Choosing a VoIP Gateway for Your Company (Part 2)

We gave a brief introduction on VoIP gateways recently, and now we move on to factors that businesses should consider in choosing a VoIP gateway.

VoIP gateways come in both hardware and software forms. However, for businesses, hardware-based solutions are more widely adopted, but can be more expensive. Many prefer hardware-based gateways as they’re considered more reliable, and provide their built-in interfaces. These also don’t consume computer processing power since they have their own internal processors. These can be available as stand-alone boxes, chassis cards or modules.

When choosing a hardware solution, one could usually spot the packet processing capacity judging from the size of the chassis–bigger usually means more powerful. Higher packet processing capacity is preferred, so you can avoid poor voice quality (and potentially lost business).

As for capacity, you should choose a gateway based on the simultaneous VoIP calls it can handle. When switching from a traditional phone system to VoIP, It’s important that your gateway can handle your network’s existing load plus some allowance. One good rule of thumb to follow is that your VoIP gateway should have at least 20% greater capacity than the current network load. This way, you have room for expansion and you have some allowance–your gateway can accommodate growth before you find the need to upgrade or replace it.

The number and types of interfaces are also important to interoperability. An adequate number and variety of ports will make connecting devices to your gateway easier. These devices come in different forms, such as billing systems, network management systems, and yes, even your interface to the traditional phone system.

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