With so many businesses and homes relying on the internet to handle their methods of communications, it can be paramount to ensure that your calls will complete every time, with crystal clear sound quality. But, since the beauty of VoIP lies in transmitting voice and telephony data through the internet, your phone calls will only be as steady and clear as your internet connection.
Take a look below to perform a full, real-time scan of your network. This VoIP speed test will simulate data being transmitted from your network to another, essentially replicating the transmission of data during your VoIP calls in order to measure the most important aspects of your connection. Start test here:
Don't worry if this all seems confusing at first, we'll dive into the details further down to help make sense of it all.
What is a VoIP Speed Test?
A VoIP speed test is a simple test of your internet connection. All you need to do is click one button and our tool will check how ready you are to use VoIP in your business. If you're not using this type of communication already, it will show you whether your current connection is good enough to switch to VoIP. If you're already using VoIP for communication, our speed test will tell you what kind of experience your customers have when they're on a call with you.
Why Should I Do a VoIP Speed Test?
Unfortunately, slow internet speeds, high packet loss, and even high latency in any network connection can quickly deteriorate not only the quality of VoIP calls, but even the overall service your business pays for.
When working with a provider, it is important to understand the aspects of your network that will determine the quality of your service to help implement a successful solution from the beginning. Depending on the level of service a business requires, VoIP hardware and network configuration each specific implementation will vary greatly.
However, with the results of these tests, users can determine whether their network is up to the job, or if an upgrade will be necessary before adopting a new business VoIP solution to ensure the best call quality possible.
Why You Need a Strong VoIP Connection
A strong VoIP connection and great bandwidth are important for your business for several reasons. Here's what happens when your internet speed is inadequate:
- You can't accept customer calls in a timely manner (and your average speed of answer drops)
- You are unable to take a large number of calls at once
- Your connection will drop out and you'll miss crucial information from your customers
- Your agents will struggle meeting their KPIs
- Your overall customer satisfaction drops
- Your cost per contact increases and the lower volume of calls you make will actually cost you more
In general, your entire business operation will suffer. Investing in a great internet connection will help make your customers, your agents, and yourself a business owner much happier.
The Meaning of Different Network Speeds
One of the first many will notice when testing their internet connection is listing two individual speeds, upload, and download (in Mbps and kbps). For VoIP calls, it is important to consider both the upload and download speed of your network to prevent unnecessary bottlenecks or congestion. There will be certain fluctuations in speeds, so the number you get on each test is an average of your speeds during the test.
To break it down simply, download speed is how fast your network can pull data from the internet to your device, be it a computer or a VoIP phone. Meanwhile, upload speed is how fast your network can send data from your device, the internet, and other users. Both speeds are measured in megabits per second, representing Mbps in this case.
VoIP Network Quality Parameters
To determine the quality of your internet connection, you need to look into several parameters besides your download and upload speed. To see if your connection is up to the task, make sure to pay attention to the following:
- packet loss
- quality of service
Let's take a look at each of them in detail.
The upload and download speeds can also be referred to as "bandwidth," which essentially represents the overall capacity of your network to process information. While both speeds are important and will affect your calls, your network can only process information as fast as your slowest speed allows.
|Number of Concurrent Calls
For our scenario, this translates to not only how stable your clear your calls will be but also how many calls can occur simultaneously - mixed in with your office's normal internet usage on top. If your business plans to successfully allow 20 calls at once, it will require higher bandwidth than if that were only two calls.
If your network's download speed is a blistering 100Mbps, but your Upload speed is limited to 5Mbps, your network. By extension, VoIP phone service can only receive 5 megabits of data per second, even though 100 bits come in every second. This is a "bottleneck," and this exact scenario could lead to poor call quality. Generally, upload speeds will be lower than download speeds, so this is the important number to look for for our use. In that sense, a broadband connection with a high download speed doesn't mean much if your upload is meager.
After the bandwidth or speed of your network, the next aspect to consider is the latency experienced in your connection. In its simplest explanation, latency simply represents the delay when transferring data. If you've ever heard someone complain of "lag" or a laggy and slow connection, this is generally due to high latency in the connection.
