Voice over IP (VoIP) uses the same network to send and receive phone calls that we use to surf the Internet, send and receive emails, play video games, and stream videos from Netflix. All of these types of traffic can coexist on the same network as long as your network is built and
configured to handle it.
Here’s three tips to improve your home network.
First, make sure you have a fast enough network to support VoIP. There are several websites that will measure your network speed with just a couple clicks. Speedtest.net and speakeasy.net are well known sites for measuring your Internet speed. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may also have a website for measuring your speed.
VoIP needs constant bandwidth in both the upload and download directions. Different VoIP services use different amounts of bandwidth. Generally, 128kbps of constant upload and download speed will provide good quality.
If you’re Internet speed is too slow, consider upgrading to a faster Internet connection. You may also want to upgrade to a faster Internet connection even if your Internet speed is faster than 128kbps. If you have a lot of devices using the Internet on your home network, there may not be enough speed left over for your VoIP calls!
Second, make sure your home network components are up to speed. Your router is a big part of your home network. Make sure you have quality router. Older devices may not work well with VoIP traffic, resulting in missed calls or audio problems.
When updating your router, make sure you’re using only one router in your network. Two or more routers in a home network can cause problems. If you’re not sure how to replace your router, you can contact your ISP for help. There are also tech guys that will come out to your house and help with home networking, like Geek Squad.
Third, give VoIP priority access to your network. If you have a lot of devices on your home network, such as desktop PCs, laptops, tablets, hand held devices, game consoles, etc…, VoIP may be getting “choked out” at times, resulting in poor audio quality. If this is the case, give your VoIP device priority in your home network.
Configuring priority in your network can be a bit technical, but it isn’t rocket science. Many routers allow you to prioritize a device based on the port it is plugged into or based on the device’s network address. Below is a screen shot where I’ve prioritized my VoIP device on a Linksys home router. Every router is different, but router manufacturers often have tips and guides on their support website.