Installers Outline The Options

Hauppauge, NY - As an integration company specializing in videoconferencing, IVCi's director of marketing Harold German answered some questions about the installation side of the industry.

SCN: What's the latest buzz on VoIP? How does it impact installation approaches?
Most companies are using videoconferencing to conduct their meetings over ISDN lines. Although it has always been the most affordable medium for video communication, ISDN is plagued by performance, reliability and image quality issues. For these reasons, large corporations accepted the initially higher costs of IP networks and enjoyed relatively uninterrupted service.
For the last few years, however, there has been a significant migration to IP networks, a medium that is much more robust and has recently become more affordable. Used almost exclusively by larger organizations to date, video over IP is rapidly gaining adoption among mid- and small-sized companies. The image quality of the video calls is superior, the point-of-entry is significantly lower and the call connections are more reliable.

SCN: How does IP compare to ISDN? Do installers and end-users have a preference?
Installers don't really have a preference. It really depends on the customers' needs. However, there are several things to consider with IP that are irrelevant with ISDN. With ISDN you just dial a number and connect. With IP there are network issues to consider. Simply put, ports on the firewall have to be opened for calls to get through. Of course, any time firewall ports are opened, the network is vulnerable. However, when you're dealing with a managed IP network, this issue becomes a non-issue; even more so with a dedicated IP network for video.
Another issue is bandwidth. How much do you have available? Will you be calling out, or is your videoconferencing going to be strictly internal? IP is the way to go due to quality, reliability and costs, especially if you have a managed network.