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Hosted PBX and Business VoIP is the replacement technology for traditional business phone lines and PBX phone systems. The technology has been around for quite some time but has been limited by the quality of broadband connections available to SME businesses.
Australian broadband infrastructure has undergone a major transition in recent years. In addition to NBN, major carriers and ISPs have improved their broadband networks and business grade internet is now available to most businesses. With the variety of choices available, following are some things to look out for when choosing a service to use with a hosted PBX system or SIP trunks.
Hosted PBX and business grade VoIP uses up to 100Kbps in both upload and download bandwidth to make one continuous phone call. If your business has a requirement for (10) phone lines, it's recommended to have at least 1Mbps of both upload and download capacity allocated to voice traffic.
When using a broadband connection that's shared between voice and data, a router with QoS functionality is a must. By activating this function, voice traffic will be given priority to ensure there is no interference by general internet usage when making calls.
When making a call, the IP phone converts voice signals to data packets which are then transmitted over the internet. Latency is the amount of time a packet of data takes to traverse the broadband network. Low latency means there's less lag time and interference when making a phone call. This is one of the biggest differences between residential and business grade broadband services. Most residential internet connections have higher latency than business grade services. Business fibre and fixed wireless broadband generally deliver the lowest, and therefore the best latency.
Jitter refers to fluctuations in latency or speed with which the data packets are transmitted. If the fluctuations are high and frequent, this may also effect the quality of the calls. Packet loss, as the name suggests, are packets of data that are lost when transmitted. As each packet contains a portion of the voice signal, significant packet loss will result in parts of the conversation being lost in transmission.
Therefore choosing a broadband connection with SLAs for low levels of jitter and minimal packet loss is essential for the hosted PBX system to operate at maximum capacity.
Even though a hosted PBX system will work as long as there is enough bandwidth to carry the phone call, its performance can be greatly effected by the quality of the broadband connection. Its always best to stick with a reputable carrier that specialises in business grade broadband services.
Not all NBN connections are equal. Even though the main infrastructure is provided by NBN Co, there is a variety of other networks involved in delivering the final broadband service to the end user. When selecting an NBN provider its important they have the necessary infrastructure and commitment to the business sector. Which among other things, means:
Business fibre with symmetrical speeds (same upload and download speeds) and 1:1 contention (service not shared with any other users) is the ideal broadband connection for IP telephony and hosted PBX. It's also ideal for cloud based applications and Unified Communications. As quality may vary between providers in terms of latency and packet loss, it's important to choose a provider that offers the best combination of price and performance.
As opposed to NBN wireless, fixed wireless broadband comes with symmetrical speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps. Similar to fibre, it also has 1:1 contention and low latency. In fact, data travels much faster through air than optical fibre, and that's why fixed wireless broadband is a genuine alternative. Choosing the right provider is important as not all carriers deliver the same quality connection. Enterprise grade infrastructure and equipment is necessary to deliver a service with similar performance to business fibre.
To find out more about which broadband service is best for a hosted PBX system, please contact one of our Business Consultants on 1300 000 300 or CLICK HERE to make an online enquiry.