Voice over Internet Protocol requires that certain best practices are set up and managed to ensure voice integrity and functions to work as advertised at your main location and remote branch facilities.
WAN (wide area network) Speed/Bandwidth – bandwidth is the speed of the transfer of voice and data packets between the source and destination of the end connection, and the various points in between.
Business Quality Internet Options (Recommended)
a) MPLS: Private secured network with QoS and SLA. This option can be expensive for smaller companies.
b) T1/DS3/Ethernet/mGRE: Perfect bandwidth and functionality to support VoIP and QoS (Copper and Fiber options available).
Consumer Quality Internet Options (Non-Mission Critical)
- Cable: Depending on speed and ISP, can work well, but generally does NOT support QoS
- DSL: Generally works for 1-2 users maximum, but generally does NOT support QoS
- Wireless: Generally not recommended for VoIP
- Satellite: Not an option for VoIP due to inherent latency of up to 900ms
Important Note: It is certainly ideal for customers to utilize the same network carriers at all sites as their chosen VoIP host provider to reduce network hops. This allows all voice and data packets to traverse only one Internet backbone and not have to interconnect with multiple carrier networks, resulting in reduced latency (delay in packets reaching its destination), jitter (amount of time between delivery of consecutive voice packets) and packet loss (actual dropped voice packets because they don’t arrive within a certain specified time [usually 150ms]). Call quality can never be guaranteed with the use of the public internet without a true MPLS or mGRE encrypted tunnel), due to multiple carriers, hops and network routes using a “best efforts” method. With this said, the ongoing proliferation of “more bandwidth for the dollar” will continue to make this configuration even more reliable and efficient in the future.
Internal Wiring – the deployment of VoIP requires CAT 5/5E/6 wiring that should be installed. If your current wiring infrastructure is more than 5 years old and/or was not originally installed by a professional, it will likely not reliably support VoIP and will be highly susceptible to packet loss and intermittent call quality issues.