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Voice over IP services can certainly achieve the same level of quality and reliability as traditional telecommunications services. In fact, given the built-in failover capabilities in today's IP-based voice services, VoIP services could even be more reliable and cost-effective than legacy services. However, achieving parity in terms of VoIP quality and reliability requires an attention to detail on how the communications and network services are architected.
At minimum, in order to improve VoIP quality of service, a business' wide area network (WAN) connection needs to have more than enough bandwidth to support the estimated number of concurrent voice connections. Quality can suffer if voice services are in competition with other network traffic, including traditional and cloud-based applications, as well as internet usage. As such, it is important to ensure strong quality-of-service policies are in place to give voice traffic preferential treatment on both the WAN and local area networks.
It is also important to remember, unlike traditional voice services and legacy PBXs, end-to-end VoIP communications exist on a shared network. While it is often easy to blame the VoIP service provider for quality issues, the real problem could exist anywhere between the provider's core network to the phone on the user's desk.
To ensure proper identification and troubleshooting of VoIP-related issues, a business should consider a holistic approach to communications monitoring. Analytics from the service provider, customer-deployed enterprise session border controllers, and the new breed of unified communications monitoring tools can help isolate and improve VoIP quality issues.
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