Small businesses looking for a way to cut costs will find that hosted VoIP solutions provide an excellent way of improving their bottom line. However, not all internal networks are compliant with modern VoIP solutions. To ensure that a business can take advantage of today’s VoIP technology and fully enjoy the variety of benefits it provides, VoIP service providers suggest a thorough vetting process of network infrastructure before switching to a hosted VoIP product.
Here are several things to keep in mind when inspecting your system for hosted VoIP system capability.
- Bandwidth: Every data network will have a speed with which data is transferred. Hosted VoIP products like Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere require an allocation of 80 – 100 KBPS of bandwidth per active phone. This number is in addition to the regular bandwidth use for email, messaging and Web surfing. It is important to know what your network bandwidth is to ensure uninterrupted service and prevent lost signals or data.
- Packet Loss and Jitter: When voice data travels through the network, it is compressed into packets. If these packets are degraded or lost, the quality of the transmission – the voice you hear on the other side – is degraded. The higher the traffic, the more likely that some bits of data will fail to reach their destination. Usually, a packet loss of 0.1 percent is acceptable, but any higher rates need to be addressed by your system administrator. Jitter is the delay between the arrivals of these packets. Too much jitter and voice quality suffers.
- Latency: The length of time between a person speaking into a phone handset and that message reaching the ear of the listener is called Latency. Although some delay is understandable, delays higher than 50 milliseconds reduce voice quality, making the speaker sound garbled and unclear.
Low bandwidth coupled with high packet loss, jitter and latency will degrade a hosted VoIP network, rendering it unusable. To prevent this, popular VoIP service providers offer comprehensive VoIP Tests to help gauge system capability of their users’ networks and provide recommendations to optimize their system to better handle hosted VoIP services. Although most business networks are able to handle hosted VoIP, savvy small business owners are encouraged to confirm their system capacity ahead of adoption to ensure uninterrupted data flow and high-quality voice service.