Call Quality & Cloud VoIP – What You Need To Know

Jan 2017

Any company considering cloud VoIP should review its own internal network to confirm that it is prepared to route, make and receive high quality calls.  Many companies take what is generously referred to as the “hope and pray” approach and simply deploy UCaaS over their current network configurations without making any assessment of their LAN or internet prior to go-live.  While this works for some, it doesn’t for others, and we recommend taking one of the two following approaches for ensuring that your hosted VoIP deployment goes smoothly.

 

Dedicated Connection

 

Deploy a separate internet connection for VoIP and communications-related data traffic.  This minimizes contention for scare bandwidth resources to ensure that voice traffic gets adequate capacity and that users receive consistent call quality.  With the proliferation of bandwidth nationwide, we see dedicated circuits that are very affordable, and this is only going to become increasingly true.  Dedicated circuits can often be SLA-based and avoid the congestion associated with best efforts “business class” internet connectivity.

 

But running your cloud VoIP traffic over a separate circuit is just one of the options.  And for smaller, more cost-sensitive organizations, the cost of a dedicated connections might not make sense.

 

Quality of Service Tools (QoS)

 

Even where dedicated circuits don’t make sense, businesses should deploy a router that supports voice Quality of Service (QoS) features.  A QoS-enabled router handles voice packets with higher priority, thereby helping to ensure high call quality.

 

A customer network typically has considerable available bandwidth on the customer premise side (Local Area Network, or LAN) of the network, but not as much on the Wide Area Network (WAN), or Internet side of the network.   This is a function of whatever internet package the local service provider is giving the business.  If a router is not able to prioritize VoIP traffic, it will offer bandwidth to any application that requests it.   If there is more demand for bandwidth from the LAN than is available on the WAN, the router will be forced to discard or buffer packets.  While acceptable for data applications, which are not that time-sensitive, this is not acceptable for hosted VoIP where packet loss or delay can degrade call quality.   Because most internet service providers offer high-bandwidth packages, deploying a QoS-enabled router can solve quality needs most of the time, even without a dedicated connection.

 

A Word on Bandwidth

 

For either option, (or for that matter, the “hope and pray” option too) it’s very important to ensure that both upstream and downstream bandwidth are sufficient for the maximum number of simultaneous voice calls that company expects to conduct.  For example, if a site has 20 users, it may expect that no more than 8 or 10 of those users to be on calls at the same time, and whatever internet connection is being used should be able to support that level of activity in both the upstream as well as the downstream directions.   A typical voice call takes just 64Kbps, so conducting 10 simultaneous ones will not take more than 640Kbps.  A video call might take up to 100Kbps, so ensuring good quality for that would require 1,000Kbps.

 

About Altus

 

Altus is the premier choice for cloud-based communications solutions, providing businesses with flexible and secure technologies that help employees and customers stay connected more easily.  Whether looking for basic voice service, comprehensive unified communications, or contact center, business executives trust Altus to deliver the latest features and functionality without costly capital spending programs.  As an FCC-registered service provider, Altus offers enterprise-grade performance across its secure, geo-redundant carrier platform. Start communicating better with Altus.  For more information, visit www.altusuc.com or call toll free 866.922.4001.

 

 

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