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How Internet service affects VoIP call quality

A recent article discussed how the quality of Internet service affects VoIP calls and quality – a key issue when considering whether or not digital voice services might be right for you and your organization. While the gist of the article was about underserved rural areas, the main concept of good Internet equals good VoIP is applicable to any digital voice user.

Quality of your Internet connection really comes down to two major points:

  • Is the connection stable/reliable?
  • Do you have enough bandwidth to support VoIP and regular day to day ‘net traffic?

We’ve found that nearly any high speed connection will work with VoIP in the right situation. Currently we have customers using DSL, T1, cable, and Metro Ethernet with VoIP without any problems with call quality or VoIP using up too much bandwidth on their dedicated connection.

Of course, every situation is different – let’s say your business is running on an ADSL connection, and you have 10 employees using the Internet fairly heavily. Email, web surfing, some streaming video, file transfers to clients, those sorts of tasks. Perhaps your office has 5 phone lines, which tend to be in fairly heavy use.

If you move to VoIP, chances are your ADSL connection may start to struggle with all the normal web traffic that’s now running on the same connection as 5 digital phone lines. It might be more beneficial to either upgrade the connection, or perhaps even bring in a second connection to use just for the VoIP traffic. Odds are that even if you do that, you’ll still save money over traditional voice in the long run.

Location is another key issue when it comes to VoIP quality. Let’s refer back to the article above about rural areas and the lack of available high speed services. If you’re located in a remote area that’s at the edge of DSL availability for instance, you may not be able to upgrade your connection if you discover that it can’t support higher speeds due to distance. Some DSL customers unfortunately have less than advertised speeds for that reason, or line quality issues. If your Internet connection is spotty, with periods of very slow throughput or even going down althogether, VoIP over that connection may not be the best option.

Thankfully, many VoIP services will allow for an emergency failover or backup line, so if your VoIP phones or adaptor are not reachable due to your Internet connection being down, inbound calls to your business can automatically be routed by the VoIP provider to another office or even a cell phone so you don’t miss calls.

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