What factors do you take into account when choosing a new Hosted VoIP system?
You probably have features at the top of your list. Pricing is another. Customer support and availability is also critical. However, one factor that often gets overlooked is your provider’s Quality of Service (QoS).
If you’re unsure as to what that is, keep reading.
What is QoS?
Let’s start with the most basic question—what exactly is QoS?
QoS refers to the overall performance of a VoIP system anchored on the prioritization of traffic throughout a network. It takes into consideration ease of use, bandwidth, transmission efficiencies, error rates, downtimes, and other similar statistics.
With proper implementation, QoS can help reduce congestion, latency, and packet loss—all of which negatively impact call quality.
Why is QoS important?
With legacy phone systems, you’re used to receiving a certain level of quality when it comes to service. This is because legacy networks are all built with end-to-end connection, hard-wired for a closed-loop experience. Connectivity is not an issue because it’s not diluted. Each call will have dedicated network resources, ensuring reliability and consistency. This simply means you don’t have to worry about the QoS you receive.
Hosted VoIP networks are different given that providers can offer the service without having to own or run their own network. Following this business model allows providers to offer the service at a fraction of the capital-intensive cost of traditional telephony.
However, it also presents some limitations. For starters, control over the QoS is limited since the provider doesn’t own the network used to make calls. Additionally, your due diligence as a business owner or manager regarding this matter could be critical to how you choose your Hosted VoIP provider.
What kind of questions should I ask providers to make the best decision?
We’ve narrowed it down to these three basic questions:
#1. How much network infrastructure does the provider own and operate?
Typically, if the provider doesn’t own their network, it implies that they are relying on public Internet for their services. This will mean that they can provide lower prices. But it’s also important to note that these cost-savings might come at the expense of service quality.
On the other hand, if a provider owns their network, usually referred to as “facilities-based,” they could still rely on the public Internet to help minimize costs.
What you want is a good balance between the QoS they can commit to and the cost.
#2. How much of my business’ VoIP traffic will need to run on the public internet?
The answer will likely vary between different providers. Some depend on the public Internet for their traffic; others will probably use a mix of private and public networks.
You want to know the answer to this one simply because the volume of traffic that runs on the public Internet networks will have to share bandwidth. As such, it might affect your QoS, especially if the bandwidth demand of your particular area is high.
#3. What is the level of QoS that you can guarantee?
Reliable Hosted VoIP providers should be able to give you a QoS guarantee that is at least at par with legacy systems. With thoughtful delineation of data transmissions depending on what fits a business’ network environment, a provider should be able to assure consistent quality.
If you would like to find out how Jive can help improve your business communications, get in touch with us today.