Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has become the top communication system of choice for many small- to medium-sized businesses. If your business is looking to switch to VoIP, make sure to ask potential providers about their Quality of Service (QoS). This is because the best QoS is essential for ensuring your company's success. In this article, we will provide a quick overview of what QoS is and some important questions you should ask prospective VoIP providers.
What is QoS?
VoIP providers and IT experts define QoS as the overall performance of a VoIP system or network. This performance is usually measured by looking at objective statistics like bandwidth usage, transmission delay, call jitter, error rates, and the like. Subjective data, like what end users think of the system’s performance, is also factored in.
Why does QoS vary among providers?
QoS applies not only to VoIP but also to traditional phone systems. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the quality of landline calls is near perfect. This is because all traditional phone network providers invest in physical networks and connections that offer high QoS. This means switching from one provider to another doesn’t affect the quality of the calls.
However, investments in physical networks are expensive, and customers end up shouldering the costs. The high cost of maintaining the transmission network is also why there are only a couple of phone providers in most areas. In other words, it’s just too costly for small companies to invest in a traditional phone network system.
In comparison, VoIP systems are considerably cheaper to set up and maintain, leading to a high number of VoIP providers. And because anyone with capital can set up their VoIP systems without having to adhere to a standard, the QoS amongst providers can vary drastically. To find the provider with the best QoS, ask them these three questions:
1. What level of quality can you guarantee?
The best providers will be able to guarantee a QoS that is comparable to or even better than traditional phone networks. This is especially important for businesses that are looking to switch to a full VoIP solution. Ask your prospective provider to run a few tests on your network and to give you a quality assurance. If the numbers are too low for your business needs, it’s best to look for another provider.
2. How much of the network infrastructure do you own?
Almost every VoIP provider will rely on public infrastructure in order to transmit data. And usually, the bigger the company’s share in the infrastructure, the higher its QoS is. This is because the provider will have more control over the technology. As such, one of the best options is to look for facilities-based providers. These companies own almost all of the network that carries VoIP calls and can therefore offer better services and quality.
3. How much traffic will run over public internet?
Some of the most popular solutions will use almost 100% public internet for their traffic, while other companies will use a mixture of public and private networks. The latter option allows better flexibility as these providers often use public internet for more affordable packages and private internet for high-end users. If you often use VoIP for functions that require heavy bandwidth like conference calling, then you may need to sign up for more expensive packages so the QoS doesn’t drop.
Get in touch with our experts today if you want to know more about how VoIP can benefit your business and how to pick the best VoIP provider.