One way to tell if a business is running smoothly and successfully is by the state of its facilities. This includes its telephone network. A business that isn’t using VoIP shows that it is not keeping up with the trends.
VoIP is well past its experimental stage, and business VoIP delivers cost savings in the form of cheaper or free unlimited calling. VoIP also brings added features such as simultaneous ringing, and it enables employee mobility because business phones can be routed to cell phones or accessed directly in many cases using smartphone apps.
But, using VoIP does require a VoIP-friendly network. The technology saves both time and money, but VoIP is not also with its own considerations and requirements.
First among those is ensuring that modems and routers are not unintentionally reducing call quality.
VoIP calling is entirely data packets like E-mail and Web browsing is data packets. VoIP is one kind of data traffic on the network, and a router helps move the data through the network appropriately. But sometimes Internet service providers (ISPs) that provide the Internet to a business give a modem that comes with a router built-in. This dual device, known as a gateway, does not always properly route VoIP calls; it might only be configured to route VoIP calls purchased from the ISP.
A VoIP-friendly network is one that accounts for gateway interference. If a business is using a gateway, it can employ a gateway bridge that lets its VoIP traffic bypass the gateway. Another solution is replacing the gateway with a “dumb” modem that doesn’t also serve as a router.
A second consideration is having enough bandwidth to properly support VoIP. Before VoIP, a business had a phone line for calls and a data connection for the Internet. But with VoIP, both calling and the Internet use the same data connection. So a VoIP-friendly network is one that has enough bandwidth to accommodate traffic without reaching capacity. Because while it is okay if email is momentarily delayed due to Internet slowness, a call that can’t happen because of reaching bandwidth capacity is unacceptable.
This brings up a third important consideration for ensuring a VoIP-friendly network. The network must not have too much latency or packet-loss.
Latency is the response time of the Internet, and packet loss is how much data “leaks” between the sender and the receiver. With email or the Web, packet loss is no big deal because the data can be sent again. With VoIP, however, data loss means lost call quality because VoIP happens in real time and there’s no time to resend lost data packets in most cases.
Latency also must not be too great, because delayed data transfer also hinders VoIP due to its real-time data needs.
A VoIP-friendly network will have pings less than 100ms, jitter less than 10ms, and packet loss of less than .01 percent. These can be checked using a web service such as VoIPSpear.com or PingTest.net.
VoIP is how smart businesses make calls. But being smart also means ensuring that VoIP works smoothly.