VoIP may be the next-generation standard for voice communication but it still has to be delivered over the current Internet technology. When a business is looking to transition from POTS to VoIP, the biggest consideration will likely be the amount of bandwidth available. Given that many enterprise applications are now delivered over the cloud, voice packets have to share the Internet pipe with other bandwidth hungry software.
The general rule of thumb is that more bandwidth leads to better voice quality but in many situations, companies find themselves trying to reduce data charges for VoIP. This is especially true when a sizable proportion of the workforce accesses VoIP through work supplied mobile devices or if many employees telecommute to work, since data charges can become exorbitant under the circumstances. While VoIP does require a stable connection with reasonably fast access, there are some options that can be utilized to reduce its data footprint.
Using VoIP on mobile devices typically requires 4G Internet which is more expensive compared to the old 3G standard. One way to reduce data charges would be to provide employees with phones capable of using Wi-Fi calling. Workers can then use VoIP through Wi-Fi wherever it is available such as in hotel rooms or their own home, falling back on the phone’s Internet connection where necessary. If a lot of employees are working on site with the client, it may be worthwhile to set up a temporary Internet connection that can be disconnected when the project is over.
An important factor that determines how much data is required for VoIP is the type of audio codecs being used. Some codecs offer high quality though it requires more data to transmit calls while others use heavy compression algorithms to minimize the bandwidth requirements. While it may not always be feasible to switch to high compression codecs, it may be possible to implement them only in particular locations where quality is not as big as a concern as the number of concurrent calls.
For instance, a business may use HD voice codecs in the main office. On the other hand, a customer service call center may be fine with lower quality voice if it can handle more calls at the same time. Some hosted vendors have the flexibility to provide different functionality for multiple locations while others will not. Consequently, it is better to know your requirements before signing a contract with a particular vendor as it may become a hassle to change providers later on.