ClarityTel Industry Insights

Bandwidth and VoIP


Here are a few things to consider with regards to bandwidth when thinking about implementing VoIP for your business.

Most business owners think that having the fastest internet speed from their ISP is the only thing that you need when preparing for VoIP implementation. This is a misconception and would be very wrong. 

An average business phone call under VoIP will generally require 85 Kbps of bandwidth. Typically, most VoIP providers will recommend 100kbps of stable upload speed per line depending on the CODEC they are running. This is not a lot of bandwidth but most ISP’s sell internet based on a higher download speed and a smaller upload speed so you may want to check with your ISP as to what speed you are paying for. There are some key things to look at before you make the leap. 

First, think how well the connectivity is you are currently getting from your internet provider. Do you have frequent random outages? Do you notice that your internet connection slows down during certain times of day? If the answer is yes, VoIP may not be the right thing for you at this time until these issues can be addressed. Connectivity is key and if you do not have a solid internet connection, you may want to save yourself some frustration. VoIP is only as good as your internet connection. 

The quality of the bandwidth is also key, and you are going to want to run a VoIP speed test. This is different than the speed test you are given by your ISP. The VoIP speed test is not only going to give you your upload and download speeds but also check the QoS (quality of service) as well as the RTT (round trip time) and Latency. To be safe, your internet connection needs to support at least 100kbps up and down with a QoS of better than 80%, an average RTT of less than 120ms and a max latency score of less than 200ms to support a high-quality VoIP call. 

What is QoS?

Quality of service (QoS) refers to any technology that manages data traffic to reduce packet loss, latency and jitter on a network. Usually, QoS is included in the service-level agreement with your ISP provider to guarantee a certain level of network performance.

What is RTT?

Round Trip Time (RTT) is the measure of how long it takes for a small packet to travel across the network and for an acknowledgment of that packet to be returned. RTT is an important metric in determining the health of a connection on a local network and is commonly utilized by network administrators to diagnose the speed and reliability of network connections.

What is Latency? 

Latency is sometimes called lag and is the term used to describe delays in communication over a network. This is caused when packets of voice data take more time than expected to reach their destination. This can cause some disruption in voice quality. This is a common cause of echoing and choppy calls. Latency can be measured in one or both directions and is measured in terms of milliseconds

Please note, bandwidth requirements get more complicated when additional wireless devices are also factored into the picture along with regular operations. VoIP phone lines themselves don’t really take up much bandwidth as stated earlier, but when there are concurrent calls or other wireless devices being used at the same time, call quality can be significantly impacted.

The more devices which there are competing for bandwidth, the more likely it is that the connections can become strained, and this can lead to a bottleneck being formed which can reduce call quality. All these situations can easily be avoided by consulting with your VoIP provider or IT professional to identifying the optimal VoIP configuration as well as Internet requirements for your business needs.

There are also some other factors that may give the appearance that your internet connection is sub-par even though it has nothing to do with the connection. Outdated routers, cable modems, and firewalls can cause issues with voice quality. Keeping firmware updated in your network appliances can make a huge difference. 

To ensure a smooth transition, get your IT company involved with your new VoIP provider to make sure that all bases are covered. The more information your VoIP provider has ahead of time the easier it is to find potential problems prior to implementation. 

About ClarityTel

Since 2003 ClarityTel has been a leader in providing VoIP business phone service. ClarityTel specializes in providing Hosted Cloud Phone Service, On-Site VoIP Systems, SIP Trunks, HIPAA Compliant Fax Services, Voicemail Services, Live Answering Services and more. 

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