Traditional legacy phone systems are becoming a thing of the past. An estimated 30-60% of businesses have already switched to VoIP.
VoIP phone service gives your business advanced phone system features without complicated maintenance. Businesses that switch to VoIP can benefit from improved reliability and considerable reductions in telecom costs.
As VoIP phone systems become more prevalent, businesses need employees who can set up and maintain these systems. Depending on the size of your organization, you might assign these responsibilities to a VoIP engineer or a network engineer.
But what’s the difference between a network engineer and a VoIP engineer? And which one does your business need?
Difference Between a VoIP Engineer and Network Engineer
Network engineering covers many different fields.
In its broadest sense, a network engineer is a technology professional who plans, implements, and oversees the IT networks that support a company. Network engineers are responsible for the company’s data, voice, video, and much more.
Network engineering is very general, and the role tends to include VoIP as an afterthought.
What Does a VoIP Engineer Do?
VoIP engineers manage the telecommunications infrastructure, systems, and related software for a company or other organization. And they typically come from computer science backgrounds and have certifications like dCAP, CCNP, and ACIS.
Their job is to ensure that VoIP hardware and systems are functioning properly. They might also be tasked with the installation and customization of a phone system. If something goes wrong with the phones, VoIP engineers are tasked with troubleshooting these issues.
They tend to be the go-to point of contact to interact with telecom vendors for support, escalating issues, etc.
On top of this, VoIP engineers also oversee the performance of voice systems and conduct traffic analysis and capacity planning. And they have a strong understanding of various telephony protocols and the latest voice technologies.
VoIP engineers should have a strong mastery of call center concepts like auto-attendant, call routing, hunt groups, etc.
As they advance in their career path, VoIP engineers could become network architects or IT managers down the line.
What Does a Network Engineer Do?
The main responsibility of a network engineer is to set up and maintain IT networks within an organization. Their focus is on network engineering for data communications.
Some of their certifications might include CCNA, CCIE, and CompTIA Network+. These are very general networking certifications with an overall, rather than specialized, focus.
As a result, their voice and VoIP expertise might not be as robust. Their knowledge might be very generic and fail to account for real-world scenarios.
Network engineers tend to learn VoIP through on-the-job training. So, if you task a network engineer with setting up your VoIP network, you might require costly post-install corrections, edits, and re-work down the line.
There are many fields within computer networking. Network engineers know the fundamentals, but they can’t compete with voice engineers in their specialized understanding of VoIP.
Which One Do You Need?
It’s not really one versus the other. When maintaining mission-critical communications, it’s not as simple as choosing a VoIP engineer or a network engineer.
In reality, there should be a collaboration between both roles.
The short answer: It depends on your company’s size
Small businesses, without many users, can afford to split the roles of a network professional between voice and other networking duties.
Medium to large-sized businesses, however, tend to have dedicated phone shops. These employees usually spend their days reading SIP messages and tracking down error codes. Meanwhile, the network shops focus on other computer networking tasks.
In larger organizations, network engineers don’t need to concern themselves with the intricacies of VoIP and its associated protocols.
Here’s an example:
Network specialists tend to understand basic concepts like call flows and telephony at a very high level. But, they’re not always up to date with the feature sets and behaviors that PBX systems have evolved to do.
For example, for incoming calls, a business might want to ring a group of agents 4 times, then ring a manager twice, then forward calls to a voicemail, while generating a waiting signal to the group of agents.
VoIP engineers are able to talk with end-users to understand what those end-users really need and then communicate those requirements to technical staff.
How Can We Help?
A typical ITSP will divide VoIP and networking roles into different departments. They have network specialists and VoIP specialists, and everyone likely has an understanding of voice and networking.
If you don’t want to handle the intricacies of VoIP engineering or network engineering, let us do the work for you. We can deliver a fully-hosted VoIP solution that requires very little maintenance from your end.
If you want to learn more, give us a call or chat with one of our VoIP specialists 24/7.