Power struggles The other aspect of the story that I thought would get more attention was data network remediation. Although I still believe that companies can make data networks more resilient by adding backup power to more network devices to ensure dial tone even during a building power loss, this is a huge task. Is it an insurmountable stumbling block for enterprise adoption of VoIP, or simply a hurdle that can be cleared with a bit of effort?Both companies talked about planning and implementation in a way that made a lot of sense; IT managers need to know what kind of traffic is currently on the data network and on the telecom network to ensure that the voice applications will work correctly the first time they are put into production. I mentioned some testing and monitoring tools in the story that should be used to gain insight and understanding of both kinds of network traffic. One reader wrote to me about a VoIP implementation that was going horribly wrong. (The company and the reader will remain nameless.) I responded to the e-mail by hazarding a guess that the implementation hadnt been sufficiently tested before being put into production. Did I ever get a torrent of agreement on that one. IT lesson learned: telephone systems are complete systems that have a very high profile when they fail. Unlike data applications, where delay and even occasional downtime arent life-or-death situations, telephone systems have to work. Period. This is a big shift that IT managers will have to carefully consider before taking on the challenge of putting voice over the IP network. Despite all the claims about five nines of reliability in data networks and applications, we all live with routine failures. Obviously, these failures become much more significant when they affect a core application used by everyone from the CEO to the most junior warehouse clerk. Finally, I was impressed with the sound quality of both of the systems we tested. While our future stories will dig deeper into the codecs that govern the transformation of analog sound waves into digital signals, I have a feeling its still going to come back to applications when it comes to judging which platform is the best. Do you have something to say about VoIP? Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both Avaya and Nortel spent a great deal of time writing about data network preparation for a VoIP implementation. They mentioned power, as I did in my story, both in terms of supplying power to the handsets over the data line and of delivering backup power to the network infrastructure devices.