COLT Telecom - VoIP Enabled WAN Solutions, a COLT Business Briefing
VoIP Enabled WAN Solutions: Is it time to converge your infrastructure?
A COLT Business Briefing
Data Voice Managed Services
IT’S SIMPLE: YOUR INFRASTRUCTURE SHOULD ENABLE YOU TO COMPETE
Voice and data convergence technologies are real; they exist, and they are being put What we want to prove is that you need to address all the infrastructure issues
to good use by enterprises of all shapes of sizes. The hype surrounding this subject right now, and avoid trying to migrate toward convergence in a piecemeal way
has obscured a simple truth: whatever you decide to do about taking your without a clear plan.
communications infrastructure into the future, it has to be right for your organisation,
and enhance your ability to compete. This means that you have to start with a We believe that the best and most complete way to deliver a converged
business and not a technological objective: you want to work smarter, faster, more infrastructure is to VoIP enable your data network. The following pages
efficiently and productively, whilst cutting costs. make our case.
In this briefing, we’re going to examine how you can reap the financial benefits of
Convergence, whilst delivering productivity enhancements enabling your people to
seamlessly make use of services like conferencing and unified messaging more easily.
Convergence can help you compete more effectively giving you the flexibility and
responsiveness you need to satisfy the demands of ever more sophisticated
customers, suppliers and end-users.
Convergence is not, as some have claimed, the Holy Grail for business in the 21st
century. You need a cost-efficient and flexible infrastructure that gives you the right
platform from which to do business in a smart and dynamic way.
“The effort which organisations are currently
expending on the transition to internet protocol
voice will, in the long term, be rewarded with
lower infrastructure opex costs, reduced
telephony tariffs and increased productivity
for their employees.”
IDG, Managing the Transition to an IP network, 2007.
WHAT’S HAPPENING OUT THERE RIGHT NOW?
Despite all the claims about an increase in agility and the ability to reduce costs, it is fair In our opinion, it makes sense to embrace IP telephony in stages, especially if your
to say that the concept of Convergence, though much touted, has yet to really take off enterprise is large and complex. What we’re seeing is the deployment of IP telephony
in any practical sense. in new sites and integrating them into the existing infrastructure. That way, you get to
try out VoIP technology, learn how it works and then use its success as a model for
That’s because moving voice from its own separate network and merging it with the total Convergence.
data network is a big decision.
So, by putting in place a VoIP enabled WAN solution you can open up the promise
Enterprises are, despite impressive technological advances, moving to IP telephony of Convergence in an efficient and managed way.
cautiously. IT managers are keen to maximise the investment that’s represented by their
traditional voice systems (TDM), and they’re worried about quality of service and their own Let’s define what the solution actually is.
lack of experience in using IP networks for both voice and data. To overcome those fears
and concerns, enterprises often trial new technologies resulting in a mixture of networks
That caution doesn’t mean that the promise of Convergence isn’t understood and
welcome: far from it. Datamonitor recently found that over 60% of IT decision makers
have deployed some form of voice and data Convergence within their organisations.
WHAT IS A VoIP ENABLED WAN SOLUTION?
The traditional model is familiar: voice and data networks are separate. Each uses discrete A VoIP enabled WAN also facilitates the integration of voice with a host of other clever
equipment at different sites and is supported by different teams of people who are applications that make us more productive, flexible, mobile and, most importantly,
experienced with the various enabling technologies. It’s a rigid set up that’s hard to change more responsive.
or enhance and takes a lot of investment to transform.
For many VoIP is the gateway to true Convergence: it’s the point where most
The power and utility of the simple phone call has not been diminished by all the technology organisations start their journey. Most want to evolve into the future, gently nudging
that’s come out over the last two decades. All the surveys show that the cost of calls makes their people and systems into a new way of working and then continue to build on
up a major element in the operating budgets of all kinds of organisations.Voice over Internet each success as they reap the benefits of each wave of change.
