VoIP and Bandwidth Usage

One of the biggest concerns when deciding whether to switch over to VoIP for phone service is how much bandwidth it will take up. Will it slow down other internet processes within your home or business? This is a legitimate question that deserves a solid answer. We’ll discuss that basics behind how much bandwidth VoIP actually uses, and steps you can take to use your bandwidth efficiently.

The exact amount of bandwidth used by VoIP depends on your type and strength of internet, and how your bandwidth is allocated. Because all types of data are being sent over the same network, including video, audio, and documents, they are all fighting over the same bandwidth. Before signing up for service, it would be wise to determine how much bandwidth you currently have, and how much a VoIP system would require.

The three main factors that determine your overall bandwidth consumption are codec, packet size, and overhead. Voice signals sent over the internet are placed into data packets. Each packet is usually wrapped with several layers containing details like origin and destination. The combination of these wrappers is called overhead and the size of overhead can range depending on settings. You can increase the size of the packets to decrease overhead, but it may cause information to be lost. Smaller packets have more overhead, but are less prone to lost information.

Codecs are used to convert the voice signals into digital data for transmission over the Internet. There are two main types of codecs: one type that prioritizes voice quality and one that prioritizes bandwidth. You have to decide which one you want to favor. When one increases, the other decreases. In short, there’s always a trade-off between bandwidth availability and voice quality when it comes to VoIP bandwidth consumption. Each organization needs to decide which aspect to prioritize.

Some services allow you to allocate how much bandwidth is used on VoIP calls. The more you direct towards calls, the higher phone quality you’ll experience. You can do this within your QoS settings to ensure VoIP traffic is given top priority. If you try redirecting bandwidth and you’re still not happy with the results, you may need to increase your available bandwidth.