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Which Wireless Standard is Best for Mobile VoIP Calls?

Updated on April 30, 2013
Choosing a VoIP Wireless Network
Choosing a VoIP Wireless Network | Source

Mobile Internet Connections

VoIP is a real-time Internet protocol. Unlike other web-based applications, there is very little tolerance for latency, lag, or jitter. When you load a webpage, you can afford to wait a few seconds for it to complete. Moreover, different parts of the page can load a different times. The end-user experience is not impacted if the images are loaded a bit after the text. In fact, it is desired because you can start reading the page quickly. In other words, the order of loading doesn't matter as much. For obvious reasons, VoIP cannot follow the same pattern. Speech has to be delivered to the end-user in exactly the same way in which it was created. Also, there is a threshold of delay after which it becomes extremely difficult to talk to the other person. For these reasons, the quality of your Internet connection is far more critical when it comes to a sensitive application like VoIP.

It's not that VoIP requires a lot of bandwidth. Quite the contrary. Depending on the specific codec you use, you will use up only a fraction of the total available Internet bandwidth for a single VoIP call. But mobile networks are notoriously laggy and unreliable. This might be changing with new mobile technologies such as 4G, but it's perhaps still too soon to tell.

Choosing a Mobile Wireless Standard

In general, there are two types of wireless networks you can use with a mobile device running VoIP. The Wi-Fi network, or the wireless data network. The two are very different and which one you use will depend to a great extent on your location. It is generally understood that all things being equal, Wi-Fi is far more effective for VoIP. For one, it's almost always free either in your house or in your place of work. Since it's cheap to set up, it is ubiquitous everywhere. Second, since they are usually based off of wired ethernet Internet connections, they are fast and reliable. In this aspect, they have more in common with their wired counterparts.

On the other hand, the traditional wireless data networks are available in places where Wi-Fi is not. Wi-Fi has an extremely limited range and so if you're in a vehicle or in any place outside an established environment, you have no choice but to use the data network provided by the wireless carriers. Contact your hosted PBX VoIP provider to find out whether there are any special considerations you should be aware of. There are many SIP PBX providers to choose from and you can easily find one that fits your needs.

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