Protocol (VoIP), on the other hand, turns voice into digital packets and sends them out
across the data network. So, VoIP, which is often facilitated by the purchase of a new PBX, It makes sense; VoIP is the perfect place to start as you migrate to a converged future.
enables you to connect to the “PSTN” at an IP level.
Access to your network is converged. Your IP WAN can now be used to carry voice
calls within sites and to move “off-net” voice around your network using VoIP to deliver
those calls for less. You can, therefore, remove or reduce the need for separate voice
and data circuits.
Traditional Model – seperate voice and data networks Converged Model – voice delivered across the data network
IS YOUR NETWORK READY FOR IP VIDEO?
IP Video is usually discussed in the context of wide area communications or providing
videoconferencing between distant sites yet the bulk of IP video traffic is generated from
video on demand and videoconferencing applications that are being layered on top of
todays converged voice and data IP networks. With recent developments IP video
streaming is adding to an already large and complex matrix of traffic patterns and logical
networks, with unique requirements and attributes, which propagate throughout a
converged network. All this has the potential to drive up operational and network capital
costs - if not planned carefully.
Preparing a corporate network for IP video can be a daunting task comments Swartz, but
it is necessary. IP Video offers a wide range of corporate value including economic and
productivity advantages. He continues for many business and IT leaders, IP Video is an
important component in their corporate Green, risk management and physical security and
Traditionally broadcast and videoconferencing services have not been integrated; they
were physically and logically separate networks and services from both each other and
other corporate networks. The value proposition for the video services of the 90s were
mainly economic (reduced travel expense, increased productivity, etc) but they lacked
video quality, ease of use and subsequently broad adoption.
But video conferencing and in particular IP Video is fundamentally changing access,
usefulness and quality as IP video is layered on top of a converged network. IP video is the
enabler for a wide range of new video communication and collaboration services where
video and audio quality is now outstanding and ease of use has been radically simplified.
IP Videos value proposition to business and IT leaders is multi-variable. IP video is not just
delivering the traditional economic and productivity advantages comments Swartz. He
stresses that as energy costs rise, macro economic conditions worsen and airport travel
security requirements consume more time spent per trip, the benefits from IP
videoconferencing dramatically amplify e.g. reduced personal and corporate carbon
footprint. Professionals are beginning to view IP videoconferencing solutions as
economically feasible, commercially smart and corporately acceptable.
So with the advent of IP Video, network infrastructure decisions have far reaching
consequences and the capacity to offer huge benefits but to yield the expected benefits it
is essential to carefully plan the deployment and implementation across a high quality
Source: Lippis Report, Nathan Swartz, 2008.
DELIVERING AGILITY AT LOWER COST IS THE REAL PRIZE
Advocates of Convergence always cite the same business reasons in its favour. It’s important that these are defined in terms of the specific ways that an IP WAN can deliver
them in the real world. Few talk about the fact that there are up-front costs, or `the need for new technical skills to make convergence work. You have to take into account the
issues of service levels and reliability as well as security. You need to make the most of your existing investment in TDM, and work out the best way to migrate. We’ll discuss
some of those points later, but first let’s look at the main business benefits that can be achieved:
Cost Efficiency Flexibility Productivity
» The old way of working used two distinct sets of technology, » In the past, dual networks required a lot of infrastructural work – » More and more enterprises are increasing their productivity by
with multiple wires to every desk, and costs associated with new lines, new hardware and constant software changes – but a enabling workers to operate remotely. For example, a remote
supporting them all. Each site would also, traditionally, have its converged infrastructure simplifies all that and reduces costs at worker using a ‘soft phone’ on her laptop can make and receive
own PBX. It’s a complex arrangement, and a costly one. the same time. Importantly, it means you can grow and change calls over an IP virtual private network (VPN) with the same
» By carrying voice as a service on the data network, operational in a more flexible and timely fashion. You can deliver better facilities and at the same call rates as if she was using a desk
costs can be reduced. In fact, even if you are running a VPN communications faster and use a single team to do it all. phone in the office.
