The best advice is to start planning your migration to VoIP ASAP
One of the most critical elements of running a business is communication. For most companies, the ability to conduct business depends on being able to interact with existing customers and potential customers in real-time. On-demand voice communication is something we take for granted, and that’s why issues that impact business telephony are a source of anxiety.
The forthcoming switch-off of the public switched telephone network (PSTN switch-off) is scheduled for December 2025. This means that services that depend on conventional two-wire copper lines will cease to function. For any business that hasn’t considered migration, the clock is ticking on the PSTN switch-off…
Some businesses will inevitably ‘take it to the wire’ (pun intended!) and delay migration to VoIP-based telephony, the technology that succeeds the legacy copper line network, a system that traces its roots back to Victorian England.
Avoid the last-minute crush and reduce the risk of disruption to business
However, many businesses like yours are certain to be ahead of the game and migrate in good time, well before the PSTN switch-off and service providers become overrun with requests for the urgent deployment of VoIP solutions to help stragglers beat the deadline.
It is not uncommon for disruption to accompany the roll-out of new technology solutions. To help you migrate in good time and avoid the potential for any impacts resulting from the PSTN switch-off to your voice communication, we’ve put together a checklist so that you can structure your plan for migration to VoIP.
VoIP utilises CAT5e, 6 and 7 network cabling for existing computer networks, and the larger the business, the more likely it is to require greater provisioning of network capacity to support the increased demands of VoIP traffic.
Larger businesses with in-house IT departments are likely to have plans for the PSTN switch-off and VoIP well in hand. However, smaller businesses, even those with in-house IT departments, may not have VoIP specialists on the team, so it is recommended that external expertise be sought. Even when you outsource the whole project, the following steps will help guide you and reduce the risk of problems further down the line after the PSTN switch-off.
7 steps to ensure smooth migration to VoIP ahead of the PSTN switch-off
1. Choosing the right service provider
Choosing the correct telephony provider is pivotal for successful business VoIP implementation. Seek experienced providers who understand your needs and offer a complete package, including IP phones, numbers, connectivity, and project management. Align your provider choice with your business size, and make sure that the provider can deliver appropriate support. The right provider will be able to cater to your needs, including end-user support and SLAs to set out response times for problems.
2. Evaluate the provider’s entire offer
Choosing the right provider is not all about achieving the lowest cost. VoIP solutions include call plans, and such plans are put together based on deals with other players in the VoIP ecosystem, including network carriers. The call quality of a VoIP solution depends on the carriers that a service provider uses. Tier 1 carriers provide the best call quality. Other factors, such as support, are also critical to smooth operations, so consider the merits of each service provider in the round.
3. VoIP readiness
It is essential to establish whether your current network can handle voice traffic without compromising call quality. Network capacity and latency are the key network characteristics that influence call quality. VoIP service providers should have this all in hand as they progress through the project and should advise on any upgrades or other matters that are needed to ensure smooth migration and a worry-free operation.
4. Internal consultation
As part of the migration strategy, internally communicate with HR, IT, and management to make sure that department-specific requirements are not overlooked and are fully integrated into the migration plan.
5. Migration planning
Creating a detailed migration plan should be a collaborative activity with your service provider. Consider phased transitions for the project that minimise disruptions, and developing a disaster recovery plan is always a good piece of contingency planning.
When choosing a service provider, look for those with user-friendly systems to reduce the learning curve. Ensure training matches your needs. For everyday users, VoIP telephony poses no more of a challenge than any other technology. However, if you are internally managing the system, your network administrators may need to be fully briefed on using management software. Online tutorials and user guides are good reference sources to support training.
7. Security considerations
VoIP is a network technology that shares network resources with your computing systems and applications. This may introduce security vulnerabilities. Your service provider should be fully conversant with all the security issues and the countermeasures needed to secure your network and data.
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