VOIP Is As Secure As You Make It - Page 3

By Ellen Muraskin  |  Posted 2004-05-14 Print this article Print

VOIP Just Replaces Old, Orphaned PBXs
Why then, do enterprises go VOIP? Like I said, reasons that are prosaic but also forward-thinking. Take Rich Mastropietro, network engineering manager at Northstar Travel Media in Secuacus, NJ, who is cutting over from his Nortel Meridian PBX to a Cisco Call Manager IP telephony system this week. A Cisco Certified Network Administrator with no particular telephony background, he liked the Cisco option when it became clear that Nortel was no longer making replacement parts for his 15-year-old Meridian PBX. He could have purchased a new, TDM (traditionally switched, time-division-multiplexed) Meridian from his systems integrator, NextiraOne, for about the same price as the IP-based Cisco Call Manager. But that would have prolonged his dependence on the NextiraOne telecom technician, who spends four hours on site every day just to support the PBX and do moves, adds and changes. With a web-based administration tool, he and his IT department can now do those things themselves. The systems integrator, well-versed in Mastropietros PBX setup, installed the Cisco system, but the daily on-site support contract is over. His other big reasons were saving floor space and labor. Northstar Travel Media is consolidating all its offices to one floor. The Meridian PBX took up a roomful of racks; the Call Manager lives in three 2U boxes; one for the Unity voicemail/auto attendant system, and two redundant call processing servers. Wiring one set of LAN cables to the newly configured cubes, where PC will hook into phone port, will be half as much work as stringing both Ethernet and black voice cables.
Going forward, hell be able to tie in IP phones at the Los Angeles office over the companys frame-relay data WAN, with guaranteed bursting to 512 Kbps. But this is less about toll bypass, and more about consolidating most all long distance traffic (and associated volume discounts and fees), at one PSTN on-ramp, along with shared use of voice mail and auto attendant and four-digit extension dialing.
These are the broad strokes of a reply to Jims piece. I dont claim that all VOIP installations come without problems, but my anecdotal experience tells me more about network congestion (in under-provisioned, poorly prepared nets) than voice hijacking, spoofing, snooping or sniffing. I invite the VOIP-experienced public to share their horror stories with me: after all, Ive been brought on to report on VOIP, not to praise it. For a more SIP-centric reply to Jims column on VOIP, from SIP co-author Jonathan Rosenberg, click here.

Ellen Muraskin is editor of eWEEK.com's VOIP & Telephony Center. She has worked on the editorial staff at Computer Telephony, since renamed Communications Convergence, including three years as executive editor. Muraskin's work has also appeared in Popular Science magazine and other publications.

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