QoS – Voice Quality is Job Number One – Part 3

The previous two articles have addressed the overall quality of how your VOIP phone system works by identifying four components. They are Connectivity, Hardware, Software, and Network. All are important in their own ways in supporting VOIP. Let’s explore Connectivity in more detail to see which is best for your business situation.

Many small businesses use the Internet much as they use it at home. They contract for ADSL or cable service and get decent bandwidth for a low price, generally in the $40 – $120 per month range. Both ADSL and cable service are asynchronous, meaning that they have a robust bandwidth coming to your computer network and a much smaller bandwidth going out to the Internet. While this is fine for casual browsing and checking emails it does hinder some Internet programs that you might want to run.

Think of Internet bandwidth as a pipeline running water through it, only in this case the water is composed of packets of data which make up your web page, email and VOIP if you have that type of phone system. When you have a large incoming bandwidth or pipeline you can move quite a bit of information through the system and that results in fast loading web pages, quick updating of your email and clear VOIP. In an asynchronous pipeline, the outgoing movement is constricted by the limits of the bottleneck for moving data. The difference between incoming and outgoing bandwidth may be 768 KB / 128 KB on the low end for ADSL and 12 MB / 2 MB on the high end for cable services. This is why you may think your home-based VOIP service from the cable company or other consumer-oriented service sounds great to you on your end (large incoming bandwidth) but the other side has trouble hearing you because they are having issues from your much smaller outgoing bandwidth choking down your voice transmission to them.

This is why Select Phone Solutions always recommends having a synchronous service when VOIP is involved. A T-1 digital service run across optical fiber provides a nominal 1.5 Mb both for incoming and outgoing service. Multiple T-1s can be bonded together to provide more bandwidth where needed. Another advantage of a T-1 over cable service is that the T-1 bandwidth is not shared across a trunkline with your neighbors as is done with cable service. Your cable service bandwidth varies according to how all of your neighbors use their shared bandwidth. If they use streaming videos, run a powerful website, or any other high usage Internet function, that may strongly impact your service and VOIP quality.

ADSL is dedicated bandwidth but runs across copper lines at lower rates than a T-1 on optical fiber. While a one-person home office may be able to operate just fine on ADSL, a larger office with even 3 or 4 phones will find the service poor and not be happy at all with the quality of their VOIP. Does that mean that the VOIP is a bad choice for them? If cost is the issue and service must be through ADSL then yes, VOIP is not for them.

Select Phone Solutions’ experience is that choosing a T-1 provides the high quality VOIP service that every business expects to get for their investment. VOIP can also run extremely well when using a PRI with multiple copper phone lines but this raises the total communication cost of phone plus Internet compared to a T-1 which can provide both sides together.

Ask for your free phone system audit from Select Phone Solutions by calling 281-501-6464.

“Productivity Through Technology”

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