VOIP Planning – 10 Best Practices

Due to the cost benefits and higher efficiency, a growing number of companies are switching to VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol for their communication consumption. Instead of traditional circuit-switched PSTN, VoIP makes use of a packet-switched IP network.

While that sounds exciting, it’s rather difficult to implement. The complexity only goes up with the size of the organization and the scope of the project. There’s a lot of planning involved.

Whether you’re building the VoIP system for the first time or migrating from an existing one, you need to plan well. And it isn’t limited to the infrastructure. You’d have to make adjustments and adopt a new way of doing things. As experienced IT professionals will tell you, it’s never an easy task. Then after planning comes active management and monitoring for a successful VoIP adoption.

VOIP Planning

In the following sections, explore the 10 best practices for VoIP planning. These apply to most companies irrespective of the type of VoIP network, platform solution, company size, and current position. So take note of them and discuss them with your IT team while planning for the VoIP architecture and adoption.

1. Plan for VoIP Architecture

When planning for VoIP, you need to prepare for architecture first. It’s important since the VoIP architecture defines how the different components are connected. They must be connected precisely to deliver functions like Signaling, Database services, Call connect and disconnect, etc.

For a fully functioning VoIP architecture, here are the components you must arrange:

  • Signaling Gateway
  • Controller (SGC)
  • Media Gateway
  • Media Server
  • Application Server
  • IP PBX
  • Endpoint devices
  • IP network

After setting up the architecture, you’d then have to validate it. Ensure that the network infrastructure can work with the VoIP system.

Not every router, firewall, or switch is compatible with every VoIP provider. Some routers will have you turn off the firewall settings to have it compatible with the architecture. In other cases, the hardware will have specific criteria to work correctly. To have it work, you need to buy appropriate components.

So be prepared to make the necessary modification, updates, and configuration changes.

To conceptualize the perfect VoIP architecture, here are some questions you need to have clarity on:

  • Are you planning to scale your company to multiple locations?
  • How many employees are to planning to hire in the coming years?
  • Will you have remote employees? If so, how many?
  • What are the must-have VoIP features for your company?


Your architecture will change accordingly.

2. Determine VoIP Bandwidth Requirements

Bandwidth is abstractly the soul of VoIP communication. And thus, it goes without saying that you need to arrange sufficient bandwidth for your VoIP.

VoIP communication is different from traditional phone lines. To transmit voice data requires specific frequencies similar to television and radio transmission.

Higher bandwidth is generally better. But you don’t have to opt for the highest bandwidth since that’d drive up the cost. You should instead opt for sufficient bandwidth.

The bandwidth should support the volume of calls you need to handle. So you should calculate that requirement first. This would ensure the call quality that VoIP promises.

Bandwidth is important, and so is QoS prioritization. Therefore, the infrastructure should have Quality of Service (QoS) for the VoIP traffic. This traffic is sensitive to jitter and packet loss, and the call quality drops subsequently. Even if the network works fine for data will not perform equally well for voice.

3. Confirm That Your ISP will Support VoIP

VoIP calls will require high-speed internet. But your Internet Service Provider (ISP) should support VoIP in the first place. So call and confirm the same with your ISP. If required, you should upgrade your broadband plans to support VoIP.

Besides VoIP, it’s vital to discuss QoS capability with your ISP. In most cases, they don’t support that feature. And the internet at large doesn’t support QoS either. You’d have to make a separate request. You may have to lease a dedicated line for this, which is also a good idea.

Another best practice when it comes to VoIP planning and ISP is that you should engage with a second broadband provider.

Since communication is an integral part of your business, you can’t afford to be cut off when your broadband provider suffers a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack. With such attacks, which primarily target the servers, any connection requests made to those servers will be denied.

In such a scenario, your second broadband provider with the same capabilities will come to your rescue.

Outages are more common than you think in the IT world. And they cost companies billions of dollars each year. So you need to plan for such events by hiring a second or even a third broadband provider.

4. Consider SIP

SIP or Session Initiation Protocol plays an important role in VoIP connections. It’s a standard signaling protocol that defines the messages sent back and forth between two endpoints.

You need to partner with a SIP provider that can offer SIP trunking for your business. With trunking, your in-house PBX system will connect to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Without trunking, you’ll be limited to devices on the same network. So you’ll gain greater coverage.

If you have large systems within your company, the use of SIP becomes even more critical.

Make sure that the SIP provider doesn’t employ least cost routing. It’s basically a routing mechanism that switches calls to the least expensive pathway. This undoubtedly lowers the cost, but it also affects the call quality.

