Pros & Cons: Keeping voice & data on separate networks

By Harvey Barkin
Updated: February 01, 2011

Used to be, individual subscribers got only voice services; businesses, data. But nowadays, consumers as well as businesses use both voice and data services.

The current concern seems to be: is it better to keep both in separate or together in one network?

While the functionality and economy of a dual network seems desirable, both options have advantages. And both bear consideration. Before you commit expense, time and personnel, check this out.

If you keep voice & data together in one network

  • You generally don’t have to buy new technology. An upgrade would just be maximizing your existing technology. Devices can be shared, reducing risk and maintenance. You also cut down on the need for expensive specialists to maintain an optimized network, instead of two new and untried.
  • Converging voice and data in the same network reduces operational costs. What’s not so apparent is that it also allows you further options for cost effectiveness like 24/7 call centers and work-at-home potential. This customer-centric move marks your company as strategic.
  • Voice traditionally works by circuit-switching; data, packet-switching. If both were in the same network, voice can tolerate a few packet losses. So packet-switching can work in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) by digitalizing it. Your old circuit-switching becomes less expensive and thus, modernized.
  • Again, because packet-switching is more efficient than circuit-switching, making an Internet Protocol-based call means you’re maximizing the untapped capacity of the circuit. Because you can use it even when there are other users on it. You don’t have to wait for a reply before you can talk. You save money on phone calls.

If you keep voice & data in separate networks

  • You don’t run the risk of losing your voice applications (drop calls, echo effect) when network overload taxes your bandwidth availability. Upwards of 3% packet loss can make you lose voice service.
  • Serviceability can be an advantage if you have just that one voice network infrastructure. You may have to bring in multi-level skilled technicians to get at a stand-alone voice equipment and then an integrated data/voice network.
  • You don’t need the extra expense and bother of setting up routers just to make sure your voice conversations are not interrupted when simultaneous data transfers occur.

Experts believe the necessity of acquiring both state of the art voice and data services to be viable in business. Technologies exist to maintain both in separate networks and together in one.

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