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How Much Bandwidth is Needed for VoIP

how much bandwidth is needed to make business calls

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Businesses looking to improve and enhance their communication system with the end goal of providing better customer service will find business VoIP as a suitable solution. However, when you are switching to such a cloud phone system, you’ll need to make sure that your office internet meets voice over IP bandwidth needs. Read on to learn more about what is needed to support VoIP calling in a business setting.

Business VoIP Calls: Bandwidth Requirements

A VoIP phone system enables the calling and transmission of data over the internet between two parties. Doing so makes it possible to send and receive voice, video, and other unified communications through a cost-effective route. Thanks to new technologies like a web phone, it is possible to make and receive calls from a computer. Because of this reason, business VoIP is popular among companies of varying sizes.

Virtual phone service providers like United World Telecom can help you build a VoIP system at your office with the virtual communication tools and features you desire. Part of setting up such a system requires an evaluation of the bandwidth required to run a cloud phone system. Here we will look at different VoIP bandwidth requirements.

What is Bandwidth and Why Does It Matter for VoIP?

Bandwidth is a term used to describe the data transfer rate of an internet connection. In other words, it refers to the amount of data that can be transferred over the internet connection within a given time period. You will have to set aside a certain amount of bandwidth from what you receive through your internet provider (ISP).

This is important because VoIP phone calls run over the internet and require a good internet connection to provide quality calls. High browsing activity or additional applications can reduce the amount of bandwidth available for your cloud phone system. Lower bandwidth equals slower speed which can result in lower call quality. Some factors that impact voice over IP calls include:

  • How many phone lines are required?
  • How many calls will be occurring concurrently?
  • Will other applications be running simultaneously with your VoIP system?
  • Upload/download speed provided
  • Codec provided by your service provider

Keeping these factors in mind, you can calculate an estimate of how much bandwidth will be required to run your cloud phone system smoothly.

Calculating Bandwidth Needed for Your VoIP System

So, how do you decide how much VoIP bandwidth your system will need? The most important aspect to take into account is the number of employees making calls and how many calls will occur simultaneously. The general range for bandwidth needed is anywhere from 85-100Kbps for each concurrent VoIP call. Bandwidth is measured in kilobytes per second (Kbps).

Number of Concurrent Calls Bandwidth Recommended
1 100 Kbps
5 500 Kbps
10 1 Mbps
15 1.5 Mbps
20 20 Mbps

Secondly, you want to check the codec quality provided by your provider. Codec is a program that converts voice into digital signals to be transmitted during the call. In other words, codec reduces the size of call files without impacting voice quality. The ideal codec will determine the amount of data your VoIP calls will need. Here is a table for your reference:

Codec Bitrate Bandwidth Usage
G.711 64 Kbps 87.2 Kbps
G.722 48-64 Kbps 80 Kbps
G.723.1 5.3 Kbps 20.8 Kbps
G.726 32 Kbps 55.2 Kbps
G.728 16 Kbps 32 Kbps
G.729 8 Kbps 31.2 Kbps

Note: Bitrate per second refers to the rate at which bits of data are transmitted within a given time.

Additionally, since VoIP calls stream two-way voice messages, the data usage is twice the normal rate per second. Most virtual calls will need about 64 Kbps. You can have 12 calls concurrently using 1 Mbps or 120 calls with 10 Mbps. And this is for calling only. For other virtual activities such as browsing, using internet applications, etc., more bandwidth will be required.

Making VoIP Calls

Ensure your business has enough bandwidth to make high-quality calls with your VoIP system. There are routers available that prioritize voice calls over other internet activity. This would ensure no quality is taken away from the calls. Contact your ISP for information about bandwidth usage and availability options. To learn more about VoIP systems for business, call us at 1 (877) 898 8646.