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January 14, 2008

Five Steps to the Perfect VoIP Gateway

By Brian Solomon, TMCnet Web Editor


With dozens of VoIP gateway models available, selecting the best device for your company’s VoIP network can be a challenge. A gateway that doesn't properly meet your network's needs can lead to problems, including poor voice quality, inadequate management tools and inefficent interoperability with other system devices.
With this in mind, here are five of the most important things to consider when in the market for “the perfect VoIP gateway.”
  1. How Much Does It Cost?
    It’s an obvious, but should be the first question. The cost must be known in order to compare it with products that have similar feature sets. Any additional support costs should also be factored in.

  2.  Is It Hardware- or Software-based?
    Most enterprises purchase hardware-based gateways because they're believed to offer greater security, be more reliable and provide better connectivity. However, the software type usually costs less and is easier to update/modify. In the end, the choice is up to you.

  3. How Many VoIP Calls Can It Handle?
    You need to select a gateway that can keep up with the call load of your network. As a rule of thumb, pick one that can tackle a call load at least 20 percent greater than currently existing traffic.

  4. What Are the Upgrade Options?
    As your system expands, you’re going to need additional ports and other features. And there's always the chance of new VoIP standards appearing. That means your gateway will need to keep up with new technology.

  5. Is It Compatible With Your VoIP System Hardware?
    The gateway needs to be able to interoperate with both existing and future technologies, including PBX (News - Alert), ACD and IVR systems. It's essential to find out if the trunk circuit port types on your PBX match those available on the VoIP gateway.
 
Choosing the right gateway for your system can be time-consuming and even confusing process. Knowing the right questions to ask will ensure that you get the device and the support you need, at a price you can manage.
 
Brian Solomon is a Web Editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To see more of his articles, please visit Brian Solomon’s columnist page
 
Don't forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users.



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