Saturday, June 28, 2014

VoIP Quality of Service: What You Need to Know

Many things come to mind when you say VoIP quality of service. Taken at face value, quality of service is the level by which you enjoy consistently good quality service from your VoIP. There are many factors that affect your VoIP quality of service, which can either be internal (your system) or external (your service providers).

In determining quality of service, you need to use a VoIP monitoring service, like VoIP Spear, that runs tests regularly and persistently. You then look at different parameters of VoIP quality. These are mainly: MOS, latency, jitter and packet loss.

Why is it Important to Determine your VoIP Quality of Service
You need to know how your VoIP performs at all times of the day. This will give you a true profile of your VoIP service, which is important if you rely on VoIP for communications. You stay on top of your VoIP's performance. And you can actually try to troubleshoot problems where you can. Or, you can act immediately if issues are external and you'd need technical assistance.

VoIP Quality of Service or VoIP QoS?
If you are using a modern router, you may have encountered the term VoIP QoS. For VoIP hardware, VoIP QoS has come to refer to the configuration settings on routers where you can give priorities to your select application and lessen priorities for other applications.

Through VoIP QoS, you implement an immediate fix to slow VoIP connections on your end. By prioritizing voice applications, you allot majority of your bandwidth to VoIP. Ideally, as you do this, you should also deprioritize other bandwidth-heavy applications, such a gaming. Gaming is a major bandwidth eater.

Bad VoIP Quality of Service: Now What
You've tested your VoIP and you've come to the conclusion that your VoIP quality of service is lacking. What do you do?

The first step here is to determine the cause of bad quality VoIP. It could be that the proximity of your hardware is causing feedback that makes your conversations inaudible. If that's the case, all you need to do is keep them at a good distance from each other. Or, you may be using your VoIP via a laptop that's too far. In that case, move closer. You might also find that you have faulty or low-quality equipment. Before buying your router, ATA, SIP phone and other VoIP equipment, it's a good idea to read technical reviews first. If possible, choose mid-priced to top-priced products.

Next, see if configuring your VoIP QoS will improve your digital communications. If all that's using up your bandwidth is VoIP, do you see a marked improvement on how you enjoy VoIP? In cases like this, you will want to examine your bandwidth allotment and usage. Does your VoIP package come with too little bandwidth for your requirements? Are there too many people in your network, such that there's always network traffic? Here, you can consider tacking your VoIP to a different internal network, upgrading your account or moving to different service providers.

With VoIP monitoring, you can know right away if you main problem is your service provider. Are you experiencing dips in the performance of key VoIP quality parameters even when you are not actively using your phone service? You might need to move to a service that provides you with consistently good service. Dips and downtimes are natural for anything, even traditional phone services. However, these should never be regular occurences. You need to be able to rely on your service, especially if it's business VoIP.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Additional VoIP Testing Servers at VoIP Spear

VoIP Spear, our VoIP monitoring partner, recently added VoIP testing servers to its network. This is great news, especially for some of our followers located outside North America. With new monitoring servers in North America, Europe, Asia and South America, VoIP users can get more accurate quality profiles of their VoIP phone service.

North America: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami
Europe: London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Moscow, Milan, Madrid
Asia: Hong Kong, Japan (Tokyo), Singapore, India (Chennai)
South America: Chile (Vina del Mar), Panama (Panama City)

Setup is easy. VoIP Spear users can just log into their account and select endpoints to configure each to use specific testing servers for each. New users can select VoIP testing servers when they setup endpoints.

If you still haven't signed up with VoIP Spear and you rely on VoIP, then you should sign up soon to check out the service. It is always a good idea to monitor your VoIP and get a clear picture of how your service performs. This is the only way that you can truly become reliant on your VoIP -- you have to be sure with how it performs:

The VoIP Spear team worked on this development for almost 6 months. And it looks like they did great work. This update enhances the whole VoIP Spear user experience, and provides more accurate quality scores.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Switching to VoIP this 2014

This New Year is a great time to consider switching to VoIP. Not only has the technology greatly improved. It has become easier to switch from traditional wireline service to digital communication. Support is easily accessible, and there is an array modules, applications and support services that you setup to protect your VoIP investment.

However, there are still considerations. Answer these questions to know if you are ready to switch to VoIP this 2014:

Do you think switching to VoIP will improve your productivity?
An increase in productivity can lead to so many things. VoIP can help achieve this. Through communications convergence, a single platform makes all communicated data available easily for anyone anywhere. The flow of information is faster. Ideally, this leads to work being done faster. For instance, deliveries can be made faster if the central office’s stock database is updated right away.

But then again, this does not really work for everyone. While work can become faster, it can also slow down. VoIP adds bandwidth traffic. In fact, bandwidth usage can multiply by at least four times. An office which relies on file sharing on a limited capacity office network will definitely suffer when it comes to the speed/ pace of work.

Do you think switching to VoIP can improve work efficiency?
Apart from increasing productivity, employees can also become more efficient. Again, this is partly a product of communications convergence, which allows easier access to information. But then again, in some corporate settings, this can work on the contrary. In a small office that is not reliant on digital information, VoIP can prove tedious and add to existing processes.

Can you afford the prerequisite equipment necessary for VoIP?
Equipment that you may need include SIP phones and an IP PBX system, or alternately ATA boxes and a gateway system. This is on top of your VoIP signup and usage costs. While VoIP can save you a bundle in long run, the initial funds required to make a shift can add up. If you run a big office, you need to plan for your switch to VoIP.

Can your current network take all that VoIP traffic?
This is a major consideration. The quality of VoIP conversation deteriorates when your network is unreliable and provides inconsistent service. To ensure that your network is good enough for VoIP, test its health through services like VoIP Spear. Should you find lacking capabilities, you can either increase your bandwidth capacity or change network service providers.

When you’re positive about your switch to VoIP this 2014, install the necessary safeguards. Monitor your VoIP performance through VoIP Spear. This way, you’re ahead and can anticipate telecommunications problems, which is vital for your office’s day-to-day. It is also a good idea to create a backup power plan, in case of outages. Here, you can either buy backup power boxes (UPS) or set up call forwarding to wireline or mobile accounts.