The Importance of a Data Center Network for VoIP

Posted on: 2015-05-20 | Categories: VoIP

VoIP is becoming popular pretty quickly for many reasons including low-cost, fast deployment and the ability to integrate with enterprise applications like Salesforce CRM. Since VoIP routes audio calls through the Internet, the data networks are perhaps the most important component for seamless service.

When we talk about data networks, most companies purchasing hosted VoIP services from third-party vendors assume that it refers to the robustness of the in house office network, the Internet speeds and the bandwidth available for VoIP. While it is extremely important to ensure that the enterprise network can handle the extra overhead of VoIP, companies would do well to examine the data center network of their VoIP provider also.

The importance of a data center network

The quality of VoIP calls is affected by many factors such as latency, jitter, audio codecs and high-speed data networks. The number of data centers, their location, availability of backup servers etc. all have an impact on the speed and quality of services delivered. Vendors who control their own networks and manage their own data centers will offer a better experience than providers who outsource these requirements to the anonymous public cloud.

Number of data centers

A provider who operates just one data center will never be able to match the quality of service provided by competitors who have multiple data centers. Not only do they serve as a backup in case one system fails, but are also able to share capacities in case of network overload. Since cloud hosted VoIP is generally built on a multi-tenant architecture, peak hours can sometimes lead to network congestion as demand swiftly climbs. Phone communication is the backbone for the majority of businesses and no company likes experiencing a breakdown in the middle of the day.

Location, location, location

Apart from having multiple interconnected data centers, the location also matters from a client perspective. If the vendor’s data centers are clustered together in a specific geographic region, clients from other nations or states may experience a delay for audio calls due to latency.

Closely clustered data centers are also vulnerable to local factors such as local disasters (floods, hurricanes, earthquakes etc.) On the other hand, if a vendor has data centers spread out over different regions, they are less susceptible to localized disasters. Such centers will also be better equipped to serve clients from all over the globe rather than catering to one region at the expense of others.

Control and customization

There are quite a few providers who utilize cloud services from a vendors to power their VoIP services. Though it provides for cost­effectiveness, it also means that the vendor has less control over the data network. From a client perspective, it makes it more difficult for troubleshooting since more than one entity is involved in delivering the service. If the service goes down for any reason, the provider may take a longer time to pinpoint the source of the issue. Enterprises will also have to settle for less customization that can cater to the needs of the business.

Since VoIP utilizes IP technology and relies on the Internet, the quality of data networks at every step between the source and destination has a substantial impact on the quality of phone calls.