9 Tips to Optimize Network for VoIP

Optimize Network for VoIP

If you’re here, then chances are high that you’re looking to optimize the internet network for your VoIP connection. Don’t worry you aren’t alone in the quest of finding the perfect VoIP network.

In the last few years, many businesses have switched over to VoIP. With nearly a third of total businesses in the world leveraging VoIP to enhance productivity and reduce communication costs, a steady and secured network is the key to remain competitive.

This blog post discusses nine important tips to optimize your network and stay ahead of the curve. Read on to know how you can ensure a robust and stable network for your VoIP telephony system.

  1. Determine the types and volumes of calls your business will make

Before optimizing your network for VoIP, you may want to determine the types and volumes of calls your business will make. Because that will help you forecast the data requirements and the potential traffic in a much better way.

Will it be short-distance and domestic calls or long-distance international calls? Will it be more sales calls or customer service and support calls? Will it be more inbound calls or outbound ones? Will your team members work from the office or remotely? After asking these questions, you will get some crucial answers that will help you optimize your network.

  1. Test your existing hardware and upgrade if needed

Faulty and low-quality hardware and equipment are one of the major reasons behind the issues in VoIP calls. To optimize VoIP networks, make sure your network hardware is up-to-date and of high quality.

Test your routers, servers, switches, firewalls, hubs, as well as cabling. Ethernet cables are the arteries of VoIP, which carry its lifeblood i.e. its data packets much more swiftly and efficiently than any other cables. They’re rated by categories such as Cat 5, Cat 6, Cat 7, and Cat 8. The higher the category, the better the capacity to transport data. Make sure you have a Cat 6 or Cat 7 cable, which is extremely suitable for VoIP calls.

Check the routers and switches and upgrade them if needed. Ensure that the new routers and switches have quality of service (QOS) capabilities. Also, make sure the routers have multi-user, multi-input, multi-output features, dual and tri-band frequency, and WiFi 5 or WiFi 6.

  1. Run a connectivity and speed test

A connectivity test will enable you to find out how accurately and fast voice data is traveling through your network. Check whether or not your existing internet connection can meet the requirements for a smooth call.

To determine that, test multiple calls simultaneously. Use some reliable and sophisticated diagnostics tools to test the existing VoIP network and speed as well as check connectivity between network endpoints.

Conduct a speed test of your internet connection to know if it’s adequate to support VoIP calls. If the results are negative, then consider upgrading the internet plan or changing the service provider.

  1. Check the latency, jitters, and packet loss

When it comes to assessing potential VoIP quality issues, checking latency, jitters, and packet loss can tell you how suitable your network is for VoIP calls. Even if your net speed is alright, jitter and latency can cause major problems.

Latency, also referred to as time delay, is the time taken by a voice data packet to reach its destination. It’s measured in milliseconds (ms) and it considers everything that slows a packet down. For a clear VoIP call, a latency of less than 150 ms is good enough. A latency of more than 300 ms will result in a bad quality phone call. Make sure your latency ranges between 130 to 150 ms.

Jitter is the variation in latency or time delay. It’s the difference between the transmission and reception of a data packet in a network connection. It’s usually caused by poor hardware quality and network congestion. Like latency, it is also measured in ms. Jitter of less than 30 ms is good for high-quality conversations.

Packet loss is the loss of voice data packets. Ideally, packet loss should be nil. But a packet below one can be adequate for a phone call.

  1. Enhance your bandwidth

More often than not, inadequate bandwidth hampers a VoIP call. A good VoIP call requires a bandwidth of 90 to 100 kbps per call. To know your bandwidth requirement, determine how many VoIP calling systems you intend to install in your workplace and multiply it by 100 kbps. Also, add a bit extra to be on the safer side.

For example, if you want a workstation that’ll enable you to make five simultaneous calls, then the minimum bandwidth should be 500 kbps. But if you browse during the call, then the available bandwidth will be even less for the call. In that case, a bandwidth of 500 kbps will be inadequate for five concurrent VoIP calls.

Enhance your bandwidth by upgrading your internet plan or switching to fiber net if you aren’t using it already. That’s because fiber can carry far more data than cable wire or any other cables.

  1. Reassess your traffic prioritization and give priority to VoIP traffic

If you use the internet to make and receive a majority of phone calls, then you know how important VoIP calls are for your business. They’re your number one priority. When faced with a choice between compromising a live conversation and stopping a file download, you’re more likely to choose the latter.

That’s why it’s crucial to make your network prioritize VoIP traffic over everything else. You can do that by managing the QOS settings in your routers and switches. If you have network hardware with QOS settings you can log into device settings to make sure that VoIP gets the required bandwidth irrespective of the network problems.

Here is how you can prioritize the VoIP network. Go to bandwidth management and click on the QOS settings. Check the WAN interface. Enable the priority for VoIP SIP, which is located at the bottom. This will enable you to view the analysis graph and status of the VoIP calls by clicking on the green icon.

  1. Explore the VLAN option

A VLAN, short for a virtual local area network, creates a virtual network inside your extant network and enables you to route all your VoIP traffic into it. It will make sure that you won’t experience dropped calls even when someone in your workplace downloads a large file or backs up an extensive database.

VLAN provides QoS to VoIP and makes sure that the voice quality doesn’t worsen if the IP traffic is uneven. It also enables you to fix VoIP issues more quickly. Putting VoIP on VLAN avoids delays in the data packets as well as prevents the phone connection from competing with other traffic.

Put your VoIP phones on a single VLAN, which can help you efficiently separate data and voice traffic. If you have over ten phones, then you should have a separate network.

  1. Consider using a VPN for VoIP calls

A VPN, which is short for Virtual Private Network, can enhance the security, functionality, and management of VoIP calls. You may consider an exclusive VPN for VoIP calls to provide a smooth passage to your VoIP traffic via an encrypted tunnel.

A VoIP VPN integrates both VoIP and VPN technologies to deliver secure voice calls. The VPN security model offers high confidentiality, sender authentication, and exceptional message integrity.

  1. Use a software-defined firewall

Implementing a software-defined firewall is one of the best ways to enhance the security of your VoIP phone systems. The configuration of the VoIP firewall efficiently tracks the inflow and outflow traffic of VoIP calls. It can also look into data packets and assess whether or not there are dangerous data or information that can compromise your network security.

Overall, it may be said

If you have a VoIP phone system, you know how a below average network can affect your business operations, customer service, and brand image. A strong network is the basic and the most important thing for a good VoIP call. If you are looking to optimize your VoIP network, these nine tips will help you do just that.

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