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VoIP Installation best practices explained.

Proper setup and installation of a Voice over Internet phone system will make better sound quality and prevent a host of possible issues.

What you need to know when setting up your hosted business VoIP service.  These simple steps will result in big advantages.

PC showing network with voip.When installing hosted VoIP lasting success is best achieved by following some basic good network practices.  We have put together the information and instructions you'll want for a successful VoIP installation.  Good basic network practices will result in the best voice quality and the most consistent stable connection, with less problems throughout the life of your communications system.  Understanding why these VoIP installation practices are suggested can be a big benefit in helping resolve the possible occasional issues that may arise.  Most of these issues can easily be resolved just by following a few simple steps. AsteriskPbxSystems.com has put together easy to understand troubleshooting steps for you correct any issues in a precise way.  So follow our advice and start with a plan for a good VoIP installation.

Basic VoIP network design

Small business VoIP installations should start with good basic network design which will help prevent some VoIP quality issues.  Voice calls begin on your businesses local network and the steps you take when first installing a VoIP service will act to make a better more stable LAN network.  Better voice quality and less network issues will result in better overall satisfaction.  Here are some good standard practices when deploying a VoIP network.  The basic structure of your LAN (Local Area Network) will benefit by eliminating potential issues which affect voice quality and other issues that could result from a poorly thought out design.

Business phone salesman with sports jacket.Good VoIP network rules

First, cabling, jacks and other hardware should be up to current standards, since old problematic cabling will be a disaster for VoIP.  If any new cables are being installed, best practice would be to have totally separate physical lines for each IP phone, but this generally will be difficult for many small businesses, so making sure all connections and terminations are tight and clean would be a good first step.
Eliminate any additional unneeded hops, such as extra pieces of hardware between the phones and the outbound gateway.  Work to make the path as clean as possible, both for speed and possible failure points.  These extra devices could include any additional switches and/or routers that are not required.  (Never use any hubs or other older devices.)
Create a VLAN for voice which will segregate data and allow for voice prioritization. VLANs allow the allocation of bandwidth to voice for better more management.
Setup QoS (Quality of Service) for VoIP, including both the signaling SIP protocols and the RTP voice ports. (Check out which routers and firmware we suggest.)

Top 5 Small Business Router 2016   Tomato & DD-WRT Routers  Best Routers 2017

A good basic network design for VoIP should include hardware such as switches and routers to be robust enough to handle the capacity.  Capacity is most often thought of as bandwidth, and although having enough bandwidth is crucial, any limiting point on your network can add latency and jitter, both of which quickly degrade VoIP voice quality.  If your router or firewall cannot pass the number of voice packets presented without delay, latency will be added to that traffic which can result in quality issues, especially if packet discards result. Best VoIP installation practice would be to ensure a late a model router.  Not only will they deliver larger speeds (wireless), they have better VoIP handling capabilities.  In addition, make sure you always upgrade to the latest firmware versions.

Deploy hardware (switches, firewalls and routers) that exceed your LANs needs.  Bottlenecks can quickly become problem sources if pushed beyond their capacity and packet discards occur.
Hardware should be in good condition with patch cables that connect snugly.  Faulty hardware connections can cause periodic loss of connectivity and be difficult to detect especially if they only occur infrequently.
Misconfigured routing and double NAT (Network Address Translation) can impact VoIP negatively; make sure that no double NAT occurs.
Use a UPS for equipment, one that can condition power from spikes and voltage fluctuations, this is especially important for routers and switches and phone system KSUs, and make sure that proper grounding is in place.
Your Local Area Network needs to maintain good throughput because any delay caused by congestion within the LAN will cause call quality issues such as choppy voice or dropped audio.  Given that a majority of persistent call quality issues are caused by existing issues on the premise LAN it is important to verify that all switches, routers, firewalls and cabling infrastructure be able to support the amount of data and voice traffic without additional latency.

Installing VoIP-  How to:

voip Installation- Cable connection

Most cable companies offer robust affordable Internet service with good upload and download bandwidth.  Typically the connection that terminates the cable company is provided by a cable modem.  Connecting your VoIP system to a cable modem can be straight forward or may require some specific setup practices for good VoIP quality voice.

Cable modem connections are some of the most straight forward and simple installations for VoIP.  However, in the last couple of years cable modems some models of cable modems have become more complex and are routers, as well as firewalls.  This would especially be true if your cable modem is wireless, then for sure it is also a router. 

Simple VoIP network setup.

In the above simple diagram the VoIP ATA is placed first in the network connected directly to the modem.  ATAs can vary, some very basic (no NAT router) or can be more complex, a router, as well as an ATA.  The above diagrams installation limits the voice connection from having to pass through the router.  However if multiple devices are DHCP enabled the resulting network will be problematic.  Better installation practices would include limiting the NAT translations and limiting the occurrences of DHCP on devices.

Voip installation- DSL connection

DSL subscribers will find that most DSL modems act as routers, as well as, an Internet Ethernet connection.  DSL providers now offer greater bandwidths than years ago and are becoming even more robust, but will require some planning when installing VoIP service.

Voip installation- t1 or pri

Typically users who have a T1 service or PRI are businesses with several employees ranging from small/medium to large.  These installations can range from SIP trunking from a PBX system or SIP router to full a hosted VoIP service.  PRIs are typically handed off as an Ethernet connection which would then interface with the phone system and have a static IP address assigned from the provider.  These installations are more complex and may require a telecom professional who is familiar with your particular model of phone system. 

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