The Way Business Is Moving published by
Issue Date: September 2008

VoIP and convergence

1 September 2008

Why is VoIP such a hot trend today?
VoIP is one of the most important mission-critical applications being deployed on networks today, and moving to IP telephony is a key decision point in the evolution of a company’s network. Independent of either the evolutionary or revolutionary approach to migration, trends indicate that companies will convert their entire voice network to be VolP-based, while demanding equal characteristics of the traditional telephony, such as availability and voice quality.
What technologies are aiding the momentum?
Power over Ethernet (PoE), greatly contributes to making VoIP deployments both simple and highly available. PoE allows you to power IP-connected devices such as IP phones and wireless LAN access points, over the existing LAN cabling infrastructure. This allows not only a very convenient and cost-effective powering of the phones (no local desk DC power needed), but also a simple, centralised power protection of the whole installation directly from the switch/wiring closet.
What advantages does VoIP have over traditional telephony networks?
* Reduction in carrier circuit charges (true when Voice over IP is carried over the Internet).

* Enhanced applications.

* Integrated messaging.

* Voice-enabled websites.

* Desktop video conferencing.

* Integrated management systems and strategies.

* Increased flexibility, reduction in overall complexity, elimination of circuit redundancy.
What are people expecting from VoIP?
Availability is the key expectation. Consider the promise of running telephony over data networks, where you can greatly benefit from new applications, such as unified messaging together with significant cost-savings in personnel and equipment using a single voice-data network.
Before Power over Ethernet, companies could not commit their mission-critical voice systems to run on the data networks – losing data during a power outage is one thing, but losing data and voice during an outage is something else entirely. By supplying power over the same cable as the data network, these systems can now deliver the kind of reliability expected from a business class phone system.
A common goal is to consistently achieve 99,999% availability with 5,3 minutes of downtime per year or less. As a long-term supplier for high availability telephony installations, MGE Office Protection Systems understands that high availability and reliability are absolute requirements also for IP telephony solutions. By connecting a UPS to a Power over Ethernet Mid-span in the communication room, the entire IP telephony network is becoming more reliable and ensures continuous operation during a power outage.”
What else in happening in the networks space?
Together with VoIP, wireless LANs are one of the fastest growing segments in the networks market. Wireless LAN access points are low-power devices that are also connected to the edge closet switches and require low DC power. For such an application, Power over Ethernet technology is of great benefit, because it dramatically simplifies the cabling problem (get rid of the low power DC power cable to each access point). This is why Power over Ethernet is one of the most demanded features for access points products and most suppliers already support this standard. In many cases, wireless LANs are also mission-critical and can benefit from the centralised protection against power losses, provided by a UPS located at the switch closet level.
Christelle Larkins, area manager (South Africa), MGE Office Protection Systems
Christelle Larkins, area manager (South Africa), MGE Office Protection Systems

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