By Gemma Christie
At the beginning of the pandemic almost all meetings and interactions had to be rapidly adapted from face-to-face to being held over the internet. I doubt there’s a business that hasn’t had to conduct a virtual meeting at some point over the last couple of years.
However, as we slowly begin to return to the office, what's interesting to see is that cloud communications and virtual meetings and interactions aren’t slowing down – in fact, all the research suggests that these “new normal” meeting alternatives for our hyper-connected global world are here to stay, indefinitely.
Is your in-house infrastructure up to speed?
It was widely acceptable at the beginning of the pandemic for such interactions to be occasionally plagued by poor internet connections, hardware problems or interruptions, mostly because many people had to suddenly leave their high-speed internet connected offices and set-up shop from home, with little warning.
But now as we return to the office, these kinds of issues look unprofessional at best, and could cost your business customers, at worst. So, is your in-house infrastructure up to speed? What I mean by that is, is everything from routers to firewalls, switching and wireless access points – as well as the obvious high-speed internet connection, all in working order, properly connected and the best your business can afford?
Does your connectivity provider offer failover solutions? This means you can guarantee your building is online 100% of the time, which, depending on what industry you’re in, is likely to be vital to most businesses.
How can these factors impact day-to-day business?
As the world of connectivity and cloud communications is constantly changing it can be difficult to keep up with the latest advancements and how to optimise this for your individual business’ needs and when the right time might be to upgrade or improve your current infrastructure.
Whether you plan to upgrade in the near future or not, it’s useful to arm yourself with the knowledge of key trouble hotspots with the infrastructure mentioned above so that if you do encounter issues when you’re due to attend an all-important meeting, you have a good overview of what some of the common problems are (even if you decide to call an expert in to fix them!)
Routers and firewalls
Routers are designed to be able to handle a certain amount of bandwidth and, whereas before, perhaps a handful of people were conducting meetings via video, now everyone in the office is. Whether it’s an in-house meeting, interviewing someone remotely or having a call with a potential client, in any scenario it’s exceptionally important that the video and audio are clear, and the call stays connected. If your router doesn’t have the capacity to handle multiple video and audio calls at once, this can lead to the network becoming congested and the call quality will decline.
Another key consideration in relation to routers is concerning security. Many highly regarded firewalls have advanced functions like intrusion prevention systems or intrusion detection systems, often known as IPS or IDS, respectively. These can also wreak havoc with your router causing video call performance to drop significantly if you don’t whitelist the software you’re using for the call. If you don’t whitelist the software, your firewall will continue inspecting all traffic that runs through it as if it’s a potential threat.
Wireless access points
Wireless access points need to be strategically positioned around the workspace so that usage is distributed across all points in the office, rather than one or two becoming overloaded, and so that the entire workspace gets Wi-Fi coverage. It’s also important to consider the capacity that each access point will need and make sure you check regularly whether there are any problems in busier areas where more devices are using an access point.
While the above is important, none of them would be relevant to the quality of a video meeting without ensuring that your office has decent internet connectivity. If you’re not sure what kind of speed you’re getting there are plenty of free speed test websites that will run a quick test and then show you your upload and download speeds.
All popular video platforms use approximately 2Mb per user when conducting a high-definition video and voice meeting. Consider that in conjunction with the above points and how many users may be accessing other cloud-based tools at the same time to determine the ideal bandwidth you’ll need to have smooth and strong internet access.
If you’re not sure how much bandwidth this is, internet service providers have access to traffic reports for your IP address and can tell you.
While the above may seem like a long list of things to consider in terms of infrastructure, our experts know the pitfalls and tech inside out. With a genuine passion for following cloud communications innovations they can easily appraise your infrastructure and give you an idea of whether an upgrade should be one of your considerations.
VTSL is a leading cloud communications provider, offering organisations across the UK & Ireland powerful voice communications technology that allows them to work smarter. VTSL's service streamlines day-to-day interactions with intuitive and easy-to-use management portals, mobile apps, and state-of-the-art phones. Integrations with applications such as MS Teams reduce admin time and provides a seamless working across platforms. Learn more by emailing email@example.com today.