With a number of factors aligning, Voice over IP (VoIP) is finally starting to become a viable alternative for South African organisations.
This is according to Hilton Haefele, product manager at Ingram Micro, who says the increasing number of network switches supporting Power over Ethernet (PoE), supports his belief that the market will see "VoIP in a box" solutions emerging as more of the current platforms within SMEs are capable of supporting IP telephony.
“Besides the cost of replacing a company’s entire networking infrastructure, the primary obstacle to the success of VoIP has been providing the necessary reticulation (cabling and power) to the different parts of the customer’s premises,” Haefele says.
“PoE-capable switches combined with 802.11n capable wireless access points cut down on the cabling required to setup a VoIP network substantially, since the electricity required to power the wireless access point can be provided over the same Ethernet cable connecting it to the network’s backbone and communication with VoIP handsets can take place over the faster N-class network protocol,” he explains.
“This not only reduces cost and complexity associated with taking advantage of VoIP, but also the time such a solution takes to rollout.
“By removing these obstacles and reducing the overall cost of the hardware – as vendors have been steadily doing for the past decade – VoIP is becoming a more viable option for small businesses.
“These smaller players, I believe, are the key to driving greater adoption for this technology. And with forces in the market aligning as they are, I don’t think that time is further away than a year to eighteen months."