Reliability Concerns in IP Telephony (Pt 1)

Most people see the benefits associated with IP telephony and feel pretty sold on the technology right off the bat. This isn’t too surprising. After all, it’s pretty natural to hear benefits like “lowered overhead,” “increasing organizational flexibility,” “expanded feature sets,” and to automatically say yes to whatever technology hands them over. But there are some people who feel a little skittish about IP telephony and aren’t completely wooed by the technology’s many benefits. Instead, these people let their concerns over the technology’s performance overwhelm their decision making process and they end up hemming-and-hawing instead of taking the plunge into IP telephony.

Thankfully many of the concerns some organizations feel over adopting IP telephony are unfounded or easy to guard against with proper provisioning. For example, let’s take a minute to look over a common concern related to IP telephony reliability, to see how well it stands up in the light of day.

Where the Reliability Concern Comes From

While we know concerns related to IP telephony are ultimately unfounded, we also admit that many concerns organizations have about making the switch are grounded in some totally understandable fears. So even though we know IP telephony reliability is sterling, we also can see how someone who hasn’t made the switch yet may fret over it.

Here’s where people’s reliability concerns come from.

People are primarily worried about IP telephony reliability because IP telephony works over the Internet and not over a dedicated landline connection. We’ve all used landline phones extensively over the course of our lives and we all know landline connections are highly reliable. We’ve also all extensively used the Internet and know how unreliable some net-based applications can be. Unfortunately some people combine these two realizations and come to the conclusion they’d rather stick with a (known to be) reliable landline connection instead of rolling the dice on a (potentially) unreliable Internet-based application.

The impulse to stick with something you know works instead of switching over to something you feel uncertain about is totally understandable, but it’s also incredibly limiting, especially within a business context. Organization’s grow when they take chances, and when it comes down to it making the switch to IP telephony is a pretty wise gamble, and this growth comes from the fact that a properly implemented IP telephony system will be at least as reliable as a traditional landline telephone system.

Always Choose the Appropriate System for Your Needs

What do we mean by “properly implemented?” We mean a VoIP phone system that is designed to actually meet your organization’s needs. We mean an IP telephony solution that will scale to meet your organizations needs as those needs change. We mean an IP telephony system implemented on a network robust enough to handle it.

When it comes down to it IP telephony systems can be unreliable, but only if you implement the wrong solution or implement the right solution onto the wrong network. If you work with the right IP telephony provider, and if you listen to what they say and follow their guidelines and make sure that your network meets their service requirements, then you are unlikely to have any problems with the reliability of your system.

There isn’t a telephony system on earth that works reliably when overloaded, so simply avoid “overtaxing” your IP telephony system by either upgrading it or reducing its load. Call recording, for example, can impact some phone system’s resources quite severely.  While worrying about systemic reliability is totally understandable, labeling the whole technology as “unreliable” when it’s improperly implemented is truly unreasonable.

Instead of wasting time worrying about reliability concerns that have nothing to do with the technology itself, it’s wiser to take some time to look at the ways modern IP telephony systems are being designed to be more reliable than traditional landline telephony solutions.