VoIP stands for voice over internet protocol. This is a term used for making voice calls over the internet. It works by converting voice to digital packages and sending them out over the internet like any other data, such as emails. The destination of a VoIP call could be another VoIP user, a landline or even a mobile. In the case of a landline or a mobile, the VoIP call is ‘converted’ along the way and so ends up as a ‘traditional’ phone call.
Employing VoIP can mean cheaper calls and negates the need for traditional phone lines and PBX systems. However, if not done right, you may find you have problems:
- Jitter or scramble audio may occur when data packets arrive in the wrong order
- Latency is like an echo, or delay, in the voice packets reaching the listener
- Call dropping due to poor internet connection
- Clash of voice and data due to wrong configuration of the network
There are a number of things you need to take into consideration before switching to VoIP
- Anyone can claim to be a VoIP provider, so research them well
- The provider should have a strong track record and secure servers. They will supply you with a good codec and a QoS for your router. This will partition the calls to make sure that voice and data never clash
- Take in to consideration your broadband speed. Bearing in mind that download speeds are generally quicker, minimum upload time should be 128Kbps. It’s possible to have fast download time but slow ping time i.e. the time it takes for the smallest data packet to travel between the computer and the internet. A good ATA phone adaptor plugged in to the Ethernet router and then into the phone should help with this. A high quality router will also help with any latency problems and a jitter buffer can help to sort the data packets
VoIp, when set up correctly, shouldn’t cause you any problems. Your provider should always be on hand to offer advice and support. Consider what the cost would be to you to have phone lines that don’t work correctly. If you can’t afford to be without your lines of communication, it’s worth making sure that you choose your telephone provider with great care.