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Network Infrastructure Installation
Building a better Voice and Data Network.


Solutions available for small businesses with a tight budget.

 

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since 2000

 

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Equipment Installation and Relocation
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Structured Cabling Solutions
Network Infrastructure

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Schaumburg, IL
(847) 781-9475

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Network Infrastructure Installation
Building a Better Voice & Data Network

Experienced and Certified - a winning combination!

EMERGENCY SERVICE AVAILABLE
847.781.9475

Network Infrastructure

Building a Network to work with faster pc's, servers and deliver on-time connectivity can be a daunting challenge. There are many aspects of a network that must be considered from: Departments and regions, to backbone segments, wireless and guest access, and making it all secure. A basic switch may work for many basic networks, but it likely lacks the control that will keep network traffic in its proper place. To design a complex network you need managed switches, or you could use many switches and routers/firewalls to keep segments physically separated, which is alternatively expensive.

Network Assessment
Not every network is ready for VoIP

An assessment should look deeper than the evaluation of the infrastructure. Consider the network objectives for future growth of voice and data and the technologies that you may use. Determine the type of traffic, voice, data, video, etc.., that will be more prevalent, as well as client expectations to satisfy service or budget factors. Some might consider latency of 125ms as too high for VoIP and others may accept 250ms as "good enough". Latency (the time for processing voice packets across a network, including the conversion factors of protocols), Jitter (time variation between packets being received) and packet loss percentage all have an effect on the outcome of voice quality. Evaluations of actual traffic should be done for at least a week regarding these statistics. Equipment should have the capability to meet or exceed the targets for your voice and data needs to assure your network will have the capacity for the future and can support VoIP.

VoIP Network infrastructure

Many VoIP installations we've come across, are done just to get the sale and miss out on the very core of a VoIP system. Yes, IP phones will work, but because many networks are designed for data, and not for voice. Data, which is bursty, can overrun a network with streaming results from databases and file libraries; is not good for voice traffic. At the same time, some delays are acceptable; such as email. If it takes 30 seconds to get the email across the network, it's not a big issue, but if you need information at the click of a mouse, delay is not good.

With voice, if it took 30 seconds to get a response, you would never use it. Nobody will wait for a website to load in 30 seconds, let alone waiting that long for a call to go through. For a clean call sound, it needs to be transmitted in a continuous manner, with little delay and variance from the source to the receiver. When a network is designed for data, it is usually good for data, but bad for voice. A network could, in fact, work well if it had overhead capacity for all traffic, regardless of the type. However, most of us would not be willing to invest the money to build such an infrastructure. Instead, the use of QoS mechanisms in a network provides the needed control of traffic types, assuming the traffic types are defined. Start with the breakdown of the basic network hardware and target the primary components, namely the switching equipment. Far too many networks are built using low-end switches and/or possibly hubs (such a crime). The network may even be cluttered with small Ethernet switches where users need to add a printer or other network device where only 1 cable exists. Or, perhaps a WLAN network is built to support clients but has no ability to control the type of traffic passed through the device.

This is just the start of a network assessment. Other areas of the network can be affected simply by separation. The distance between wire centers, without an appropriated backbone and control to balance cumulative throughput would cause a bottleneck in traffic, disastrous for voice. Errors again can be the cause of a simple misconfigured or faulty LAN connection. When data is not received "good", the receiving system requests a re-transmit of the data. If requests are constantly occurring, it can quickly bottleneck the network and more devices on the network can be affected as well, causing more end points to make its own request to re-transmit data. What you get is a network overloaded that reduces productivity to all users. Certain other elements can factor in, like protocols such as spanning tree and the level (layer) at which control can be managed. A managed switch is key to bringing the network under control. The cost is generally relative to the level of control required.

Do not to forget the outside world, where connectivity again, can be completely unmanaged or your service provider can manage the links between sites to assure the proper traffic is delivered however way you need it. Any link that fails in a network can have adverse affects despite efforts to design a good network. Mentioning a design note, we often refer to an infrastructure design as building a 'Voice Network' that carries data vs the other way around. We've worked on many networks and can assist with a design or assess an existing network. Your network can be documented with the network's configuration and performance statistics with analysis of weaknesses and resolutions.

Converged Network

In a network design, we mostly think of data, however, VoIP adds a twist that realistically changes the design of a network to a voice network that data rides on. Over the years, most businesses would build their infrastructure to provide separate voice and data connections to each user, typically with Cat 5 data and Cat 3 voice cabling. The obvious issue is that with VoIP, you're using 1 cable for both voice and data services, thus merging the voice and data traffic. In unmanaged networks, there is no control to which type of packet traverses the LAN. All traffic is treated equally. The inherent mode that data operates is going to spell trouble for voice traffic unless there is a mechanism to control the converged traffic. Managed switches and routers are what do that along with some method to identify or differentiate the voice packets from data packets where then the switches and routers know what to prioritize.

VPN

VPN remote phones are a great success for those that need a phone at home or small office remote locations. They could even be used on the road where you spend a week at a client and need quick access to workers, and them to you. While the benefits are nice, the problem is often there are no guarantees for reliable connections and voice quality can be unacceptable. These issues are inherent with non-managed connections. With a managed connection, you will have a much greater probability that the VPN phone will work satisfactory.

Unfortunately, we find ourselves out at locations that a 'managed network' is not offered. Reality is, that in most cases, we are forced to accept the call quality that is presented. In the future, we believe there will be better and more robust connections that will allow for good, even excellent quality anywhere we go.

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