5 Steps to Optimize Your Network for VoIP 2023


In 2020, IT professionals who manage business phone services will face a lot of difficulties. It is difficult to manage business phone services for workers who suddenly switch to a distributed model. This requires careful reorganization and additional network layer challenges, as a lot of your business communication takes place over unmanaged home networks.

This is not only difficult for voice communications but also many of these services offer additional communication channels such as team chatting, conference calls, video conferencing, and electronic faxing. VoIP-saddled administrators are finding it difficult to roll out new VoIP services or get started with VoIP.

These challenges are likely to continue for most companies for at least the first half of 2021. Many organizations will probably go on beyond that point. IT professionals should evaluate key networking strategies that can make the difference between clear conversations, sudden hang-ups, or unintelligible calls. The physical restructuring of offices that are VoIP-enabled will be common for central offices.

What is VoIP?

Wireless networking will require a different approach. If your IT department doesn’t have a plan or minimum specifications, managing VoIP and streaming-heavy workloads will likely need one. This becomes even more complex when we consider multiple Wi-Fi routers at home or on budget, as opposed to a single corporate network. Business-oriented phone services have a lot more management options than residential VoIP providers.

Curtis Peterson is Senior Vice President, Cloud Operations, at cloud-based phone system provider and PCMag Editors Choice winner, RingCentral. We spoke to him to help you plan for these issues. Peterson has seen many obstacles when helping companies to migrate to RingCentral products.

Remember: While some of the terminology and phrasing in this article might seem confusing, most VoIP providers offer guided installation services for smaller businesses. You can handle most of these issues if you have the necessary networking skills. If you don’t understand the differences between Wi-Fi and dial-up, your vendor can help you get up and running quickly.

1. What Kinds of Calls Does Your Business Make?

Before we dive into the details of networking, you need to do some preparation. First, determine the purpose of most phone calls to your company. Are you able to make a lot of sales by phone? Do you manage a large help desk within the company or for customers outside? Are your employees at their desks all the time, or out in the field?

What Kinds of Calls Does Your Business Make
What Kinds of Calls Does Your Business Make

A big question is: Are these voice conversations shifting to chat or another medium? It is important to understand the basics of your business communication style before you can choose the features that you want and plan how to implement them.

This data will allow you to choose not only the type of service provider that you require but also what types of VoIP devices you want for your company. It is possible to purchase dedicated VoIP phones for employees that allow them to make and receive calls right from their desks.

VoIP calls can be made from any computer, without the need to touch a phone. You can also use smartphones to make VoIP calls. You should determine which endpoints if any, you will be using immediately. Peterson advised, “Before you network requires more thought. Determine that.”

2. Test Your Cabling

Peterson suggests that you buy Cat 6 cables, if possible. These cables are capable of supporting up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE), at 250 MHz for up 328 feet. 1000 feet can be purchased for between $90 and $170. You will need to upgrade your network infrastructure if you want to run such a Fast Ethernet network. SMB network devices are more likely to default to one gigabit than to 10. SMB network devices default to a single gigabit, rather than 10.

Test Your Cabling
Test Your Cabling

Ethernet is the best option if you have a tight budget. Peterson suggests Cat 5e cables to those who can’t afford Cat 6. These cables can still handle the 1GbE traffic loads. Peterson advises clients to avoid older Cat 3 cables. They will not be able to handle the extra load and reliability management that comes with VoIP, which can pose a problem for Cat 3 users.

3. Design a Better Power Plan

Many vendors will tell customers that Power over Ethernet (PoE) is the best way to make sure your VoIP phones are powered up. PoE allows devices to draw power from your Ethernet network. This is usually done by connecting the closest device to them. For phones, this is often the computer next to them or the switch or router in the closet down the hallway. Although it sounds odd to newcomers, there are likely examples of PoE in the area. PoE is used by companies to mount surveillance cameras, ceiling-mounted access points, and LED lights.

Design a Better Power Plan
Design a Better Power Plan

Two things are necessary for PoE to work. You need devices that can support PoE. PoE will typically be required for any device that pulls or provides power. This is an independent standard so you don’t need to worry about matching hardware from different vendors. However, as with most networking hardware, you are better off sticking with one manufacturer.

Second, even though it isn’t traffic, electricity is still flowing over your network cables, which can have an impact on overall performance. This means that you need to test and prepare a management plan that is feasible for your IT staff. PoE is a popular option for VoIP providers to deliver desktop phones. Your chosen provider should have a lot of experience in customer service should you need it. PoE injections can be ordered if your Ethernet switch does not allow for PoE. This is an extra power source that can be used in conjunction with non-PoE switches.

4. Explore the VLAN Option

There are many things competing for your network’s limited space. All the web pages your employees visit, all database queries, and every customer relationship management (CRM), are all connected to the same wires. Software is not affected by this because the network has features that allow data to “heal” itself if a packet goes missing or arrives late.

Voice is however a completely different animal because it’s a real-time application. If your sales pitch arrives late, the last few words can’t be rearranged. They’re simply dropped and your customer will only hear static. This is not what you want and there are many ways network administrators and VoIP providers could configure your network to avoid it.

The virtual LAN (VLAN), one of the most well-known, is one of the most common. It is built in the same way as a physical PC. However, it is a virtual network within your physical network. A portion of your network cabling, or “pipe space”, is now managed as a separate network that runs its own traffic.


This is advantageous for VoIP as it means that if this traffic is the only one running over your VLAN, you are less likely to experience problems or drop that traffic. VLANs allow you to re-distribute VoIP traffic into its own protected space. This ensures that voice and video calls are not dropped when someone downloads large files. You can manage VoIP traffic by limiting your VLAN to only phone and video traffic.

The flip side of the coin is (a) How much of your pipe should be allocated to this VLAN and (b) How will that loss of overall bandwidth affect other applications. These are crucial questions that you cannot answer without real-world testing. Make sure to include them in your rollout for any VoIP implementation.

While voice is very important, if you have to protect it, you are doing yourself no favors. How can you make your network infrastructure more resilient to the loss of bandwidth? What are your most resilient applications? These are the questions network administrators must answer and quality testing can help them.

5. Use Access Point Handoff to Manage Traffic

Mobile VoIP has become a very popular option in many business settings. This is partly because it allows for flexibility and partly because it lowers data transfer costs.

This basically means that voice communications automatically move to your WiFi network when your company’s mobile devices access your on-premises network. Many of the same problems network managers have when adding voice traffic into their wired network are also present when moving to wireless.

Use Access Point Handoff to Manage Traffic
Use Access Point Handoff to Manage Traffic

Peterson stated that traditional Wi-Fi networks are typically small managed systems, designed for tablets and laptops. They do not support voice and video. This discrepancy is why it is important to analyze your network and determine the number of simultaneous calls your wireless connection can handle.

Peterson recommends managed Wi-Fi that allows access points (AP), and handoff to be used when one network becomes overwhelmed. This capability allows network administrators to ensure smooth traffic handling when mobile devices move out of range of one access point into another.

This little optimization can cause auditory problems, as well as dropped calls. He suggests that a system be set up to allow for smaller packet sizes and that can also control access points manually from either an on-premises controller or a cloud-based controller.

It will help if you read our previous article on how to delete your Twitter account?


I have been working as a professional editor-in-chief and content producer for more than nine years. I have been a Logo Designer / Video Editor and Photoshoper for 8-10 years. In addition, I make Game icons/button designs.

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