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Problems you might face with VoIP and how to deal with them

Updated on July 21, 2011

Evolution of VoIP Reliability

VoIP has come quite far since the early days when it was viewed as a technology which was a very poor substitute for regular telephone calls. In the time of slow dial up and constant disconnections, no one would ever have thought that VoIP would soon come to rival the telecom companies and cause them to shiver in their boots. But that time has arrived and a majority of businesses now incorporate VoIP in their communication infrastructure in some form or the other.

However, VoIP requires careful management in order to work effectively. Fast speeds don't mean unlimited speeds and there's still a danger of not having enough bandwidth - especially if you have a lot of employees talking at the same time. Normal telephones use circuit switching technology which dedicates a line between two callers, so it's always clear. But it's also wasteful and expensive since most of the time spent on a call is silence. VoIP however uses packet switching which means that no matter how many people are using the Internet connection, VoIP will find a way to route packets through. This can sometimes lead to excessive clogging of the lines especially when other traffic is also traversing the pipes.

VoIP Network Management
VoIP Network Management

Traffic Management and Mobile VoIP

VoIP can become unreliable when there isn't enough bandwidth for it to accommodate everyone. This might lead to jitter, or even dropped calls. The danger is exacerbated when it shares the same network as the regular Internet connection. This means that if one person uses up the network for say, downloading a large file, then during that time there might not be any bandwidth at all for VoIP calls. This is the reason VoIP needs to be separated from regular traffic using Virtual LANs or VLANs. The physical network is the same, but the routers create a distinct network for each type of traffic to ensure that one doesn't swamp the other. This is true regardless of whether your VoIP plan is in house or hosted. A reliable hosted PBX can manage things at their end, but the customer's system needs to be in place as well.

Mobile calls is another area where VoIP quality can still be weak.This is because wireless data plans aren't up to the mark in terms of reliability and connectivity. 4G might change all that but we don't know how it's going to be implemented. The best bet for wireless VoIP so far remains wifi.

You can relieve yourself of the extra burden of setting up the VoIP servers etc by switching over to hosted PBX systems.

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