If you are still using traditional telephony for your business’s communication needs, then you are missing out – big time! When you use VoIP, not only do you save a huge amount of money, but you also get increased efficiency, efficacy, and usability among other benefits. However, before you switch to VoIP, you need to know whether your connection is reliable enough to support VoIP without causing any performance nightmares. At the end of the day, no matter how good your VoIP hardware and software might be, the call quality will be contingent on the speed, bandwidth, and reliability of your internet connection. In this article, we will talk about some of the factors you need to check and also some of the best online tools that you can use to check connection reliability.
The Most Important Information To Gather About Your VoIP
1. Upload And Download Speeds
Depending on your internet service provider’s network and/or your internet connection, and/or your LAN, the bandwidth speeds of your connection can differ. Verify that the speeds your internet service provider is advertising, and the ones that you are actually getting, match. If they don’t, you might have to contact the ISP’s support staff or change your provider. Ideally, speeds of over 3 Mbps are good enough to support a VoIP system.
In the realm of VoIP, latency is the time it takes for the voice to reach the ears of the receiver after leaving the mouth of the sender. If the latency exceeds its normal values (it should ideally be under 150ms), then it’s classified as delay. When latency values start exceeding 150ms, that’s when the delay stops being negligible. Most of the time, some network tuning can help in fixing latency related issues.
Voice is converted into digital information in order for it to travel over IP. The information is broken down into small packets for easier transit. The sequence and integrity of these packets has to be maintained when they reach the receiving end, so that they can be reassembled as useful data. However, at times, due to jitter, these voice packets are received with differing delays, which leads to poor call quality. Jitters can be minimized by implementing quality of service within the VoIP network or by making sure that your network devices don’t have to handle more traffic than their capacity. Ideally, jitter values should be under 10ms.
Introducing the Best VoIP Connection Reliability Tools
Testing your network for VoIP readiness is incredibly important but it’s also pretty easy. There are plenty of reliable tools available online that can help you get a vivid idea of how good your internet connection will be for VoIP. Here’s the best of the lot:
1. BULLSEYE Telecom
BULLSEYE telecom tops the list for good reasons. Their VoIP readiness test comes in two types: one is java-based while the other is not. All you have to do is click the “Start test” button and within a few moments of processing, the performance statistics for your connection will be displayed. You can also run a remote agent to get an idea of some more benchmarks. If you need any further help with the test or have any query, you can also contact the support team.
2. 8×8 VoIP test:
The VoIP test by 8×8 communication cloud is also a very handy tool to measure the performance of your potential VoIP connection. When you start the test, the utility opens a communication channel (via sockets) to your browser and sends dummy VoIP traffic to your device. The quality and performance of the data transit between the website’s servers and your device is measured once you select the test length, codec and number of VoIP lines. Note that the test doesn’t run on Google Chrome (version 42 and onwards). 8×8 recommends using Firefox to run the test.
StarTrinity’s VoIP readiness tool has the most number of inputs for the test that can help you in getting a good technical overview of your network’s reliability for VoIP. You can set measurement intervals, codecs, maximum measurement durations, number of channels, jitter values and choose the server with which you want your computer to interact during the test. They also have a complete manual that can help you during the testing process.
4. Freeola broadband speed test:
Freeola has a speed test along with a line quality test that can help users get a clear idea of how good their internet connection will turn out to be, should they switch to VoIP. For both the tests, all you have to do is click the start button and within moments, the results are shared with you. The line test reveals values for packet loss, jitter and latency for simulated VoIP traffic between your device and test servers.
Speedtest has desktop applications for both Windows and Mac operating systems that help you get a detailed overview of your network connection’s speed and reliability. The upload/download speeds, ping, packet loss percentages, latency, and jitter values can be determined with ease. Graphical illustrations show how consistent your network is and you can verify whether your ISP’s advertised speed is actually getting delivered or not as well.
6. ZDNet Broadband speed test:
The broadband speed test by ZDNet also makes the list for the best connection reliability tools. All you have to do is select your location, enter your postal code and choose your collection type to see the visually displayed results. You will also be able to compare your speed to that of other users from around the area.
The Final Word
While switching to VoIP can end up being one of the most financially sound decisions you ever make for your business, it’s imperative that you evaluate your connection before making the switch. Only when you know that your bandwidth is substantial, the jitter values are negligible and the latency of your network is minimal, should you get a VoIP system set up.
However, if you have already tested your connection and want a reliable VoIP service provider to set things up for you; then here’s the top 5 providers you can choose from.