One fact is as close to a slam dunk reality as possible: No matter how enticing new applications are, VoIP will only continue to grow at a healthy clip if the basic voice quality is equal or better than what is offered by the public switched telephone network.
We have good and bad news to report on this front. The good news -- for VoIP proponents, at least -- is that the industry is paying attention. This VoIP News piece outlines seven steps that can lead to higher quality VoIP services. Most of the steps are straightforward and easily implemented, if the corporate will exists.
The concept is simple enough: End points -- VoIP phones and handsets, gateways, etc. -- should be harnessed to provide feedback to the network operator. This telemetry will be produced more quickly and cheaply and be more detailed than either rolling out trucks to test performance or simply waiting for angry subscribers to complain.
That's the good news. The bad news: Just because better technology and strategies are available doesn't mean that they, or even older rudimentary approaches, are being used. According to this post at MyDSL, a Compuware survey of European IT executives found that despite a high level of concern about VoIP, networks are being treated with benign neglect. The survey offers several findings that suggest companies simply aren't doing the necessary testing and monitoring.
We don't know precisely who was interviewed for the survey. Our guess is that it was middle level management. That would explain why there is a lot of concern but little action.
Upgrades are authorized by upper management, and its mindset is to keep expenditures to a minimum. VoIP infrastructures will be upgraded only if factors beyond bad performance -- such as increased revenue or greater internal efficiencies -- convince high level executives that upgrades make sense.