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Optimizing VoIP With Meraki

Segregating your network into different VLANs can provide amazing benefits when it comes to voice performance. Optimizing your VoIP traffic with Meraki’s interface makes this otherwise daunting task into an easy, no-downtime procedure that can have incredible impact on your call quality.

What is a VLAN?

Most offices have one single physical network – one interconnected path of cables and wires. If all internet-bound traffic were given equal weight, someone streaming movies or online radio stations could cripple call quality or essential, customer-facing server response times. Thus the idea of “Virtual Local Area Networks,” or VLANs, arose; software that could live inside a switch or router and segment information based on where it was coming from, where it was going, or even what type of traffic was being sent.

By intelligently using VLANs, a company can decide how to allocate their bandwidth, and even set limits for its usage, such as limiting data so it doesn’t interfere with voice traffic. In this way calls can remain clear, server-bound traffic can move unimpeded, and most end-users won’t have their network access or data speeds noticeably affected.

Being able to configure VLANs properly used to solely be the realm of highly trained network engineers, but with Meraki’s Cloud-capable managed switches, configuring and updating your network topology is a snap. Skill and experience is still required to plan a proper network, but the actual implementation is now easier than ever.

How Does it Work?

After logging into your Meraki dashboard and moving to the port configuration page, you will see that each of your active and inactive switch ports are displayed. Selecting the required ports and clicking the Edit button will present you with a new menu where you can configure each of the portal menus with a built-in “Voice VLAN” field! Choose a unique tag ID# for the VLAN and save your settings. Make sure to have all of your voice-related ports tagged appropriately, and then define the “Quality of Service” (QoS) priority for each.

Under your Switch settings within your dashboard you can find the QoS section, where you can define specific rules or priorities to give to certain classes of traffic, including the VLAN you just created. After configuring your network, including existing VLANs, save your settings.

“Port mirroring” is the ability for a switch to replicate all data traveling on one port to another. It is very important to correctly configure your mirrored ports after enabling voice VLANs if you use a VoIP recording solution or intrusion detection system, which would scan all passing traffic and analyze it for potential threats entering your network.

Once you have set up your new VLAN, configured what kind of QoS voice or data traffic should have, and verified your port mirroring, just reboot your phones and enjoy your new crystal-clear call quality! Meraki’s Cloud-based network management interface means that your new configuration will automatically be pushed out to all relevant devices on your network, ensuring a hassle-free method to update your entire network architecture without needing to manually configure each individual switch. What could be easier?

Free AP for IT Professionals

If you are interested in a complimentary webinar about cloud networking from Cisco Meraki, please follow this link. The webinar includes a live demo of this cloud management platform and you get a free Meraki access point for attending – quite a few of Team One Solutions’ customers rely on Meraki solutions with its easy centralized cloud management for their entire wired and wireless networks.

*To be eligible for a free access point, participants must be an IT professional. Existing Meraki customers are not eligible. Limit of one free AP per company. For more details, click here.

Optimizing VoIP With Meraki