dedicated to voice you will still have to carry the cost of running » Simplified flexible infrastructure enabling responsive expansion » Technology cycles mean that consumer and enterprise
the network itself and so by running VoIP over the data network and management technologies often interconnect and influence one another.
the cost of maintaining the Voice network is eliminated, as is the » Provides ability to seamlessly and cost effectively extend IP PBX Internet telephony such as Skype and the use of instant
need to continually invest in the voice network to accommodate based corporate applications and features to wherever messaging in the home is having an influence on the availability
business change. employees are operating of software and advanced features in the workplace.
» By running voice across a single IP network all equipment » A converged infrastructure gives you the ability to consolidate your
associated with voice traffic is centralised. The capital cost of voice applications and merge them with more sophisticated
equivalent services, such as a voicemail server, also tends to be methods of enabling your people to communicate. You can
much lower for IP than for a PBX based solution. integrate voice with multimedia applications such as video
» Conventional PBX systems route calls from one branch office to conferencing which can support customer relationship solutions
another over the PSTN and that incurs a charge. But the same making your business more responsive. You can stream video, set
call using VoIP is free, (though it does share the burden of up video conferencing very easily and also use unified messaging
network operational costs). solutions that enable your network to sense the presence of your
people when they are logged on wherever they are.
» Calls on VoIP enabled WAN’s are routed to “hop on” the enterprise
WAN using the IP PBX and then “hop off” again at the location that » Built with business continuity in mind
offers the most savings. For highly distributed organisations with » Seamless rerouting of traffic in the event of disasters avoiding
multiple branches, these telephony cost-savings can be significant. costly disruptions to the business
» Free on-net inter site calls using an IP VPN » All IP calls are carried on dedicated network circuits and routed
» No on-site gateways required over a secure fully encrypted IP VPN delivering business
confidentiality both on and off network
» Reduced dependence on expensive multiple PRI circuits for
carriage of calls to PSTN by using optimised “breakout” points » Enhanced employee productivity provided by enabling the
from the VoIP network deployment of applications that sit on the converged infrastructure
e.g. IP PBX functionality can be seamlessly utilised between sites
» By using data circuits for voice calls, the customer will be able to
so that productivity gains are delivered across the business
aggregate their voice and data traffic which ultimately brings cost
and operational benefits
The business justification seems clear, but you still have one of three options: you can do So, at some point in the very near future you’re going to have to make a decision
nothing; invest in a new IP PBX only; or converge your infrastructure with a VoIP about VoIP and, possibly, convergence. Do you resist the wave of enthusiasm for
enabled WAN solution. both, or do you embrace the future wholeheartedly?
As we said up front: we believe the third option is the best one for organisations seeking The VoIP enabled WAN solution enables you to move into the future at your own pace.
to achieve all the benefits we’ve described. But, it makes sense to look at the case for
choosing the other two as well. But who can you trust to get you there?
Should you do nothing? You can keep on working with separate voice and data
networks and avoid any complications that might arise from moving voice onto an
IP network. But how long can that last? Your competitors will be cutting costs and
becoming more productive whilst you are inhibited by the structural limitations of
running two separate networks.
Should you just buy a new IP PBX? That means your new IP PBX works on your
existing infrastructure. But to get the most out of moving to IP you have to consider
your entire infrastructure. Purchasing an IP PBX and connecting it to a TDM line
without an efficient IP gateway, using conventional instead of IP handsets, does not
get the most out of your IP PBX or the potential of VoIP. Of course, this could form an
interim step towards integration.
Do you opt for a VoIP enabled WAN Solution? You can only reap the business
benefits of convergence once you address the issues right across your infrastructure.
