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December 03, 2012
Understanding the VoIP Food Chain, or Why You Need a VoIP Router
By Allison Boccamazzo, TMCnet Web Editor
If an Internet-connected business is a big, tasty sandwich, then a VoIP router or SBC is probably the meat of it. When biting into that delicious sandwich, the last thing you want is for it to taste bad. Similarly, the last thing you want is for your business network to be harmed by any number of threatening, detrimental factors. Poor voice quality, getting hacked or having your voice network go down can lead to unplaced orders and ultimately lost revenues.
When it comes to checking off all of the little boxes you have lined up, you’ll likely find that a VoIP router or Session Border Controller (SBC) is what you really need. These devices offer the high quality and rich feature set required to preserve business continuity.
The VoIP router is a critical component for business-class IP telephony. VoIP gateways simply don’t provide the capabilities businesses need. If you only needed to convert analog and digital telco lines to VoIP (and vice versa), then you’d be all set. But keeping your business operations flowing requires such advanced features as Quality of Service (QoS), SIP server redundancy, traffic shaping and VoIP proxy. You need a VoIP router.
“VoIP gateways don’t have the features that a business needs to guarantee that their voice quality will be acceptable, that they won’t lose service and that if the Internet goes down, they don’t disrupt operations,” Flowers explains. “The gateway router takes care of these business issues.”
Let’s say one of your employees is working on the phone while another uses your company’s network to send or receive a large file. The last thing you want is for that call to sound garbled or robotic, or worse, be interrupted or. Without upstream and downstream QoS you’re constantly risking poor call quality, which can force the customer to hang up and call back. Such interrupted business flows decrease customer satisfaction and waste your workers valuable time. To ensure business efficiency and customer satisfaction, QoS is essential.
One solution that works to address commonly faced QoS issues is Patton’s new PRI-class SmartNode Series. These VoIP routers and IADS boast “future-proof” IPv6-ready hardware and work to preserve public switched telephone network (PSTN) access for IP-based voice networks. The SmartNode model 4970, 4980 and 4990 all offer PSTN lifeline relay for voice-and-data survivability, as well as optional SIP transcoding for enhanced interoperability with any ITSP or iPBX.
Climbing higher up the VoIP food chain, there are significant benefits to investing in a high-quality VoIP router or SBC. Businesses of all sizes have one thing in common, and that’s their concern over preserving finances. The more employees you have, the more phone systems your organization will have to support. If you’re not joining forces with a VoIP service provider and your employees frequently dial long distance, you’ll most likely be spending a hefty sum on your company’s phone bill. A Session Border Controller, however, offers a seamless interface between your company’s private network and the VoIP service provider’s public network.
An SBC solution also protects your business’ security by prioritizing emergency calls and supporting lawful interception. Supporting these regulatory requirements is a key requirement. SBCs also offer enhanced flexibility by enabling your network to support IPv4 to IPv6 networking, VPN connectivity, H.323 and other communication technologies.
“You need a box to make sure that whatever you have is going to be able to talk to anybody else, and the SBC does that,” Flowers says.
Reigning at the top of the VoIP food chain is the Integrated Access Device (IAD). These high-end products serve as a middle-man between your traditional phone equipment and IP- telephony systems. In order to access the Internet, in addition to a router, you also need a modem. Whether it’s a DSL modem, a fiber modem or a cable modem, you need another box between the router and the Internet. The VoIP IAD saves customers from having to buy a modem. It has one built in.
“You’ve got a gateway with a router and a modem all brought together in one box. So instead of buying three things you only have to buy one,” Flowers explains. That also means that you’ll only have to install, maintain, troubleshoot and configure one product, offering peace of mind to IT staff. “It’s convenient. It saves you money because you’re only buying one box, and long-term, it’s easier to maintain.”
Patton even surpasses the average VoIP gateway, as the company’s line of lower-cost VoIP gateways still offer business-class features, and industry-renowned reliability and stability not found in cheaper alternatives. For example, the company’s SmartNode 4110 Series Analog VoIP Gateway (News - Alert) supports up to eight transparent VoIP phone or fax calls while providing carrier and corporate network access. Robust and flexible, it interconnects any analog phone, fax or PBX (News - Alert) to support toll-bypass, remote/branch office voice connectivity and enhanced carrier services.
So whether your business requirements point to a VoIP router, IAD, or SBC, or even a low-cost business-grade VoIP gateway, it is more than worth your time to consider Patton’s solutions. In fact, Patton has enhanced its support with the recent announcement of that Patton Electronics (USA) together with Patton-Inalp (Switzerland) have introduced two new premium support services.
Edited by Peter Bernstein
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