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Top 5 tips for your hosted call centre network infrastructure

Any hosted auto dialer or hosted call centre is only as good as the network it runs over. Assuming your service provider has a suitable network your local network must be good enough to transport voice and time sensitive data.

A hosted auto dialer or inbound call centre connects from your service provider to the agents over a wide area network (WAN) and local area network (LAN). The quality of both determines the quality of the actual service. A poorly configured LAN or WAN can render a hosted service useless. Generally the price of a hosted auto dialer or inbound call centre is lower than a premises-based solution so the cost of the LAN and WAN must reflect this. So here are our top 5 tips for a cost effective LAN and WAN to support a hosted auto dialer or inbound call centre:

1. Choose the right WAN connection

The most reliable service on offer is a fibre leased line service which comes with a 4 hour fix SLA. They are generally the best option but the worst in terms of cost averaging £700-£1000 per month and installation lead time (100 days is the norm). It is more sensible to choose a broadband service that is reliable, cost effective and has a short lead time. We suggest an ADSL2+ service with 1:1 contention at £40 per month per line and split voice and data over two lines.

2. Separate voice and data

Separating voice and data is the easiest and cheapest way to ensure quality of service and ensures that QoS type features (traffic prioritisation) are not required. QoS features are not possible on broadband as the traffic cannot be controlled at the local exchange (DSLAM). At the very best you could control outbound voice, but what use is that if you can't hear your client?

We suggest splitting voice and data over multiple lines.

3. Choose the right router

Router technology is improving and the price of them is reducing to the point that £80 can buy you a router suitable for a 20 seat call centre running voip. For the purposes of a hosted auto dialler or call centre the router does not need to be complex if voice and data have been separated. Hostcomm would suggest a Cisco router if you have the budget or a Billion router if you need something below £120.00.

4. Simplify your LAN configuration

The network configuration should be as flat as possible i.e. no VLANs and layer 3 routing. The agent traffic with a hosted auto dialler is predictable and fixed. Voice streams take 30 / 100Kbps and agent interface sessions are around 10-30Kbps. They do not need to have any traffic shaping or segmentation. Separation of voice and data can be physical (separate routers and switches).

Reducing the complexity reduces the chances of a service outage and makes trouble shooting much easier.

5. Implement router traffic monitoring

The routers will be mission critical so why not have visibility of what they are doing? Ideally the router will have a basic monitoring built in but there are many router monitoring applications that are free of charge. If your call centre starts to grow rapidly the bandwith available can reduce to the point that all voice calls suffer reduced quality. This can be very difficult to diagnose without router monitoring.

Implementing these 5 recommendations in your call centre will definitely save you money and reduce the chance of a serious outage.

For further advice and recommendations please call us on Free Phone 0808 168 4400 or email [email protected]

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