If your computer network is doing nothing but providing e-mail service, transferring files between computers, and providing Internet access, you’re underutilizing it. If you’re paying to run separate cable for security systems, phone, or video, you’re wasting money.
Today’s high-speed networks routinely support a wide array of services that once required separate wiring. The same network that transfers your data can also provide VoIP phone service, security, digital signage, and more.
For phone service, Voice over IP (VoIP) is a cost-saving alternative to traditional telephone service that enables voice data to be transported over IP networks. Use VoIP for phone service within your organization, to connect to remote offices worldwide across the Internet, and to reach phones on the traditional analog phone system.
VoIP can be set up in a way that enables you to use phone numbers in exactly the same way as you did before VoIP. Most of the services you get with traditional phone service—Voice Mail, Call Waiting, and Call Routing, for instance—are also available with VoIP. Plus, because VoIP phones are usually powered via Power over Ethernet, they install just like a traditional phone—but instead of a phone wire into a phone jack, you plug a CATx cable into an Ethernet port.
Security services—including remote entry, intrusion detection, video surveillance, smoke alarms, and environmental monitoring— are ideal applications for a network. Security that operates on a network requires no additional wiring, is easily expanded to anywhere the network goes, and can be centrally managed.
Digital signage is an increasingly popular, low-cost way to attract attention and provide information. Although content for digital signage is often created and displayed using PCs and standalone media players that support just one or two screens, many organizations are discovering the benefits of centralizing and distributing content across the network to many screens at once.
As networking matures, many formerly freestanding services are moving onto IP networks. This convergence of data, voice, security, and many other services onto a single network can simplify installation and significantly reduce costs.