CAN YOUR NETWORK HANDLE VOIP?
VoIP Network Requirements Checklist
Can’t wait to follow the VoIP trend and start enjoying the benefits that VoIP has to offer? Don’t rush! One step back to check and make sure your network is ready before switching to a VoIP system can save you a lot of trouble in the future. Now, ask yourself the following 5 questions to gear up for the new change.
Question 1: Do I Have Enough Bandwidth?
Bandwidth is the amount of data your internet can send and receive during a certain period of time. The required bandwidth varies from the number of users and concurrent calls. The more people on the phone at the same time, the more bandwidth or other network services and applications you may need.
Here’s a simple equation to estimate how much bandwidth is sufficient for your VoIP. Be aware the trade off between the sound quality and the bandwidth you need.
Required Minimum Bandwidth = The Number of Concurrent Calls X 100 Kbps (kilobits per second)
Ex: If you need 5 concurrent calls, you will need at least 5 X 100 Kbps bandwidth to support your calls. Remember to add some buffer to it in case you experience some unexpected busy times.
Question 2: What VoIP Call Quality Can My Network Offer?
Internet connection acts like the heart for VoIP system. Here are some factors that can affect your overall call quality.
- Network Speed: Do a couple online speed tests during different times/ days to have an idea of the maximum upload and download streams you need. You can utilize some free speed test sites such as Bandwidth Place and Testmy.net.
- Latency: A measure of the delay in a call. With round trip latencies above 300 msec or so, you may experience annoying talk-over effects.
- Packet Loss: The amount of conversation you loss during the call. Usually the lower the packet loss percentage is, the better the audio quality will be.
- Jitter: Determine how variable latency is in a network. High jitter, greater than approximately 50 msec, can result in both increased latency and packet loss.
Question 3: What Type of VoIP Phones and Router Do I Use?
To make the best use of your network, you have to make a wise decision on the types of phones and equipment you use. There are different types of VoIP phones available on the market such softphones, hard phones, and wifi phones. You can use your traditional phones along with Analog Telephone Adapters (ATA) to work on VoIP system as well. You will also want to make sure your router/ firewall is VoIP compatible.
Question 4: Do I Have Other Special Requirements?
Thinking thoroughly to cover all the special requirements you might need before you upgrade to VoIP will save you a lot of hassle later on. For example, If you need to connect to remote users or remote sites, you may need to increase the bandwidth and/ or choose the right ATA to extend the connection.
Question 5: Have I Included My Future Plan?
Thinking ahead always helps you succeed and might save you a fortune. Depending on how fast you plan to expand your business, extra investment on the VoIP system may be necessary to keep up your plan. If you don’t have a growth plan yet, start one now!
I Am All Set. What’s Next?
After answering all the questions above, now you know whether your network can handle the VoIP service you want. Once your network is ready, you need to select an ideal unified communication solution that connects everything together and provides you the features you need.
Have more questions to ask? Contact our dedicated VoIP experts today at 1-800-398-VoIP or at [email protected]. We are here to help and will assist you with anything you need for VoIP.