Research published today has found that 73% of European IT executives are still worried about the quality and reliability of voice over IP (VoIP) technology deployments.

The survey from software and services company, Compuware draws attention to the fact that, although companies are attracted by the cost savings and functionality of VoIP, they still have grave concerns about the actual reliability of the technology despite analysts Frost & Sullivan forecasting that VoIP will account for around 75% of the world’s voice traffic by next year.

It also revealed a possible cause for these worries – over a third (39%) of companies do not profile the performance of applications such as voice, prior to implementation, so cannot anticipate the effect that it will have on the network, and thus be reassured about quality and reliability.

Companies are also failing to correctly implement strategies for monitoring the quality of VoIP calls once such a system is in place. The survey found only 8% of organisations manage and monitor, or are prepared to manage and monitor calls at an individual level.

Michael Allen, global director of performance solutions, Compuware said: “Businesses must profile performance prior to deployment otherwise they have no way of knowing whether there will be negative side effects due to factors such as network design or application conflicts. With voice being such a high profile application organisations can’t afford to take this risk.”

Some 37% of IT managers rely on retrospective user feedback and consequently can only resolve problems after they have occurred. 29% of companies use occasional synthetic testing, which simultaneously adds to the load on the network and also means that problems that occur at unusual times of day or night, when IT technicians are not running such tests, cannot be tracked.

The survey also revealed that 72% of IT departments are only looking at overall network utilisation rather than examining the individual behaviour and usage of each application. This means that the quality of service of VoIP may well suffer, even if the organisation is using Class of Service on a MPLS network, because IT departments will not have the necessary insight into application performance. For example, if there is a large amount of lag on a VoIP call, which may be due to a problem at one of the network nodes, this may have gone unnoticed because VoIP does not necessarily generate a large volume of traffic, even though call quality is suffering.

This approach is also reflected in IT managers’ reactions to problems, where 46% of respondents admitted to adding more bandwidth to solve network utilisation problems as opposed to using monitoring to pinpoint specific problem areas.

The survey was of 300 IT directors from large enterprises across Europe, and was carried out by Omniboss, the enterprise division of market research company Vanson Bourne.