When running a speed test, latency is measured directly in the ping time. For example, in our speed test that attempts to recreate data transfer like a VoIP call, the latency test will determine how long it takes for VoIP systems to open and establish a connection. If data is transferred between two locations, we will know what kind of delay exists thanks to our ping measurement. Ping measurements will always be in milliseconds (ms).
For a quick reference, ping can generally be regarded as such:
- Excellent connection: Under 100ms ping
- Good connection: Under 250ms ping
- Poor connection: Over 250ms ping
High latency can occur from several factors, but usually when there is a lack of bandwidth on your network or if your network bandwidth is maxed out by multiple users operating simultaneously. Lag, ping, or latency can also be worsened due to an increased distance the data has to travel (across the country will have a higher latency than sending data to your neighbor's office), or any hardware in between your device and the network. This could include firewalls, routers, switches, and of course, other devices and users on the network.
Ping measurements can offer a solid idea of how well your network performs: if your ping is very high, then part of your network infrastructure might be holding everything back.
Packet loss is when “packets” or pieces of data traveling across a network do not reach their end destination. Packet loss results in packets of data failing to reach the opposite end of the network. In a VoIP call, this will appear as jumbled conversations with missing information, words, and even sentences - i.e., missing voice packets.
Packet loss occurs when the network drops data, most commonly due to network congestion or a lack of available bandwidth. However, where that congestion comes from can differ in every setup. Issues can also arise from outdated hardware (such as a phone system) or an improperly configured network. Generally, wireless networks will lead to more packet loss and should be avoided in your office if possible. Wired is always better.
So, how bad is packet loss? For VoIP calls, dropping one or two minor packets won’t cause too much of an issue – if only one or two words are jumbled, we can generally understand the overall context of the message. However, if packet loss reaches a steady, significant level of 5% to 10% loss, users will notice entire sentences missing and awkward pauses in the middle of a conversation.
While fixing packet loss can be out of our hands, it is just another incredibly important aspect to consider when establishing or improving a VoIP connection simply because packet loss is one of the most common causes of poor call quality with VoIP. We can't fix it, but your ISP and VoIP service provider can certainly work with your business to ensure the best, packet-filled connection.
Jitter is the time difference between when a packet is sent and received. Ideally, the jitter should be as low as possible. The longer it is, the bigger the delay and the worse the quality of your calls. Jitter is measured in milliseconds, and a good value is between 15-20ms. Higher than that, your connection will become laggy, resulting in choppy audio.
Quality of Service (QoS)
When mentioning packet loss, it's also useful to mention Quality of Service or QoS. In business VoIP, quality of service is the ability of your connection to prioritize VoIP over other systems that are eating up your network bandwidth. In other words, you need to sacrifice other resources and cap how much bandwidth is spent on them so your connection is healthy enough to provide an excellent VoIP service and functionality.
Checking Your Firewall
Starting from the basics, a firewall is a system specifically designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from your private network.
Firewalls can be hardware or software implemented and simply act as the gatekeeper to your network - depending on settings this gatekeeper will allow or deny entry to certain data. Essentially, a firewall will be your business's first line of defense to protect sensitive information and overall network infrastructure.
Firewalls are a crucial aspect of any business network, if your gatekeeper is not set up properly, a firewall can also act as a massive barrier to crystal clear VoIP calls. A firewall test can help determine any vulnerabilities or data blocks in your network. To do this, a Firewall test will examine each individual "port" your network has open. Ports are the openings that a firewall creates in your network to establish the available tunnels for your data to stream through.
Open Port Tests
However, too many unnecessary open ports allow even more vulnerability and access to your network. If your network does not need a specific port for a specific function, it's best left closed. These tests can range from simple common port tests to specific ones like those used for file sharing or messaging services.
Putting It All Together
The first place to start is, of course, the foundation, and if that foundation is shaky, the entire structure will not stand as solid as intended. The same scenario can play out repeatedly, with users complaining of poor VoIP service only to unknowingly be held back by their outdated, slow, or improperly set up network.
Network speed tests simply arm us with the proper data and information necessary to understand how our internet connection will impact our VoIP call quality. Unfortunately, the resolution of many issues is in the hands of providers. Still, with this understanding, any business can stay on top of its service and ensure they are receiving the level of quality and service that they are paying for.
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