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Networks 'not robust enough' for VoIP

Major global companies are keen to start using VoIP services, but are hampered by antiquated and rickety networking infrastructure
Written by Sylvia Carr, Contributor on

Financial services companies are eager to embrace emerging technologies such as IP telephony for the business benefits they offer but their networks are often not up to the task, according to a new report from consultancy BearingPoint.

The report, Making the Leap to the Next Generation, reads: "The global networks of many financial services firms and other enterprises are 'networks of networks' cobbled together through mergers and acquisitions. The result is often inefficiency, high cost, inadequate disaster recovery and an inability to deliver new bandwidth-intensive applications."

These "sometimes rickety" networks consist of multiple systems from multiple vendors which are patched together with "band-aid solutions" and cannot provide the bandwidth or quality of service for applications such as IP telephony, videoconferencing, Webcasting and network-based training, says BearingPoint.

Sometimes the only solution is to start from scratch and build a 'next-generation network'.

There are many benefits to such a strategy including reduced costs from a streamlined and efficient network, added value through the ability to support applications such as VoIP and grid computing, improved disaster recovery, greater scalability and the ability to compartmentalise and thus outsource network layers, according to the report.

However, upgrading or replacing networks across a global company is no easy task, often involving negotiations with multiple vendors.

Still, Fredric Vernon, MD at BearingPoint, says for large global organisations "the benefits could weigh complications" of setting up a new network. "They can focus on [improving] customer experience and get good ROI," he said.

In particular, he continued, organisations are realising that VoIP applications are no longer a commodity and "can strengthen their relationships with customers with give them competitive advantage".

Financial companies considering an upgrade to a state-of-the-art network should consider major issues such as quality of service, network resiliency and pricing. Businesses should also create an "organisational blueprint that provides clear direction to the people who will deploy and use it" and may want to consider outside assistance from a consultancy, says BearingPoint.

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