June 02, 2004

What was OneUnited Bank's main concern when implementing Voice over IP telephony technology?

Our predominant concern was that we would not be able to achieve toll-quality voice. We were concerned with whether or not we would have the same quality as a conventional phone line. With Voice over IP (VoIP) you are taking your voice and turning it into a data packet. VoIP is a little more finicky than a data application because it is susceptible to delay. Whereas a normal data application can live with a couple hundred milliseconds of delay, VoIP does not tolerate that very well. With 200 milliseconds of delay, you start to get static waves. We needed to make sure that our network was tuned properly and had adequate capacity.

Prior to implementing ShoreTel's (Sunnyvale, Calif.) VoIP, we had ten different phone systems. We are now using data lines to avoid telecommunication charges, and we are also unifying communications. Now, rather than having to dial a ten-digit number to call someone, we have a four-digit dial plan. If we want to dial someone in California, we just dial the four-digit extension. We now have a very high (99 percent) toll-quality voice on a Voice over IP telecommunication system.