IP Telephony: It’s Not The Same As IT And WiFi

Virtually all computers, laptops, phones, WiFi hardware, CCTV, air conditioning units, and numerous other devices have an IP address. However, this does not mean that one single person knows how to implement, programme, service and repair all the various hardware on your network ...

When it comes to, for example, CCTV, the installer will know how to set up, install and configure the equipment up to the point where the requirement is to then connect into your IT network. The same goes for the Air Condition hardware engineer.

"In the case of telephony equipment and telephone systems, is it almost the opposite!"

IT technicians and network engineers are very comfortable with internal connectivity and configuring a VoIP Hosted Service, but may not always understand the complexities of new technologies such as SIP Trunking (virtual phone lines) and/or integration with modern services such as Microsoft Teams and conferencing.

To understand IP Telephony (VoIP & SIP), firstly you need to understand telephony. It's not just about porting numbers and connecting handsets and softphones or a desktop app. That's the easy part.

It is about what happens in the background and which provider or platform you're using and the levels of integration with other applications are where the problem lies. Internet-based applications such as Microsoft Teams offer great collaborative services, but trying to integrate break-out voice calls from a closed network to the public network is the tricky part.

The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is slowly converting a lot of the background protocols to IP (Internet protocol), but the fact still remains that the global telephony network and the internet are two totally separate entities.

To make a standard telephone call from MS Teams, the signals have to travel and be converted from the IP network to a Voice Network (in its most basic explanation for this blog post) using complex equipment known as Session Border Controllers (SBCs) which bridge the gap between the two IP networks (Voice and Data).

It is achievable, but very complex and in real business terms, of absolutely no benefit to businesses to bother with the hassle of this sort of integration. There are better ways of sharing slides while on a call.

When it comes to video conferencing, unless you are one of the very few people in today's world with no camera, speakers or microphone, it is best to pick up the phone and speak with the person in real-time. If it is multiple participants, then a conferencing service is more appropriate and more efficient to use.

The other thing to note is about setting up telephone systems and programming effective call routing. This ensures that when a call comes into your business, that it is routed in the most efficient way to the right person!

Openreach, the division of BT who own, operate and maintain the copper/fibre in the ground and the entire 'pole' network have already started to installing pure Broadband, which does NOT have a PSTN dial tone and is effectively the way of getting customers to switch from traditional telephone lines to VoIP services.

My advice is always to get a telecoms specialist like me involved when you are thinking of going full IP.

If you feel inspired to find out more then do call me on 07555 807700 or leave a comment below and I'll be in touch as soon as I can.