A few years ago Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) was the buzzword of the time, with the promise of cheaper and better phone calls, performance and independence from Telkom. But early VoIP systems left a lot to be desired, with often poor call quality, dropped lines and a lot of problems. Since then, we’ve seen the VoIP concept mature, growing into something that could add value to your network infrastructure.
When VoIP was first launched in South Africa, the concept of having voice calls made over a data line was great in theory. In reality, though, there were landline experts trying to reroute voice calls over a network with which they were not familiar. We would see clients use one ADSL line for both their internet connection as well as voice calls on that same link, conducted at a debilitating data speed, which ended up being a really big stumbling block for VoIP in South Africa.
Back then, we didn’t understand the principle that you needed high quality data to facilitate voice line connectivity. Think of it this way: when you send an e-mail on your system, it shows that the message has been sent, but you don’t really know when the client receives that mail. On the voice side, though, you’d know immediately if the ‘message’ isn’t ‘received’, because you’d be able to hear the interference on the line. So you’d start having a conversation and you’d experience packet loss, resulting in regular breaks in communication.
VoIP has changed dramatically in South Africa. The latest technology boasts QoS, or Quality of Service, meaning that the available line speeds effectively facilitate quality VoIP. Bigger bandwidth has made this possible. One could, for example, have a 10 mb line, of which 5 mb is allocated to voice, and 5 mb is assigned for data use. These two applications can then be assigned to a single line.
As a responsible VoIP service provider, Trunuty still prefers to split these two functions; we usually suggest the installation of an internet line for our clients, as well as a voice line for the VoIP, and of course a backup.
VoIP holds these advantages: the client can keep his existing phone number, even if he moves premises, as the number isn’t connected to a landline. Secondly, clients can also have multiple lines on a single VoIP line. This would be far cheaper than multiple landlines would cost.
The key to a quality VoIP installation is to entrust the project to a reliable company with all the right connections in the industry. Make sure that your current provider is up to the task.