Hello?...Hello?...Can you hear me?
Dropped voice calls, echoes and poor quality can be a nuisance.
Voice-over-IP (VoIP) phone systems promise lower costs, scalability, and integration with your email and other solutions. And while this is a very sound and proven solution for voice, this type of phone system must have an optimized network to deliver a quality voice experience.
First of all, let’s review why a VoIP solution is so popular. Compared to the traditional PBX phone systems that rely on proprietary technology and hardware, VoIP systems are hosted in a cloud environment and support a wide variety of desk phones and soft phones. This translates into cost savings and flexibility for companies that have implemented VoIP phone solutions.
Popular VoIP solutions include RingCentral and 8x8 which both have a large install base of users and provide a very reliable platform for voice calls and messaging services. Since VoIP solutions are software-driven, there are more options for integrating into other popular business solutions. Think auto dialing, appointment confirmation, reservations and more.
However, the Achilles hill for these VoIP solutions resides in how the voice traffic communicates across the internal network. Voice traffic comes into the network like all other internet traffic that includes data, video, digital downloads, and security cameras. The key issue is that voice traffic is much more susceptible to latency, which can cause dropped calls and poor-quality phone conversations.
A natural inclination may be to suspect there is not enough internet bandwidth to support VoIP. However, the most likely problem is not insufficient internet bandwidth, but rather congestion on the internal network. So be careful. More internet bandwidth may not be the solution to resolving VoIP quality issues.
When internet data travels into an internal company network, through the router and into the switches, it competes for available internal bandwidth to deliver the content. It’s a first-come, first-serve basis for streaming of video, virtual meetings, data files, downloads, music and voice. This is what is commonly referred to as a flat network.
VoIP voice traffic needs to be prioritized to provide the highest quality and lease disrupted experience. To do so, this is where ‘quality of service’ (QoS) and virtual-local-area-network(VLAN) come in as key solutions for optimizing voice, video, and data network traffic. These features may also require an upgrade of the router and switches, depending on model and age of equipment.
Another potential bottleneck for a VoIP solution is the wireless network (WiFi) depending upon how phones are connected (hardwired or wireless). WiFi networks are susceptible to connection disruptions as well, although mostly due to structural interference or spotty coverage.
The best way to better understand how to remediate VoIP quality issues or other related network performance issues is to have an assessment performed by an IT consultant that specializes in these technologies.
RIATA provides these specialized internal network assessments that will help to identify and resolve VoIP related issues and provide recommendations to remediate. The assessment will include all other internal network components to identify issues with upgrades, warranties and compatibility. This assessment is complimentary for qualified businesses.
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No need to accept dropped calls, echoes or poor voice quality. RIATA can help you understand your needs and provide the guidance to improve the performance and reliability of your VoIP phones.
Contact us to learn more about our assessment process that will help identify and pinpoint those areas of technology that need improvement. Your customers, clients and patients will be very glad you did.
About the Author: Tommy Wald is CEO of RIATA Technologies, a full-service IT provider located in Austin, TX. He can be reached at TWald@RiataTechnologies.com.