It’s a dilemma. VoIP would clearly bring some advantages to your business; the Internet is full of supplier blogs acclaiming its benefits – call costs, remote working and better voicemail to name a few. Your home Internet gives you movies, gaming…even Skype.
When to move your business to VoIP, though; that’s the puzzle. Would VoIP demand a high bandwidth line with guaranteed quality? Would the line cost outweigh the call cost reduction? Would the flexibility really improve efficiency or might it turn into a technology wish list: video-conference, work at home and more.
Here we take a look at one of those questions – how to measure your current Internet connection and assess whether it’s fast enough for VoIP.
Ofcom has published a voluntary code of practice for ISPs, requiring them to publish minimum, rather than “up to”, line speeds.
Even so, most ISPs still advertise their lines based on download speed, leaving the upload speed buried in the small print. Because VoIP calls are two-way, the upload speed is just as important as the download.
How many phones and competing traffic
When sizing a business Internet connection, it’s essential to consider the total traffic. Obviously not all staff will be on the phone at the same time, so you will need to estimate the number of concurrent calls. Also factor in the other traffic such as emails, file-sharing sites such as Dropbox and any cloud-based applications for payroll, for example. You can measure these today by checking the throughput on your router and averaging it out.
Use a reputable Internet speed-testing site, such as https://broadbandtest.which.co.uk/ to find the latency (the response time for each packet), download and upload speeds. Run the check several times, at different times of day, to get an accurate picture.
Rules of thumb
An international VoIP wholesale provider, such as https://www.idtexpress.com/blog/2018/02/27/expect-international-voip-wholesale-provider/ will advise on recommended line speeds. As a preliminary guide, assume each call will require a minimum of 90 to 156 kbps. Allowing 100 kbps of upload bandwidth should give acceptable quality.
As well as checking your line speed, get an estimate of the cost of upgrading to a service with a Minimum Guaranteed Access Line speed (MGAL). Include time in your implementation plan to trial the VoIP service before switching over.