Business voice communications have changed dramatically since the start of the millennium. Along with mobile phone service Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has become increasingly popular, with more than 79% of American businesses using the technology in at least one location in 2014.
The migration to services is due to cost savings in two key areas:
- Lower operating expenses, where digital phone lines can eliminate the need for copper telephone wires and SIP trunks provide a lower cost alternative to ISDN-PRI by eliminating expensive T-1 lines.
- Lower capital costs, because Hosted PBX Phone Systems reduce or eliminate the up-front costs associated with business phone systems, shifting much of that functionality to the Cloud.
Replacing traditional infrastructure with over-the-top services in this way has made our Internet connections more critical than ever before. An Internet connection that doesn’t perform flawlessly won’t just impact your email. It will degrade call quality, and maybe shut your phones down altogether – not to mention the impact a poor internet connection can have on other cloud-based services.
Building a Broadband Network That’s Ready for Business Voice Communications
Businesses that require a high-quality telephone connection to work effectively with customers and suppliers should give careful consideration to how they connect to the Internet. Here are just a few of the factors to consider, why they matter to your business, and what you should do about it:
- Why it matters: This one is obvious. With so many services that used to be in-house or delivered on copper phone lines now coming through your Internet connection, if you lose the Internet, you lose it all. This can shut your business down.
- What your business should do: Understand the network vulnerabilities inherent in your primary Internet connection, and choose a provider that has redundancy and diversity built-in to their network. Then, get a backup Internet connection on a completely different network. If you’re on a tight budget, this can be a basic DSL, wireless, or cable connection. Often, your primary provider will have reseller agreements with their competitors so that they can sell you that other network. This will help you get the extra protection without losing the benefits of a single-source provider.
- Why it matters: If connections are not robust enough, call quality will degrade as VoIP calls compete for bandwidth with downloads, email, browsing, and cloud computing applications.
- What your business should do: Ensure that the Internet connections coming into your business have enough available bandwidth for all your communications needs. Configure your network to support Quality of Service to ensure that your VoIP calls get priority over services like web browsing and email, as they are more forgiving of congestion. You should also make sure your provider has an effective strategy for managing call quality and network capacity.
- Why it matters: Call quality can be affected by problems on your network such as packet loss, latency, and jitter. These connection problems can degrade call quality and cause calls to drop.
- What your business should do: Choose a network provider with low latency, packet loss, and jitter, who has a defined strategy for managing network quality. In addition, ensure that all network equipment and wiring on your LAN is installed properly, up-to-date, and functioning correctly. Repair or replace defective components.
- Why it matters: Cyber threats that degrade your Internet connection can have a significant impact on the quality of business voice communications. For example, a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, uses infected computers on the Internet to flood a broadband network with useless data, increasing congestion on the network and impacting call quality.
- What your business should do: Make sure your carrier has DDoS mitigation systems in place to protect its core network from attack, and put DDoS mitigation in place to secure your own network.
A good broadband Internet connection is a crucial business tool. Take steps to ensure that your broadband connection is robust, secure, reliable, and of a high-quality, and you will avoid problems with your critical telephone services.