set.
Poor call quality in VoIP systems may be caused by jitter, which is a result of inconsistent latency. “This is the difference in time it takes for a voice packet to travel from one point to another. However, if customers deploy an adequate router, that has a built-in jitter buffer, this issue will be resolved. The jitter buffer receives the out-of-sync packets, buffers them and transmits a constant stream of VoIP packets to produce high-quality voice clarity,” says De Ru.
De Ru suggests investing in carrier class equipment that stabilises system latency, thereby reducing the jitter. VoIP is also very dependent on the quality of service, which is unfortunately reduced once one uses the internet. This, he adds, is why one needs to ensure that one’s internet service provider (ISP) has a high-level quality of service on their network which allows prioritising of VoIP packets.
In addition to jitter, customers often voice concerns over the security levels provided when using a VoIP solution. As VoIP makes uses of global network standards, it is naturally susceptible to cyber risks such as eavesdropping (although this is also a problem experienced by analogue system users), audio spam and malware. While security around older technologies seems to be on the back burner, there is, fortunately, a large and ongoing investment in security resources around VoIP.
De Ru says that a number of countermeasures can be used, including the use of VoIP-ready firewalls and other appropriate protection mechanisms. The maintenance of current patch levels is important, as patching after hacking is often complex and expensive. In addition, encryption is necessary to defeat eavesdropping attacks. This can be achieved through either transport layer security or IPsec (Internet Protocol Security).
Return on investment
VoIP systems present a number of advantages over legacy telephony and PBX. For enterprises, VoIP reduces the cost of equipment, lines, manpower, and maintenance. All of an organisation’s voice and data traffic is integrated into one physical network, bypassing the need for separate telephone lines. VoIP is also feature-rich, with functions like IVR/auto attendant, call recording, time of day routing, voicemail to email adding value to the investment.
“MiRO has been involved with VoIP for more than 10 years and entered the market due to its commitment to providing first-to-market, best of breed IP convergence solutions. The company’s strong networking background made it inevitable that we would become involved in VoIP,” says De Ru.
MiRO offers a licence-free range of cost effective quality products under the Grandstream brand. Not only is Grandstream based on tried and tested open source Asterisk telephony software, but the company has integrated its video conferencing units with Android open platform software. This makes integration with emerging technologies seamless, thereby eliminating the costs usually associated with buying new hardware to ensure compatibility.
MiRO also offers the premium, user-friendly series of Digium Switchvox VoIP PBXs. The Switchvox system is also built on the Asterisk platform, but is capable of handling hundreds of users and is packaged standard with all features already unlocked. De Ru comments that the favourite features include the call recording search function, call statistics for management and the dashboard. The dashboard provides the user with a customisable overview of all extensions, ring groups and activity on the system. Digium IP phones work synergistically with Switchvox systems, providing customers with an effortless auto-setup feature and full phonebook integration.
MiRO offers all customers a full advisory service that includes a needs analysis as well as technical advice and support when VoIP systems are considered.