How to Ensure a Successful VOIP System Implementation

By Tim McCreery  |  Posted 2008-12-23 Print this article Print

Some enterprise VOIP systems are all but unusable from the time they are implemented because nobody took the time to properly profile the existing network. Before implementing a VOIP system, a thorough application impact study should be completed. Knowledge Center contributor Tim McCreery offers five critical steps enterprises should take to ensure a successful VOIP system implementation.

Traditional telephone services have typically gained a reputation of providing excellent voice quality and superior reliability. Consequently, users take for granted that their phone systems will provide high quality with virtually no downtime. Yet many voice over IP (VOIP) installations fail to meet these expectations, primarily because organizations have not adequately evaluated their network infrastructure to determine whether it can adequately support applications that are very sensitive to latency, packet loss, jitter and other similar performance factors.

VOIP requires a steady, predictable packet delivery rate in order to maintain quality. Jitter, which is variation in packet delivery timing, is the most common culprit that reduces call quality in VOIP systems. Jitter causes the audio stream to become broken, uneven or irregular. As a result, the listener's experience becomes unpleasant or intolerable.

The end results of packet loss are similar to those of jitter but are typically more severe when the rate of packet loss is high. Excessive latency can result in unnatural conversation flow where there is a delay between words that one speaks versus words that one hears. Latency can cause callers to talk over one another and can also result in echoes on the line. Hence, jitter, packet loss and latency can have dramatic consequences in maintaining normal and expected call quality.

Some VOIP systems are all but unusable from the time they are implemented because nobody took the time to properly profile the existing network. Before implementing VOIP, a thorough application impact study should be completed.

Tim McCreery is President and CEO of WildPackets, Inc. Tim has over 25 years of experience in the networking industry. Tim co-founded WildPackets as AG Group in 1990. Tim's past positions include Founder and President of Kinetics, Founder and CEO of SilkStream Corporation, and VP of Marketing and Business Development at Excelan, Inc. Tim has also been on the board of other startups, including Clear Ink Corporation and Tut Systems. Tim is also President of the Board of Youth Homes, Inc., a non-profit agency serving at-risk foster care children in Contra Costa County, Calif. Tim graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with degrees in Mathematics, Computer Science and Psychology. Tim taught undergraduate Computer Science at U.C. Berkeley while obtaining a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. He can be reached at

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