IP telephony is steadily replacing legacy PSTN systems in medium-to-large companies, but the split between the two...
January 30, 2004
IP telephony is steadily replacing legacy PSTN systems in medium-to-large companies, but the split between the two is still fairly even. Call quality, management, and applications that merge voice and data are also important factors in migrating from a legacy system.
These are just some of the findings of a recent global survey conducted by Integrated Research Ltd., an Australian network management software developer
The survey polled over 2,800 senior IT and telecom managers, evenly distributed across medium to large enterprises. Approximately 80% of respondents were from North America, with the remainder distributed evenly between Europe and Asia.
Graham Jones, IR’s director of IP telephony products, says that call quality is the key challenge in convincing companies to switch from their old analogue and digital systems to IP handsets.
“End users are accustomed to PSTN quality and will not settle for less, even with added functionality,” says Jones. “For an end user, picking up a phone implies getting an instant dial tone, and continued cutoffs or audio quality problems will have users running back to their old phones.”
The survey suggests that most organizations are moving to IP telephony. With 56% of respondents already using an IP telephony system, 26% indicated a trial within 12 months, with a further 18% pointing to a two-year trial date.
Key external factors driving IP telephony sales in the next two years appear to be stronger IT spending (strengthening economy), and a perception that IP telephony has come of age (and is now a lower risk), the company says.
The survey responses indicated the highest priority business driver for IP telephony is increased value through IP applications (66% response), followed by lower infrastructure costs (64%) and open standards (50%).
The vast majority (83%) of respondents see real-time management as a critical component of an IP telephony implementation.
“As enterprises deploy IP telephony and integrate voice and data traffic, the new real-time nature of the network infrastructure requires management that is more active,” says Jones.
“From initial network readiness assessment through to the first days of testing IP telephony in the lab and on to full deployment to thousands of users, effective real-time management needs to be at the forefront of the evaluation and deployment cycles.”
Jones believes that the real-time nature of IP telephony mandates that voice traffic be given priority over data traffic. However, data applications have their own performance requirements. This creates a delicate balancing act, and requires sophisticated tools to manage performance, QoS, traffic policies, configuration, ongoing monitoring and assurance.
More importantly, management tools must provide these functionalities in real-time, so the end-user experience can be guaranteed.
This view is backed up by a recent Yankee Group report. George Hamilton, author of the report and senior analyst with the Boston, Mass. research firm, says that from the first few days of testing IP telephony in the lab to full deployments of thousands of users, effective real-time management needs to be at the forefront of the evaluation and deployment cycles.
“Choosing the right tool can mean the difference between success and very painful failure,” he says.
“Network managers need the capability to monitor the infrastructure and call quality in real-time, generate detailed reports, and effectively manage the growth of the IP telephony infrastructure. With real-time applications such as IP telephony, generating alerts and reports in 15-minute time intervals