Digital West Blog

VoIP and Hosted Phone Systems:  What Determines Voice Quality?

Posted by Meg McCall on 6/1/17 4:41 PM

VoIP and Hosted Phone QualityHosted phone systems, also referred to Voice Over IP (VoIP), IP telephony, voice over broadband or cloud phones, have gotten a bad rap over the years and often for good reason. Lost packets, jitter and latency aren’t some strange condition related to coffee-drinking, they are culprits that affect voice quality in VoIP conversations. Businesses have come to expect the outstanding call quality of landlines and are sometimes hesitant to transition to a cloud phone system, despite the cost savings, ease of programming and elimination of onsite service calls.

FACTORS THAT DEGRADE HOSTED PHONE VOICE QUALITY

Bandwidth – Speed is generally the top factor driving whether conversations are spotty. If you have two dozen employees making concurrent phone calls, 5/2 Mbps isn’t going to cut it. Without adequate 

bandwidth, voice and other data packets compete for position in the transmission “pipe” creating jitter which is a variation in packet transit that results in poor or scrambled audio.   

Network Configuration – The configuration of your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) network plays as much of a role, if not more, in voice quality than bandwidth. Is your hosted phone system using the same public Internet as all the other big telecom customers, or is it a private network engineered to give preference to voice traffic over all other kinds of traffic?  At Digital West, we configure our routers to prioritize your voice data over lower-priority web surfing-type data, such as emails, file downloads or videos. This reduces call latency which is the time it takes for sound to travel from one caller to another.

If you have tried and experienced poor VoIP quality in the past, providers like Vonage, 8x8 or RingCentral probably encouraged you to increase your bandwidth so the “pipe” has more room to process voice data. That’s because their networks don’t prioritize voice data over other types of large data files, which can disrupt voice quality.  At Digital West, you won’t have that problem because of the way we configure and manage our networks. 

Equipment - Generally speaking, the better the hardware and configuration, the better the results.  Routers, switches and firewalls must all be effectively programmed to deliver a good audio experience.  Selecting the correct compression technologies, echo cancellation and security protocols, not to mention having a top-notch team of engineers to support these systems, also contributes to voice quality.

Bottom line? An on-network connection like the one Digital West delivers a far superior VoIP experience than providers who use the public Internet. To learn more, visit Digital West Voice Services.

Topics: Cloud Computing, Voice Services