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Need basic VoIP help - Network Configuration

Posted on 2011-03-02
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I oversee a network of about 350 network devices, all on a single subnet (172.16.x.x/255.255.252.0).  We currently use an ANCIENT Nortel Norstar telephone system and are looking at upgrading very soon.  We will need about 150 phones immediately with the option to grow to double that if needed.  Obviously, I don't want to add 150-300 more devices onto the same subnet for bandwidth reasons.  How do most people go about configuring their VoIP networks?  We were looking at a ShoreTel system if it makes any difference.....Could I just have the ShoreTel system hand out DHCP info on a completely different subnet, like 10.0.0.x/255.255.255.0?  Is there any need to have the two subnets even talk to each other?  Also, is there anything that needs to be done on our Firewall to allow incoming and outgoing calls If the Shoretl server is in house? Thanks in advance.
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Question by:tenover
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PortableTech earned 500 total points
ID: 35020812
Well, you have a few different questions, lets see how we can answer them.

1. We use a seperate VLAN for our voip and we have about 900 units worldwide.  Having them in an indenendant VLAN allows us to manage them as a seperate network and assign priorirt to that vlan for the various internet connections we have world wide.  This way general traffic does not interfer with them.

2. Yes, we have a seperate DHCP scope for just the voip vlan.

3. There is no reason that you voip phone need the ability to talk to anything other than the voip server itself.  Just make sure if you setup a seperate vlan that it is routed correctly back to the server.

4. Firewalls generally deal in ports, so without knowing many specifics about your setup, I would think that as long as it is unrestricted to your current voip, it should work with your new one.  If some special port is being  used you may need to open that up if it is currently restricted.
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by:jfaubiontx
ID: 35023758
One thing you haven't mentioned is replacing the wiring for that ancient system. The Norstar would have used Cat 3 wiring. Many folks like to replace the system with VoIP to take advantage of using the network wiring for both phones and data.

If you have the wiring in place then I would certainly recommend separating the networks as managing that many phones will be easier.
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Author Comment

by:tenover
ID: 35023766
The wiring is all Cat5. Good thinking though. So i could have the phone network completely separate from our computer network?  There's no need for them to talk to each other at all?  
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Expert Comment

by:PortableTech
ID: 35023773
As long as the phone system can talk to the voip server, it has no need to be able to talk to the rest of the network be that by vlan separation or physical separation.
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Expert Comment

by:jfaubiontx
ID: 35023934
Nope we have several customers with a GigE network for their computers and a separate 10M or 100M network for the phones. No need to spend the extra money on fast switches that are not needed for the phones however we typically provide a GigE port to the telephone server. In your case with 150 phones this means more dollars for switching also. Welcome to the world of compromise. Separate the networks and you increase the cost of the network. Combine the network, and you may slow the computer network.
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Author Comment

by:tenover
ID: 35023971
Awesome, thanks. I think I would just pay a bit extra to keep things physically separated. What if down the road we want to integrate with Outlook or something similar?  Then what, just stick a router between the two?
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Expert Comment

by:jfaubiontx
ID: 35024023
Yep just a way to route packets to the email server.
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