Balancing Business Communications And Data Usage

Many businesses are switching to a more flexible way of maintaining communications. Higher internet speeds, sophisticated data routing, and feature-filled Voice over IP (VOIP) systems have made it easier to use in-house phone systems without having to connect a lot of older, harder to maintain copper switchboards. Here are a few ways that businesses have adopted VOIP on top of their standard internet use, along with ways to balance both systems for efficient communications.

How Does VOIP Work?

VOIP is an entire category of techniques used to send audio over a digital line. It converts audio--your voice, for example--into a digital format, sends it across a network, and converts that digital information into an analog sound that the receiver can hear on the other end.

To achieve this, VOIP systems used sets of instructions called codecs. A codec is a set of instructions that codes and decodes information, and there are many different ways to handle the conversion. One major part of VOIP industry is figuring out how to write codecs that have the best balance of sound quality and speed.

There is no perfect codec yet, and main goal of many VOIP professionals and hobbyists is to make a codec that has the best quality while being as compact as possible. Some codecs ignore certain parts of the quality versus file size in order to deliver fast messages without nice-sounding audio. Some services use the best quality possible and leave it up to the user to have a network strong enough to handle the work.

Balancing VOIP And Everything Else

The problem with VOIP is that if the data is interrupted for any reason, you will lose some quality or the entire transmission. This manifests as a "robotic" voice or digitized, erratic beeping.

Getting a faster internet connection or bigger router isn't the solution to the problem, but you do need to have enough bandwidth (network capacity) for both your normal data use and VOIP. The bigger problem is that different data demands may compete with each other, and even though there's enough room for lots of information to travel at full speed, delays can damage VOIP quality.

Configuration is the key. Router configuration and properly modifying your VOIP network can reduce the amount of data collisions--times when information is requested at the same time, but literally collide electronically--that ruin communications.

Another way to avoid competition between data demands is to divide the network. Using completely different routing equipment can solve the problem, but this is an expensive solution for most businesses. Contact a business phone systems professional to discuss other ways to maintain an efficient data and voice network.