Balancing Effective VOIP And Standard Internet Usage

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) communications have revolutionized the way that the world communicates. Even if you're on a copper telephone system that hasn't been phased out completely, you can still add some flexible communications to your business with a scalable VOIP plan. Some fine tuning is needed to make sure that VOIP and the rest of your internet traffic aren't competing in quality-wrecking ways, but an overview of VOIP and network traffic balancing can help you understand how it all fits together.

Why Is VOIP Management Necessary?

VOIP calls use network resources like any other network task, and the most limited network resource for most businesses is the internet. Unlike internal networks with massive bandwidth (capacity) sizes at fairly affordable, one-time costs, your internet connection is a lease that is sized to a specific set of purposes.

Unless your business is overspending on internet, a set internet connection will need to be divided into a set of priorities. Business network professionals can configure your business network to prioritize certain users, computers, or specific tasks like VOIP.

Without priority, modern routers (including combination modem-switch-WIFI routers) will deliver a crude type of load balancing. If only one task is using the internet, it gets free reign of the internet bandwidth. When other tasks need internet, the router will try to give the different tasks an equal amount of bandwidth, just to make sure that both devices can go as fast as possible.

The intention on paper is not true to reality. Although computers can see logical with exact terms and numbers, your network is still a series of electrical or light signals that can be hard to control. With normal downloads or website use, you might notice a slightly, but acceptable drop in speed. VOIP, unfortunately, will start to show audio failures when not managed properly.

This is because tasks such as downloads or website views can have a few errors or failed deliveries in the background without affecting the task significantly. Information can be resent fast enough to not be noticed to the casual user. With VOIP, a piece of data that represents your voice is lost forever. This is the cause of "digitized" or "robotic" voice corruption on some VOIP calls.

Balancing VOIP At The Software And Hardware Level

There are a few different ways to balance network usage for VOIP benefit, and it all depends on how heavily VOIP is used on your business compared to the internet speeds available.

For most businesses, a VOIP server and load balancing configuration is enough. Server size depends on how much the VOIP system is used, and can be as simple as installing a server package on an existing server machine or setting up a cheap desktop as the server.

The important part is configuring a router for VOIP load balancing. This is done with techniques such as Quality of Service (QoS), which can give priority to specific tasks. This means that VOIP will get the first pick and highest amount of data, and will be less likely to be corrupted.

Another option is leasing a secondary internet connection just for VOIP, which is only necessary if the calls cannot be interrupted by internet tasks or if local internet speeds aren't fast enough to support heavy use. 

For more information, contact a business such as competitive network management LLC.