VoIP or Voice-over-IP has replaced telephone “land-lines” in many businesses today due to ease of use, added features, and lowered costs. Yet many things can cause call quality to degrade that are not well understood.
First of all, VoIP requires a good quality Internet connection – an asymmetric DSL connection to a small business, which is common, is usually not enough to run multiple phone lines without having some quality issues in the slower direction. A T1 line, symmetrical business quality DSL, or higher speed cable modem is best for overall voice quality.
Secondly, VoIP connections can suffer call quality issues if there is no QoS or “Quality of Service” priority scheme built into the networking equipment used. If voice is not prioritized over data, someone downloading a huge file in the next room or playing YouTube videos can cause a call to become very degraded or even dropped.
When choosing an Internet service provider, be sure to tell them that you plan to operate VoIP so that they give you a service that is designed for voice – otherwise, you may have issues such as packet loss that can also create gaps in the speech that you hear.
Choosing good VoIP phones is also critical to good quality and service, as well-designed phones have many features designed to make the overall VoIP experience as close to land line quality as possible. A good phone will have a good quality echo cancellation algorithm built into the chipset used, and will have a well designed headset with additional noise reduction features. Cisco, Avaya, Nortel, and Shoretel all have superior products used by many businesses today. Analog telephone adapter technology has also come a long way in the past several years – which means you can have a VoIP system using your old phones by simply buying boxes from Dlink, Linksys/Cisco or any number of other vendors and simply plugging them in.
A solid infrastructure built using at least cat5 Ethernet cabling is also a prerequisite for any business-class VoIP deployment. If your infrastructure is not solid, or cabling is not run properly, high levels of interference or packet loss can cause your calls to be spotty or even inaudible.
The right structured cabling installers will be more than happy to do a detailed analysis of your network infrastructure and make cost effective yet useful recommendations for enhancements that will help keep your new VoIP system running efficiently. Why not call them today?
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