This does not necessarily mean doing everything at the same time. Equally, because a
company needs to consider the network, the applications and the processes that they
wish to use, it’s a valuable exercise in creating a clear plan for evolving your IP WAN.
WHO CAN YOU TRUST TO DELIVER?
Voice communication is such a vital business tool. However, with well managed You have to check their technical competency, and ask whether they can provide a
service level agreements struck with the right provider, organisations can smooth their truly end-to-end service. Will they add value to your business and can they deliver the
transition to a converged infrastructure and benefit from a resilient and flexible solution. geographical reach that you need to conduct and grow your business?
Naturally, we believe that at COLT we have the right experience and expertise to Don’t compromise with an off-the-shelf solution: demand one that’s tailored to your
enable you to generate all the benefits we’ve described above. We also believe that needs and that can match your ambitions for the future. Clearly define the CSFs and
the answer to the question on the front page is – ‘yes’. success metrics and check how stringent the SLA’s are. It’s also important to be clear
about the phases between now and full operation of your IP network.
It’s important that you start to plan your migration. Our experience at COLT is that
organisations that migrate site by site achieve the best results in the long term. You At COLT we believe we’re best placed to do all of the above. Let’s explain how.
also need to think about your needs in terms of security and resilience, and ensure
that you can be sure that you have the right business continuity plans in place. You
then have to work out what skills you have in-house, and which you need from a
When you choose your partner on your journey to a converged infrastructure you have
to ask them to detail precisely where your business will save money and become
At COLT we think a VoIP Enabled WAN is the essential first step for an efficient The key to our reputation for customer service is the fact that we create
communication platform. We work with you, at your pace, customising a plan to partnerships that endure. They’re partnerships that are focused on the specific
enable your business to benefit from increased productivity and reduced costs. We objectives of the enterprise, and enable us to create a carefully worked out plan
have the experience to advise you on the factors that achieve success, and we always that takes into account the unique needs of each customer as they migrate to a
work to inform and support your decision making. new world of communications.
We believe that the real benefits of convergence will only result from looking at the So, we’re not just suppliers who deliver isolated elements that you then have to put
broad context of your telecoms needs: from calls to networks to applications to mobile together into a coherent whole: we deliver the coherence and certainty you need so
and home workers. We will work with you to understand how you can get the most out that you can successfully deliver on your objectives at your own pace.
of your infrastructure. And we focus on flexibility ensuring you invest in the right
technology (TDM or IP), management (DIY or COLT managed) and commercial options. In short, we will work with you to review your current position, advise on what benefits
will be generated by moving to VoIP, then work out a strategic plan that will get you
The COLT approach is to work with your existing capability and to maximise and there in the most efficient way.
By working with COLT you won’t have to deal with a variety of vendors and their
You won’t be surprised to learn that we believe COLT is best placed to deliver the differing SLAs, to ensure you get a consistent user experience across your network.
benefits of VoIP on the best possible terms.
COLT’s focus is on taking the complexity out of communications and ensuring that
COLT operates and manages a network infrastructure that spans most of Europe, your network infrastructure is a real benefit to your business. You will be sure to
reaching 13 countries, 34 cities and over 14,000 buildings, with high quality links to the get the end-to-end services you need, and can rely on, to deliver all the critical
rest of the world. It’s a high-quality network that is constantly being improved, serviced, applications that drive your business now, and into the future.
and monitored. You get stringent Service Levels that are supported by local staff who
speak your language and respond swiftly to any problems as soon as they arise. So, it is time to start on the journey to convergence. And by working with COLT you
can take the first steps with complete confidence and benefit from our experience
We have built our reputation for customer service on our ability to work with our of having successfully delivered solutions across Europe for nearly 20 years.
customers to deliver real results based on their own, very specific objectives. That
approach has won us numerous customer service awards over the years – a trend
that keeps on going with many recent accolades such as Frost & Sullivan’s 2007
Award for Best Customer Service.