Many businesses hesitate to switch to VoIP due to concerns over call quality. Will your customer service lines suffer due to the change? The hesitant businesses often recall the past when Internet connections were sluggish and wonder if their own Internet connection is up to the task. That is a fair concern, even if present day VoIP has improved a great deal. Here are a few ways that you can make sure your VoIP call quality is up to your business’s demands.
Use New Headsets
VoIP call quality depends, in large part, on your microphone and earphones. Many people make their calls on headsets but use outdated equipment. These people run the risk of dampening their VoIP call quality. If you try better quality headsets, you—and the people you’re calling—will hear the difference. Headsets with short, insulated cords tend to have better results with VoIP.
VoIP—as stated—works via the Internet. More specifically however, it works by delivering the voice information in small packets. If you want that information to make sense to the end user, they need to be spaced evenly and delivered consistently. There are a few types of network issues that can disrupt this information delivery. Depending on the severity of the VoIP call quality jitters, there are numerous solutions. If the problem isn’t that bad, try swapping Ethernet cables with Cat 6 cables. Cat 6 delivers information to the source a lot quicker than Ethernet, and thus reduces the odds of it scrambling. If your jitter problem is severe, you can install a jitter buffer.
Lower Bandwidth Use
Sometimes VoIP users simply have an overloaded bandwidth. If your VoIP call quality is suffering as a result, there are a few solutions. You should stop downloads when using VoIP and eliminate simultaneous calls. However, the best solution is simply to spend a little bit on increased bandwidth usage. It depends entirely on how many calls you receive on any given day.
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Businesses often need to take stock of their communications needs, and this includes cabling. The most frequent times for assessment are when a company relocates or experiences consistent technical problems. It’s always best to examine the infrastructure first, because the wiring is the building block of your business phone system. A lot of businesses choose to a mainly wireless system, because they are attempting to keep costs low. However, this option sometimes leads to limited bandwidth, slow connectivity, and limited upgrade options. Structured cabling is a better choice for other businesses.
Structured cabling links the entire business phone system into a streamlined service for all your devices. It can require a onetime investment in hardware and installation, but the advantages typically outweigh the upfront cost.
Advantages of Structured Cabling:
- Increased Bandwidth – permits faster connectivity to numerous devices
- Centralized Control – allows quick assessments of issues and adjustments to the network
- Organized Infrastructure – allows easier handling of all voice, data, and video needs of the business
- Scalable Network –adapts to growing needs and easy addition of new devices
- Aesthetic Appearance – streamlined wires to avoid cluttered and unsafe wiring
If structured cabling is right for your business, you then must assess the correct time to make the switch. One of the few drawbacks to structured cabling is the lengthy installation time. A business needs to carefully plan the best time to undergo the installation.
Best Times to Install a Cabling System:
- When you are planning on relocating
- If you have time for a little downtime in connectivity
- When you have a short break on the work calendar (holidays or scheduled shut-downs)
- If your current system needs repairs or replacements
- When you are experiencing problems with your current system
- If you are planning for growth in number of employees, number of devices, or size of facility
The infrastructure needs of businesses are always evolving. Some businesses are better off with a wireless solution, whereas some businesses benefit more from structured cabling. In either event, businesses should plan accordingly to determine which option best benefits them. If you have any questions regarding what solution would best help you, please contact Advanced Communication Systems today at 800-750-3624. You can also follow us on Facebook.
Switching your office from a traditional telephone system over to voice-over-IP (VoIP) or a Hosted PBX can be very beneficial. But before you jump at the opportunity to update your communication system, you must first take several factors into consideration.
How much Bandwidth is Required?
For starters, bandwidth is the term used to describe the amount of information your Internet connection can send and receive over a period of time, normally measured in kbps or kilobits per second. VoIP requires a certain amount of bandwidth to keep your conversations clear and free of disruptions. But exactly how much bandwidth you will need? This is the first step in determining if your office is compatible with VoIP technology.
- Use an online speed test to determine your maximum upload and download stream. We recommend using a fixed connection instead of your wifi connection in order to achieve more accurate results. And to get the best understanding of your Internet connection, you should conduct this test several times throughout the day. You will need to have a high speed (broadband) connection to use voice-over-IP.
- How many people in the office will be using the phone at the same time? For example, ten people would require ten times as much bandwidth.
- Ask your voice-over-IP service provider what audio codecs they offer. Full Quality Audio (G711 Codec) uses 87 kbps for each concurrent phone call (NEB) while Compressed Audio (G729 Codec) uses 33 kbps for each concurrent phone call (NEB). So, based on a typical DSL connection (600 kbps upload / 5000 kbps download), Full Quality: 600 kbps / 87 kbps = 6 concurrent calls, while Compressed Quality: 600 kbps / 33 kbps = 18 concurrent calls.
What Type of Router will you use?
An often overlooked piece of equipment, your router connects your computer and network equipment to the Internet. And guess what? Your router can have a major impact on your VoIP implementation. Your router should be powerful enough to flawlessly handle your office’s call volume. Factors to consider when choosing your router include:
- Number of Phones: The more phones you have connected, the more powerful your router will need to be.
- Dedicated Internet Connection: If you do not have a dedicated connection for your VoIP, you will need a router with a quality of service (QoS) setting. This will allow the router to prioritize voice traffic over regular Internet traffic.
- Additional Functions: Will your router also handle additional functions?
- Router to Modem Bridge: Routers that are not bridged can cause problems with voice-over-IP installations.
- Too Many Routers: Too much of a good thing is actually a bad thing. Never use more than one router or nat gateway on the network at a time as this will cause problems for IP Telephones when they attempt to do NAT.
Additional Factors to Consider
- Is your office equipped with a good battery backup to protect against power failures?
- Will voice traffic be separated from regular internet users or if it will share the same network?
- What type of VoIP equipment will you use?
If you have any questions about VoIP, please contact Advanced Communication Solutions by calling 1-800-750-3624 or visit BuyTelephoneSystem.com today!
ACS offers solutions and services that help you leverage the value of your business’s communications investment. From traditional voice to Voice over IP (VoIP), ACS gives you more options for voice and communication technology and solutions than any other provider.
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