5. Plan Your Network Monitoring

As already said, after planning comes management and monitoring. So you need to plan on how to monitor your VoIP ecosystem. The VoIP network requires monitoring all the time to ensure call quality.

The best way is to define QoS metrics and use management tools to monitor the metrics. If they deviate from the set parameters, your team can intervene to make adjustments.

Some VoIP providers offer network management software to take care of in-house monitoring. In other cases, you’d have to purchase this additional software.

You can also use a centralized management tool to increase visibility. Such systems provide you insights on QoS, uptime, integrity, availability, among other things.

At the end of the day, it comes down to your requirements and capital availability.

6. Security is Crucial

When planning for VoIP, you must plan for security. That’s because any compromise to the phone system will be nothing short of catastrophic — especially for sensitive sectors like healthcare, insurance, banking, law, finance, etc.

If a VoIP network is compromised, hackers can carry out the following activities:

  • Social engineering by making unsolicited phone calls
  • Disclosing passwords of private Wi-Fi networks
  • Toll fraud, where expensive phone numbers are dialed intentionally
  • Intercepting MFA (multi-factor authentication) text messages
  • Gaining access to sensitive data under a false pretext
  • Phishing
  • Malware attacks
  • Spam
  • Ransom for hacked information

To prevent such unwanted attacks and their dire consequences, you should ensure two things:

  • The VoIP provider is accredited
  • VoIP encryption is in place

Certain certifications recognize the security standards of a VoIP provider. Those are:

  • HIPAA – Specifically for healthcare companies, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Affordable Act) mandates the VoIP servers be configured appropriately to protect patient privacy. So if you’re in the healthcare sector, you need a HIPAA-complaint VoIP provider.
  • ISO/IEC 20071 – This certificate implies that the VoIP provider regularly assesses the security threats and responds to them timely. So it has rigorous security controls in place.
  • PCI – Certain VoIP providers are PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant. Your VoIP systems should comply with PCI standards to avoid higher transaction fees and hefty non-compliance fines if you accept and process credit cards.
  • SOC 2 – Many cloud providers are needed to comply with the SOC 2 or Service Organization Control 2 requirements. It checks standards across areas like privacy, security, data integrity, and availability.

Unencrypted calls are prone to interception and snooping. Therefore, your VoIP connection should also be encrypted. With encryption, you’ll have Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP) security layers on every call.

If required, you can take help from the “Security Considerations for Voice Over IP Systems” handbook published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

7. Plan for Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery is often the responsibility of the VoIP provider (if you’re on hosted VoIP plans). But you shouldn’t leave it entirely to them. It’s essential to have backup services to work alongside the VoIP systems.

A mirrored PBX system is one recommendation. You can deploy it on the cloud or in a hybrid infrastructure. Having a second ISP is another recommendation that has already been discussed above.

When selecting a VoIP provider, demand the automatic failover feature. This ensures that if the connections fail for whatever reason, the system will automatically select the alternative solution.

8. Understand Global Government Toll Bypass Regulations

If your business requires to dial residents of another country, it’s important to understand the regulations of those countries.

It might be illegal to dial someone from an unknown number. Or in other countries, it might be unlawful to offer five-digit dialing to make international calls. So, you must adhere to regulatory compliance on all fronts.

9. Avoid Using Multiple VoIP Providers

This might sound counterintuitive, but it’s one of the best practices to follow when adopting VoIP. And the reason for this is simplicity and accountability.

When there’s a technical error, you don’t have to find out who is responsible. If you’re working with a single VoIP provider, you know who it is.

Moreover, it’s tough to integrate different VoIP providers and their telephony products. By doing so, you may experience echo, interference, and dropped quality.

10. Organize and Educate Staff Members

The last planning component is your workforce. If you’re moving from telephone lines to VoIP, upgrading your exiting VoIP system, or starting from scratch, you need to train your staff members on how to use the new systems.

They must know the protocols, the basics of how VoIP work, and the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) they need to meet.

For complex operations where VoIP systems span multiple locations, you will have to hire specialized IT staff who are well aware of the technologies.


VoIP is a continually evolving field. So you must be up to date with such changes and adapt accordingly. Some VoIP providers would recommend using specific features and technologies. It’s worth listening to their advice and incorporating the same into your practice.

Last but not least, you should survey your customers about their experience. If you’re facing bottlenecks, take measures to remove them. After all, you should judge a technology based on how it impacts the customer experience.

Avatar for Hitesh Jethva
Hitesh Jethva

I am a fan of open source technology and have more than 10 years of experience working with Linux and Open Source technologies. I am one of the Linux technical writers for Cloud Infrastructure Services.

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