Voice Over the Internet Protocol, or VoIP connections, are an amazing invention. It uses a signaling protocol known as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to maintain a real-time voice-to-voice stream.
The fact that you can make phone calls to anywhere in the world so long as that person has an internet connection has transformed businesses.
No longer do companies need to worry about the cost of international calls or trying to link up with colleagues or clients abroad using a satellite phone.
Instead, you just open up your computer or company mobile phone and you are sorted. There is also the option for companies to have existing company phones connected to the internet rather than a phone line. However, deciding what internet speed you need to have for this global telephone system to become a reality can be tricky.
Here is how you determine what internet speeds you need for a smooth running VOIP service.
Bandwidth is Key
Are your employees the kinds of workers who have a million tabs open at once as they work? On their lunch breaks do they also use their iPads to watch Netflix or You-Tube? Perhaps you also allow your employees to stream music over Spotify whilst they work, recognizing its capacity to help workers’ with ADD stay focused.
If this is the case then at some point you’ve probably noticed your internet start to slow down. With so much streaming, the WiFi can come under pressure unless you’ve got a top-of-the-range connection.
In the future, this might not be a problem as the U.S government prepares to roll out superfast 5G connections. However, for now, WiFi is king.
Internet speed is also known as bandwidth and it is this which is the key to creating a good VoIP service. A really bad connection can lead to long delays in the calls, the calls freezing, and even the calls cutting out altogether.
How is Bandwidth Measured?
Bandwidth is measured in kilobytes per second (kbps) or megabytes per second (MBps).
Most calls require around 64kbps of bandwidth and you can make around 12 calls concurrently using 1mbps of bandwidth and to be able to hold 120 calls at the same time you’d need 10Mbps of bandwidth.
This can be compared to the average hourly bandwidth of video games like Fortnite which use 70MB and World of Warcraft which takes up 40MB per hour.
Standard definition Netflix uses 1,000 MB in an hour and the high definition version uses 3,000 MB in an hour.
But there is something very important to note about bandwidth which is that the, for example, 1Mbps of bandwidth that you would use to make 12 VoIP calls covers just those calls.
You would need more bandwidth on top of this to account for the data that other users in the company or floor are taking up on their everyday computing. Unless of course, you are going to suggest that everybody not making a call turn off all their internet-connected devices.
Too Much Traffic
When most people conceptualize the internet they think of a big mass of stuff, a fluffy ball, full of billions and billions of pages of data. But that would suggest it is not organized. A better way of thinking about the internet is as a highway.
All of those pieces of information – webpages, videos, and your VoIP calls – are all constantly in-transit. They are trying to get from one computer to another in record time.
The problem with this is that traffic jams can and do occur. In this situation, speed (bandwidth) is not the only factor required to make for an internet connection strong enough to make VoIP calls.
A good internet service provider (ISP) can determine Busy Hour Traffic (BHT), the busy signal Grade of Service (GoS) using complicated calculations. Whilst these calculations are quite technical, a non-computer specialist can determine both bandwidth and the amount of traffic that the connection is currently facing, relatively simply.
There are basic websites like internet health and fast which can help measure the speed and quality of your current connection and how that compares with any upgrades you might consider.
There are guidelines on how to ensure your network is SIP ready.
Should You Ditch Your Landlines?
This is a crucial question if you are considering moving to a fully VoIP phone system and it is one which will require some serious thought.
In time, landlines will become as obsolete as video-recorders but they do offer a reliable service when the internet connection fails. Because the internet does fail even when you have invested in a quality connection and have your own on-site IT specialists.
Landlines also don’t require a computer to run off a completely different system. This can be helpful if the computer system goes down. But the quality of the call can sometimes vary.
Furthermore, a landline phone system does not have the power to make video calls or to send pictures and can be more expensive to run.
It may be wise therefore to consider having some basic landlines telephones installed. Perhaps these can be at the back of the office or in the reception to supplement any VoIP system.
VoIP Connections Are the Future
There are many inventions that have changed the world: the car, the phone, and the television. But the internet is surely the greatest of them all. This is because it is providing new opportunities for those inventions to be improved and reinvented.
VoIP connections allow for a revolution of the telephone as we know it and this can transform the way companies do business. No longer do they have to spend time and money on phone services and a specialist provider. Now with a high speed, high-quality internet you can run your entire communications system from one service that can connect to anywhere in the world.
Be sure to click here to see our competitive pricing structures for setting up a VoIP through our dedicated SIP system.