Tag Archives: voip service

How Much Bandwidth Do I Need for VOIP?

by Joel Maloff

iStock_000005944404SmallAs businesses and home users set aside traditional analog phone services, replacing them with Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), one of the challenges becomes allocating the right amount of bandwidth to your Internet phone service.

How much of your current bandwidth is needed for high-quality voice calls? This is a question we are asked every day by our customers.

Start by asking yourself a few questions:

  • What is the actual data upload and download speed that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) delivers?
  • What other services and applications on your network consume a portion of that available bandwidth?
  • Are there Quality of Service (QoS) settings that you can tweak to optimize your network for VoIP?

Minimum and Recommended Bandwidth for VOIP Service

The bandwidth that our VOIP phone service requires depends on the number of concurrent calls you want to make. The table below shows the minimum bandwidth required to make calls from a Phone.com account, as well as recommended speeds for optimal performance.

Number of Concurrent Calls Minimum Required Bandwidth Recommended speed
1 100 Kbps Up and Down 3 MBps Up and Down
3 300 Kbps Up and Down 3 MBps Up and Down
5 500 Kbps Up and Down 5 MBps Up and Down
10 1 MBps Up and Down 5-10 MBps Up and Down

How Does VOIP Use My Bandwidth?

The answer is simple and complex. VoIP services use a variety of codecs to compress and decompress voice data, allowing it to travel over the Internet efficiently. Phone.com uses codecs that require approximately 100 kilobits per second (kbps) traveling up from your phone line and down to your phone line per second for each call. So if you have three people, all on calls at the same time, the minimum requirement is 300 kbps up and 300 kbps down.

In addition, since the Internet “pipe” into your home or business is being used for other functions too—web browsing, sending and receiving email, file transfers, web-based office services, point-of-sale systems, and so on—there are numerous candidates contending for bandwidth.

How to Determine Your Functional Bandwidth

It helps to know how much bandwidth you really have. However, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will probably only confirm what you signed up for, also known as the advertised “up to” value, as in “up to 50 Mbps” or “up to 150 Mbps.”

The best way to determine your bandwidth, is to run a throughput test using a site like www.speedtest.net. This will give you a snapshot of your current functional bandwidth, but it is important to note that this metric can vary depending on how much bandwidth all of the different applications you are using require at any given point in time. This test also provides variable results depending on the location used for testing.

Keep in mind that your upload speed is usually slower than your download speed, so you need to make sure that the lower number of the upload speed matches what you need. Since most service providers do not guarantee sustained bandwidth besides the up-to value, we recommend adding a 5x to 10x safety margin when estimating bandwidth.

Calculating the Bandwidth You Need

If you know that your ISP can sustain a certain speed, simply multiply the number of expected concurrent calls by 100 kbps. If you deal with an “up to” ISP, a good solution would be to add the safety margin mentioned above so that you can sustain the required bandwidth, even when your Internet service falters.

For example, 10 concurrent users would require 1 Mbps (10 X 100 kbps x safety margin), which means you would be smart to allow for 5 to 10 Mbps both up and down. Depending on the other services and applications using your Internet connection and on the capabilities of your router, 3 to 5 Mbps may be sufficient, or you may need to increase your bandwidth. This must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, as each organization is different.

Optimizing Your Quality of Service

High-quality voice calls are the norm today but consistent quality does require some effort. One way to evaluate your VoIP capacity is using the Phone.com VOIP test (works best on Safari and Firefox). This tool lets you evaluate your network performance by simulating one, three, five or ten concurrent calls from your office to the Phone.com system.

Also, some but not all routers have the ability to prioritize voice services so that the impact of other applications doesn’t degrade voice quality. To prevent audio issues caused by voice and data competing for the same bandwidth, make sure your network router’s Quality of Service (QoS) settings are set as follows, so that they prioritize the transmission of voice packets to your WAN connection (ISP).

  • UDP/5060 – Priority: High
  • UDP/6060 – Priority: High
  • UDP/16384 to 32768 – Priority: High

Finally, if your router has an Application Layer Gateway (ALG) function, that should be disabled. We also recommend disabling the Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) function—in some cases, the router cannot handle the high rate of inbound voice packets when the SPI feature is enabled. In all cases, though, check with your security expert before changing configuration settings.

