Hosted Voip Phones and Vlans: Things to Consider

When installing a hosted VOIP phone system you are faced with a couple common scenarios, you can either have the VOIP phones on their own network, completely separate from your data network or you can combine the two networks, sharing infrastructure cabling and switches.

Both scenarios work perfectly fine, but there are major differences in set up, configuration and cost. In this document we will point out some of the major differences and what to expect with each scenario.

Scenario 1 - Separate Network for Data and Voice

  • Phones have separate cabling (computers have their own separate cable and will not be plugged into the back of the phone)
  • There is a separate switch for the phones to connect to (phones and computers will not be plugged into the same data switch as they are physically separate networks)
  • The firewall/router or the switches will provide DHCP to the phones


  • Voice quality of the phones will not be influenced by data traffic to computers as they are physically separate networks
  • Ease of installation, no programming on the data network needed
  • Plug and play operation for adding phones in the future


  • Higher up front costs to install separate cables and switches for phones (If they are not already in place)
  • Recurring costs for separate internet connection

Scenario 2 - Shared Network with Data and Voice on the same network

  • Only one jack per workstation, phones and computers will be sharing the same connection
  • Data switches will have to be configured with a separate vlan to separate the voice and data traffic
  • QOS will have to be configured on router to ensure voice traffic takes priority


  • No up front infrastructure costs to implement(unless switches need to be upgraded to support vlans)


  • A lot of technical programming required on the customer’s data network (creating vlans, configuring QOS)
  • If client is not familiar with setting this up, we may have to outsource an IT professional to help us configure the firewall/data switches to accommodate this configuration
  • Much more difficult to troubleshoot issues as the client’s data network must be examined extensively, which again can involve outsourcing IT professionals
  • Setting up and testing can be disruptive to the client’s network

Separate Physical Network for Phones and Computers
This requires separate jacks for phones and computers at the workstations and a separate switch for phones and computers. A separate internet connection is also recommended in this scenario.

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Shared Network
One jack at the workstation, phone plugs into jack, computer plugs into phone.
A Vlan should be programmed into the switch to “virtually” separate the voice and data traffic on the network. Internet connection is shared with router handling the QOS.

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