Nuclear Scientists Baffled By VoIP

May 24, 2007 by Garrett Smith

News Like This Makes Me Feel Pretty Smart

He has 25 years of IT experience. He works with nuclear scientists (the ones who make bombs and stuff). He has a Government budget. He is Scott Pinkerton. He can’t get VoIP to work and he has no one to blame but himself.

While the story of Scott Pinkerton and his follies with implementing VoIP at the Argonne National Labratory located just South of Chicago is getting quite a bit of attention due to a Network World article, the story is less about the “poor performance of VoIP” and more about the “lack of preparation and education” of the individual who was leading the VoIP deployment, Mr. Pinkerton

What went wrong?

  • For starters, Mr. Pinkerton failed to properly plan for the deployment. Had he done a full VoIP network assessment and needs evaluation, he would have known which IP phones would have been interoperable with his switching infrastructure.
  • Mr. Pinkerton set-up a system and put it into production without first testing the system in an similar environment. Most of the issues he was facing, in regards to equipment settings, would have been easily found had a test system been deployed, prior to a large scale deployment.
  • Mr. Pinkerton also made another cardinal sin…failing to ask his users what they were looking for in an IP phone. He never purchased demo models from his vendor and allowed the intended users to use them prior to making a purchasing commitment. This is sort of like buying a new car without taking it for a test drive.
  • The system was sort of a Frankenstein from the start. From the looks of it, Mr. Pinkerton was using IP on the LAN, controlled by a TDM PBX via some sort of FXS VoIP gateway, but is does not say whether he was leveraging VoIP for termination and orignation or the PSTN. This was not a pure VoIP system that the article mentions in the beginning, it was a hybrid.

What is the Morale of the Story?

It does not matter how much IT, Network, or Computer experience under you belt. If you are not well versed in setting up VoIP systems and do not properly plan for a VoIP deployment, no matter how big or small it may be, it is your fault that the deployment failed…not the technology. Business VoIP does not deploy itself…people do. Every time I read one of these stories, I find it interesting that they always blame the technology and not the person deploying it. It guess it is just easier to just blame the technology, rather than look in the mirror at the true problem.

So for those of you who are interesting in a VoIP deployment who have no previous experience with the tecnology my advice is find someone that can offer you a complete VoIP network assessment and evaluation or even outsource the entire deployment to a pro. Because you do not want to be the reason that VoIP does not work for you.

1 Comment


    With the Voip technology now available to everyone on the internet… It shouls, and now is, available to anyone having an online connection.

    Lile email and search engines are offered at no cost…
    So can Phone calling be offered at no cost.

    AdCalls, Inc. has announced the first Advertiser supported Voip.
    Call from US and Canada to over 10 countries… TOTALLY FREE….
    Soon to be world wide…. FREE.

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