Broadband Quality or Quantity? – And why it matters

The Blue Fox Blog
The Blue Fox Blog
Broadband Quality or Quantity? – And why it matters

Wait why are my phones choppy? Guess I need to add more internet…or should you?

Can you hear me now? How about now? Those are words that you never want to be saying when you are in the middle of a call with a customer or important business partner. Yet these are all too common with so many communications solutions moving to the cloud and utilizing the public internet. In many of the situations, I have seen the first inclination is to go out and purchase the next tier of internet speeds available. This allows for a bigger pipe to get your data to the internet and helps with some Vampire Apps that can cause spikes in internet usage. However, when you are working with voice it is important to prioritize quality over quantity.

Quality of your connection can be thought of as the power cable to a light bulb in your house. If you lose connection even for a small fraction of a second, your light will flicker or turn off completely then come back on. The voice equivalent of a choppy call. Adding more electricity to the wire will not change that, nor will adding a bigger cable, to get the consistent light you need to ensure you have a consistent, high-quality supply without interruption. Many of today’s users are blissfully unaware of the quality of their connection because of the design of modern web applications. When working on a well-designed web application and modern browsers you have safeguards built in for lost data, or packets in technical lingo, and the ability to compensate and re-request those packets are built into the standard. Unfortunately for voice applications, these safeguards are not built in because of the real-time nature of voice communication. If the data is lost or delayed they are simply passed over and thrown away. Internet Service Providers know that many applications are built with a certain tolerance for lost data which allows them to oversaturate their systems to be able to provide the highest quantity of bandwidth, without much regard for quality.

What are Some Things I can do to Fix This?

1. Get a Dedicated Connection

If your cloud provider has an option to obtain a dedicated connection for your phone system this may be an option. This option is typically the only one that comes with a Service Level Agreement on call quality and uptime by cloud providers, as it is the only method in which they can control and guarantee quality. There is a private connection made between your company’s location and the provider data center that is maintained and supported by the provider. This is typically the costliest, however, the benefits are great for a location that must guarantee their ability to make calls and are looking for all of the benefits of a hosted voice solutions.

2. Check your Options for the Internet

Move to a lower saturated/higher quality connection. In the world of Internet Service Providers, there are only a handful of players in any market. Some providers have oversold their infrastructure, and some have overbuilt their infrastructure, or have lost customers. When dealing with voice connections sometimes slow and steady is the answer. If you are wanting the best of both worlds, some businesses have also purchased both the fast and the steady options, and have set their network up so that voice traffic goes over one connection and the data traffic goes over another. This can get complicated, so make sure you hire a pro if you go that route.

3. Don’t Go It Alone

Have a networking team that understands telecommunications come in and looks at your network and connections. It is important that you have a team that understands how both of these technologies work, are connected, and how they are different. Blue Fox Group is uniquely positioned in both industries to allow you to have the problem solved with one call. With 27+ years experience in the Telecommunications industry and 10+ years in the Managed IT industry, we have you covered.

With the rise of both cloud applications and cloud communications, more traffic is being sent over the internet and networks than ever before and it is only going to increase. Internet Service Providers are answering customers request for more bandwidth and higher speeds for downloading, however, that is having an impact on the quality and reliability of the connections that are being used for applications that only require low bandwidth, but a consistent and reliable connection, such as voice. As more and more companies move their phones to the cloud this problem will only appear more and more often. Ensure you understand the root cause of the problems and remember that throwing a bigger pipe will only fix the problem if the problem is the pipe is too small. If the problem is that you have a pipe with holes in it, just get a new pipe.