VoIPWhat do you need to worry about when you are looking at the VoIP- Ready state of a customer’s network? 3 Things: packet loss, latency, and bandwidth. Here is why:

  1. Packet Loss can happen and it should be 0 between customer and GlobalPhone’s servers
  2. Latency needs to be below 100ms between customer and GlobalPhone’s servers
  3. Bandwidth available for both upstream and downstream should have 80 kbit/s of bandwidth available. So, if for example the customer will have 10 concurrent calls up at any one time, there needs to be 800 kbit/s of bandwidth available for the calls in progress (both upstream and downstream).

Steps to check these areas:

  1. On a PC, open up “Command Prompt”.  On a Mac, open up “Terminal”
  2. Type “ping proxy.pri.GlobalPhone.com” and press Enter.
  3. On the PC, the ping will stop automatically.  On the Mac, you need to press Control-C to stop it.

Once complete, you are looking for 2 values.  They are both normally in the summary at the bottom.  First is Packet Loss.  It should read 0%.  Second is Round Trip Time Average.  This is the time in milliseconds that it took for your packet to get to us and back.  Hopefully this is less than 100ms.

Since GlobalPhone operates multiple geographically separated systems, you can perform the same checks on proxy.sec.GlobalPhone.com to verify your connectivity to the West coast system.

The third item that we worry about is available bandwidth.  This one is a bit tougher. We need to make an educated guess about how much bandwidth is available and how much you will be using on a regular basis (both your data and your phones). First, let’s see how much bandwidth is available on your connection.  Go to http://speedtest.net/ and pay attention to the download and upload speeds that are available. Like many businesses these days, at work we have fibre connectivity to the internet. 

Since VoIP calls are bidirectional and use up bandwidth equally in both directions, we need to look at the smallest value to determine the amount of available bandwidth. VoIP calls are measured in kbit/s. If you require more understanding, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Let’s say that your results come back and there is an issue with one of the big three variables. Depending on the issue, here’s what we might suggest:

  1. Packet Loss – Packet Loss usually means there is a problem with your network or with your connection to your upstream provider.  You’ll want to look at this as it will be affecting your internet connection speeds as a whole.  Internal issues or duplex issues need be addressed at this point. We can normally help to diagnose these types of problems with you.
  2. Latency – If you have over 100ms of latency (round trip time) from your office to ours, there are numerous reasons why this might happen.  Maybe your connection is saturated with other traffic, maybe your internet connection is too small for your needs, maybe the internet provider that you are using is not well interconnected with the rest of the internet, or it could be that your internet connection is adding latency just because of how it works (DSL for example).  For latency, cable connections are better than DSL, and Fibre is the best.
  3. Bandwidth – If you don’t have enough available bandwidth for the concurrent calls you need, then there are also tons of ways to address this.  We can look at your internet connection and suggest alternatives. If you’re worried about contention on the line between your calls and your data, we can investigate ways to set up bandwidth management options in your network equipment, or set aside bandwidth for exclusive use of VoIP calls.  If there just isn’t enough bandwidth for both your calls and your data, we can order up a second connection and dedicate one of the connections to VoIP and the other to data. 

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Hopefully this helps to address, at least from a high level, some of the ways to check if your network is VoIP-ready. Want more information or a full walkthrough? Request a demo today and we’d be happy to walk you through these steps!