The main difference between Voice over IP and POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service; your typical desk phones) is the fact that Voice over IP runs all of its connections through Internet lines. NOT phone lines.
Sometimes people forget this. So we remind them during initial meetings. You”ll need a high-speed line for good-quality VoIP conversations.
When we say this, their thoughts often switch to the most immediate Internet line solution: consumer broadband connections. Like through Comcast or AT&T.
“That”ll work for VoIP phones, right?”
Why Consumer-Grade Broadband Chokes VoIP
Most consumer broadband packages are measured in up/down speeds. Say 3MBps down/512Kbps up, for example. That stands for 3 megabits-per-second download, half a megabit-per-second upload. This is part of the problem. Phone conversations are two-way. People talking, people listening. If both upload and download speeds aren”t at least close? The conversation breaks up all over the place.
The major reason this occurs comes from VoIP”s underlying technology. Voice over IP works by packet-switched telephony – digitizing your voice and sending it in separate packets through the Internet. Each packet takes its own route to the destination, where they”re reassembled back into voice.
Some people consider this a detriment to VoIP use. It isn”t really; the voice speed is comparable, and you gain other advantages from VoIP. Still, the speed needed for proper packet switching in a business environment can”t be found in DSL or basic cable. If you tried it, conversations will resemble traffic at rush hour with all its stops and starts.
Leave consumer-level broadband to Skype. If you run a business, you need a business-grade Internet line to handle VoIP.
What Kind of Internet Line is Needed for Business VoIP
For your standard office of 20 people or so, you”ll want a dedicated T1 line. Go higher – a couple T1s,a T3 or OC3 – if you”re dealing with multiple office locations and lots of employees.
P.S. – Don”t forget about SIP. SIP trunking connects your VoIP phones to the main POTS telephone network. Bridging the gap between packet switching and regular phone circuits. A good explanation of SIP trunking can be found at Siptrunk.org.
Which ISPs do you use/recommend for VoIP? Drop us a comment and let us know.