4 Things to Consider when Designing your Next-Gen Communications Infrastructure

Changing your voice communications infrastructure means thinking about things way beyond voice: network infrastructure, bandwidth, video conferencing, messaging and hardware to name a few.

Over the years I’ve observed businesses often avoid big changes until events force their hand. An office move; expansion; new management; old gear that breaks a little too often to fix.

Changing phone systems, for many, is up there with visiting the dentist for a root canal. Multiple technologies, mysterious acronyms, mega-lists of indecipherable acronyms. Add in Cellular, Wi-Fi, Video, Smart phones and iPads… only increases the information overload.

In subsequent posts I’m going to write about 4 things to consider before making the big communications hardware changes.

1. Time is not a Luxury

We’re all busy people; we put big decisions off to focus on the day-to-day.  If you know you’re moving offices in six months, start designing your new communication infrastructure now. You can’t wait. Services like fibre optic Internet access and ISDN PRI may take weeks,  even months to get installed. Waiting until the last minute to order will restrict your choice of available options.

2. Check out the VOICE Options

Voice over IP connectivity may be configured in so many ways: SIP trunks connected to legacy phone systems; Hosted Cloud services supporting IP extensions; “IP Soft Fones” on workstations or iPAD screens; IP gateways for remote tele-workers. Or maybe you’d like to DIY and be your own hosted provider for all your branch locations. Start building a framework for what it could, or should, look like.

3. VOICE is only part of it

UM (Unified Messaging), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), Presence Management, RFID tags for vehicles, Texting, Video Conferencing, IP Security Cameras. How do all these systems come together?

4. Build the Bandwidth Budget

New LAN applications, cloud services, streaming music and video… a checklist of expected total bandwidth requirements for services during peak periods is essential. At the very least, let your WAN provider review the list and make suggestions. Be sure to ask about GB charges, service guarantees (the SLA) and future scalability.