Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) uses the Internet (Internet Protocol) for telephone calls that previously occurred on traditional phone based transmissions on public switched telephone networks (PSTN). The popularity of VoIP services has skyrocketed due mainly to the tremendous financial savings. VoIP company’s typically charge a flat monthly rate for unlimited local and long distance calling, where PSTN companies charge a flat rate for local calling but a per minute rate for long distance.
For any company utilizing or thinking about switching to VoIP the most crucial consideration should be the quality of the call. Some business leaders recall the early days of VoIP when people using VoIP had poor call quality. This drawback has been greatly reduced by higher broadband speeds, though some honing can still be accomplished by adjusting a router’s Quality of Service (QoS) settings. The QoS settings can be adjusted to give priority to specific data transmissions such as VoIP.
The features that a VoIP provide sound great but without the appropriate settings on the Quality of Service it could lead to degraded communications. Although VoIP offers a reduced cost compared to PSTN users have to face problems such as delays in data packet delivery, loss of data packets, jumble data packets, and other errors that cause distorted voice and connection quality. There are ways to mitigate how many errors (calls fading in and out) you have to endure. Before switching to VoIP provided below are some suggestions to ensure the best communication possible.
Use the Appropriate Equipment and Internet Connection
Use network devices, switches and routers that can meet the major QoS standards. Keeping in mind that Internet Service Providers offering higher bandwidths (for example 10 Mbps (megabits per second)) are usually providing a router that is QoS capable and has QoS settings. Speaking of bandwidth, before switching to VoIP you may need to upgrade your Internet service, so consult with your Internet Service Provider ISP to see if you need to upgrade your connection or possibly switch ISPs.
Not all VoIP providers are the same
Compare various VoIP providers, obtain service providers QoS statistics, and consider a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to maintain the call quality you require.
Upgrade your ISP Contention Ratio
Contention Ratio is the ratio of the possible maximum bandwidth demand to the actual bandwidth usage. The lower the ratio the less people using your ISP’s connection and the fewer problems you have to deal with. ISPs may for free or a small be lower your contention ratio, which could be a greater issue for those that have a cable company ISP.
Regulate download, uploading, and streaming
If the folks at your office have issues with VoIP it could be too much data moving over your router and the biggest culprits can be large uploads, downloads, or streaming video. These bandwidth hogs can be minimized first through written acceptable use policies and secondly with router or firewall settings that turns off or reduces these practices.
VoIP network traffic may be given priority on your router by adjusting QoS. Unfortunately, this setting varies router to router but is generally addressed by defining a rule that is regulated by specifying a phone’s MAC Address, IP address, and/or by specifying priority to VoIP’s TCP/IP Ports.
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