Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Teleworker Guide - IP Telephony

IP Telephony is a technology where voice communications are transported through an IP network (such as the Internet) instead of the regular telephone network. In other words, it means that you get all the benefits of an IP network for your telephone.
Now that your teleworker solution is secure (with a VPN and NAC), you can think about the applications and tools. What will a user be doing at a regular office? ... I’m not saying what “specific” applications he uses, but rather what “basic” things he or she does. For example, email…. Ok, we got that one cover wit the VPN connecting the user back to the corporate office…. How about Telephone?
Well, he definitely needs telephone, but will you pay for his phone bill, or would you rather provide him with an extension of his own desk number. Here is where IP Telephony comes to play.
With IP Telephony you can give the user his same extension at any point of the network. He can take an IP phone home, plug it there (to the IP network, not the phone jack), and get the same number via the VPN. Furthermore, you can let the user use a Soft-phone. That is a phone application that you install on the user’s laptop so that he or she can access his phone from wherever they are.
The benefits of IP telephony are pretty clear:

  • Lower Total Cost of Ownership – in the long run, the price that your company needs to pay is lower than with traditional telephony. It even gets lower when you talk about converged networks.
  • Improved productivity – you can build applications that integrate telephony and be more efficient at your business processes. IP is an open-to-modifications medium, contrary to the legacy telephone network where all you can do is plug a phone, or a PBX.
  • Business Resiliency – IP telephony solutions, per the nature of the IP network, allow for highly resilient and redundant architectures, achieving 5 nines of availability.

IP Telephony is only the beginning. Today we talk about Unified Communications instead. In a nutshell, this is the convergence of different communication technologies through one single medium: the IP network. In the next posting, I will be talking about the future of IPT and Unified Communications.

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