Quality control

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VOIP's second act

After security, the second biggest concern for voice-over-IP (VOIP) implementations is quality of service, according to experts. Packet loss and latency can disrupt conversations and quickly turn communications into chaos.

The first thing for ensuring acceptable quality of service is making sure the network offers ample capacity for voice traffic, said Jim Guizzetti, vice president of IP telephony services at Comrise Technology Inc., an information technology consulting firm specializing in telecommunications.

Upfront engineering analyses are important for establishing anticipated bandwidth levels. But to guarantee that real-world anomalies don't disrupt conversations, he advises IT managers to select

network gateways that allow for preprogrammed quality-of-service parameters. Such gateways can automatically move calls to the traditional switched telephone network if traffic reaches certain

thresholds.

Although this type of traffic management has the short-term benefit of keeping an established call intact, in the long run, it means users aren't capitalizing on VOIP's money-saving opportunities. Guizzetti suggests using statistical tools from vendors such as Brix Networks and Qovia Inc. to monitor and troubleshoot traffic flow so network managers know where they might need to install additional hardware.

About the Author

Alan Joch is a freelance writer based in New Hampshire.

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