Internet too slow for VoIP

Is my internet connection too slow for VoIP?

VoIP telephony is incredibly versatile. You can answer calls on a huge range of devices, using your preferred softphone or app. The only prerequisites are an account with a VoIP provider (such as Sipcentric) and a decent internet connection.

But when we say ‘decent’, what do we mean? Is fibre broadband required? What about 3G speeds on your phone? Every case is different, but we’ll try give you some general tips.

Note that we’re only talking about audio calls in this article – not video calls.

Fixed-line broadband

In the UK, most offices have internet connections capable of supporting a VoIP call. Even if you have a very basic connection, you should be able to make and receive audio calls without too much difficulty. Most serviced offices share much faster connections (although you should try to find out how many other tenants are sharing the same bandwidth and how it is split). In rural areas, you might have more trouble getting a good connection speed, but you could still use VoIP in many cases.

Naturally, the faster your connection, the better the quality is going to be. You may also find a faster connection lets you do more while you chat. For example: if you’re on a VoIP call, and your connection is very slow, we advise closing other applications that may use bandwidth. Otherwise, you could hear delays and noise on the line.

We do have customers unable to get anything more than 512Kbps who can make and receive VoIP calls just fine. If you are having problems, contact us for advice: we might be able to suggest a different way of working that will improve your call quality.

The other thing to consider is the number of employees, and the frequency of use. If you’re a sole trader, a 2Mbps ADSL connection will be plenty for regular calls. Once you start adding extensions – and assuming these extensions are used at the same time – the demand on the line increases, so the capacity you need grows. As a general rule, we suggest allowing 100Kbps for each concurrent call.  If you start to notice performance degradation, ask your ISP if you can upgrade.

Mobile broadband

Most business users now have smart phones with 3G or 4G data connections. As a general rule, a 4G connection will give you the bandwidth you need to make and receive good quality VoIP calls.

3G is still prevalent in the UK, but it’s less predictable where VoIP is concerned. If you have a strong 5-bar signal in a 3G or 3.5G area, you should be able to use internet telephony without serious problems. With a weak 3G signal however, it’s less likely.

For a rule of thumb, remember that WiFi connections usually offer more reliable speeds, with the possible exception of WiFi on moving vehicles (buses, trains) or very congested networks. If possible, connect to WiFi where available. 4G is the second best option, and a very good 3G signal a feasible – if less reliable – last resort.

More advice

Nimvelo understands that you want to get on with your business, without the hassle and inconvenience of call drop-outs and connectivity problems. If you need support getting the right connection speed, don’t hesitate to contact us for advice.

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