We hope these guidelines help you determine how much bandwidth you need to support high-quality VOIP phone service. If you have specific questions, please leave them in the comments below or contact us directly!

Extending Great VoIP Service Through Our Channel Partners

by Adele Fredeluces

iStock_000009457868SmallAt Phone.com, we love our Channel Partner Program (CPP). It allows businesses that would benefit from bundling Phone.com with their own services to offer their clients superior VoIP phone service!

While Phone.com provides software tools, training and support for CPP Agents, the agents work one-on-one with their own clients to provide great customer support.

Matthew Demaree, CEO of HTDNET, a Virginia-based computer consulting and web-hosting company, signed on with the CPP Agent program in 2011 after using our phone service for a couple of years.

“We became authorized Phone.com agents, allowing us to take our knowledge and experience of Phone.com’s products and services directly to our customers—getting them the direct support they need and still getting awesome backup support from Phone.com when we have a special issue or request.”

Demaree is a big Phone.com fan. “We have NEVER had a customer-service failure. Phone.com always goes above and beyond to ensure everything is done right.” And even though Phone.com’s customer support is HTDNET’s favorite feature, he says that our easy-to-use control panel and our menu system are pretty close to the top of their list too.

HTDNET has also seen significant savings in pricing for their clients. “After their 30-day free trial, our latest new account will save $70 per month or $840 a year switching to Phone.com from their previous VoIP provider,” says Demaree.

Demaree says his agents agree that Phone.com is the Ritz-Carlton of VoIP services. “Top that with real human interactions, US-based call centers, and the drive to do more for customers every time. Awesome sauce!”

As for us at Phone.com, building and maintaining good relationships with our CPP Agents is a key part of our customer support!

Port Your Google Voice Number to Phone.com Today!

by Ari Rabban

google_voice_to_phonecomThe free Google Voice service has been around for several years now, but its days may be numbered. Google is opting to discontinue support for third party services, migrating it into their Google Hangouts platform.

For those of you currently using Google Voice who are concerned about losing your number and phone service, Phone.com has a fantastic offer for you!

Any Google Voice customer can easily port their number to Phone.com free of charge and then continue to use their Google Voice number with Phone.com. This includes free use of the Phone.com Mobile App, along with a wide range of phone features for you to enjoy. We also offer a variety of desktop phones, giving you the convenience of VoIP calling.

Now for the icing on the cake: We offer 24×7 phone support! Phone.com service starts at $9.99 per month but I am happy to extend a special offer of 90 days free to any Google Voice customer. Click here to get started!

VoIP Service – Can It Really Improve Your Numbers?

by Phone.com

In business it is all about the numbers, and generally, whenever a service can provide your company the opportunity to improve the financial bottom line, it is a wise decision. This being said, it is no surprise why so many businesses are making the transition from standard landline telephone service to VoIP, or voice over internet protocol, service.

Lower Monthly Expenses
Even when comparing the expense of just a single line, VoIP service comes in at a fraction of the price of traditional phone services. So, right off the bat, this internet based phone service can make a drastic improvement to the expense column of your business.

No Extra Fees
VoIP providers are able to offer a number of features that traditional phone service providers are not able to provide or only provide at an additional expense. These features include auto attendants, dial-by-name directories that allow callers to direct themselves to the correct extensions, voicemail over the internet which allows you to check your box from anywhere you have internet access, and voice to text features that let you read your messages to maintain a level of discreetness.

Reduce the Need for Extra Lines
Additional expense can be saved because VoIP service can often reduce the need for additional phone lines. The call forwarding feature combined with the queue allows an overflow of calls to be pushed through to existing numbers, such as cell phones, home phones, or any other designated number, thus reducing the need to have an additional office line and potentially eliminating the need for another employee to answer incoming calls. In addition to this, fax via VoIP happens entirely online. Transmissions are sent directly to the designated email address, thereby eradicating the need for a fax machine, paper, and toner. All of these things can save on expenses.

Retain Customers
In the opposite column, VoIP can assist with retaining the current customer base. Many of the features already discussed, combined with professionally recorded voicemail greetings, messages on hold, after hours greetings, and click to call buttons on websites, blog sites, and social networking pages, can provide your company the professional image and customer appeal that will keep customers coming back for more.