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Understanding the Network Telephony Assessment
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In order to take advantage of the benefits of network telephony, the use of the pubic switched telephone network and the internet for both voice and data communications, it is first necessary to perform a network telephony assessment.

The assessment should be performed by network telephony consultants with experience in voice/data integration.

Introductory information about network telephony can be found at:

Introduction To Network Telephony - Why IP-PBX?

A business employing network telephony benefits from:

IP-PBX systems (internet protocol – private branch exchanges) that:

Are easy to administer, are fully functional private branch exchanges, and have a lower total cost of ownership than traditional and hosted VoIP offerings.

Provide for unified messaging - the ability to receive all messages, including email, fax, and voice in one place, and integrate with applications, such as CRM

Unified communications – tying voice and data applications, such as voicemail-to-email and application-to-phone integration, including conferencing and faxes

Realizing these benefits starts with a network telephony assessment, that can be performed as part of technology strategy formulation, or as a stand alone activity. In either case, it is essential to be prepared.

The scope of a network telephony assessment includes analysis of:

Telecommunications functions and charges including:

  • # and scope of carriers
  • Basic internet service
  • Hosting service
  • Email service
  • Basic telephone service (POTS)
  • Auto attendants
  • Call recording
  • Call screening
  • Conference calling
  • Custom music on hold
  • Follow me
  • Inbound call queue management
  • Integrated operator management
  • Multisite management with intersite extensions
  • Paging
  • Primary rate interface (PRI)
  • Session initiation protocol
  • (integrated or non -integrated SIP)
  • Three-way calling
  • Toll free calling
  • Truck failover
  • Voicemail service
  • Voicemail mobile device integration
  • Unified communications for voicemail-to-email and application-to-phone integration, and application integration including CRM

Network design:

  • Type
  • Phone lines: alarm, data, fax, and voice
  • Speeds
  • Voice/data integration

Centralized equipment:

  • PBX
  • Servers

Phone equipment – local and remote:

  • Brands
  • # of desktop devices
  • # of mobile devices
  • # of softphones

Having performed the assessment and determined the current status, a requirements definition should be performed in the context of the business strategy to determine future needs for voice and data use and integration.

Having performed the requirements definition, a communications and information architecture can be design that meets the voice and data use and integration needs. The resulting infrastructure may support a single or multiple locations.

The architecture should employ such technologies as:

  • On premise IP-PBX for the highest quality, lowest cost, and fully functional network telephony platform
  • Primary rate interface (service level for multiple calls over an ISDN network) or Session initiation protocol technologies for controlling communications for voice and video calls
  • Application/communications integration with unified communications and messaging
  • Browser-based operator control panel

Having developed a communications and information architecture, proposals can be obtained from IP-PBX, carrier, and phone equipment providers to determine the optimal total cost of ownership of the network telephony system.

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