I’ll admit it. The term “Software Defined” or “SD” is as big a buzz phrase as “The Cloud.” I’m not a huge fan of buzz nomenclature, but sometimes it is the best way to describe a concept in a familiar way, especially when discussing technology. If I were playing devil’s advocate, I’d ask: Isn’t everything software defined? Yes, mostly it is, but when you say SD, or SDN (software defined networking), you imply a new iteration of conventional thinking. A new way of doing things, a more flexible, better way.
No longer are we bound to the holy gospel of Cisco, or dedicated internet circuits. We can do things with more intelligent, dynamic, and overall thoughtful methods. Gone will be the days of individually configuring routers and switches because they will all be centrally managed and monitored. Yes, Cisco already participates in SDN, but I’d argue that it’s not always affordable for the average SMB.

Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) is a concept of centrally connecting and managing multiple sites or branches using a variety of internet connections. For example: DOCSIS (cable modem), 3G/4G, or line of sight wireless. The internet is to reduce dependency on technologies like multi-protocol label switching, which traditionally required leased lines from the same provider. If you’ve had to purchase one, you know that leased/dedicated lines are expensive. You can use SD-WAN to augment an existing MPLS connection or discard it all together which will generate significant savings for your business.

SD-WAN (also referred to as vMPLS) is a feature on services like SimpleWan and can be utilized on their cloud based controller. When you purchase a firewall from them and a subscription to their service, you achieve a single sight picture of your entire network regardless of how many branches you have. Also, I’d like to re-emphasize that SimpleWan, and subsequently SD-WAN is carrier agnostic. So, it does not matter if you have multiple locations from one end of town to the other, or from New York, to Beijing. As long as the devices can connect to SimpleWan, you have a singular infrastructure with potentially very diverse internet connection methods.

security-imageYou might be thinking: Why not just use VPNs? Well, you are, but with SD-WAN you’re using a variety of technologies that perform the configuration for you, and establish redundant meshed paths that can decide which direction to send traffic based on bandwidth. Like I said before, SD is a new iteration of the conventional.

What does any of this have to do with VoIP? Well, if you’ve read ANYTHING regarding SIP and NAT, you’ve found out they don’t traditionally get along. Leveraging SD-WAN allows you to bypass any NAT traversal increasing your success with two-way audio. A SIP phone is much happier when it can talk to another local IP and the other end. I’d also be remiss in not mentioning that Quality of Service (QoS) in an integral part of SD-WAN which can prioritize voice and video applications.

Give SD-WAN (from SimpleWan) a chance if you’re considering cutting the cord from your expensive MPLS circuits. As always, thanks for reading and happy VoIPing!

network“Hello…? I am sorry, could you say that again?” We’ve all had the experience – having trouble hearing each other over a phone call. Nothing is worse than asking your important client who you are able to close a huge deal with to repeat himself/herself again after you have asked twice.

So how can you avoid that embarrassing moment? While call quality is affected by multiple factors, bandwidth is one of the most important elements to look at. In order to have excellent call quality, you must have adequate network bandwidth. Let’s learn how to calculate the network bandwidth you will need to ensure an interruption-free communication experience!

How to Calculate Network Bandwidth

Here’s a simple equation to estimate how much bandwidth is sufficient for your VoIP. Be aware of 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)

service-guide-imageEx: 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.

For those of you who want to have a more precise calculation, you can ask your potential VoIP service provider how large their voice packets are, then multiply that number by how many simultaneous calls you will be making to see how much bandwidth your VoIP calls will use.

(More Precise) Required Bandwidth = The Number of Concurrent Calls X The Size of your Voice Packets (Kbps, kilobits per second)

It’s just that simple. If you still have questions feel free to download our VoIP service guide or just call our VoIP experts at 1-800-398-8647. We will be thrilled to answer your questions for you!


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 voipexperts@voipsupply.com. We are here to help and will assist you with anything you need for VoIP.