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What is Bandwidth, and How Much Do You Need it For VoIP?

It is no secret that in recent years, VoIP phone systems have gained much popularity due to the benefits they offer to businesses. Thanks to that, companies are switching from traditional phone services to VoIP. But aside from enjoying its advantageous features, companies also wonder whether their Internet connection meets VoIP bandwidth requirements.

Before we discuss the requirements, however, let’s go over some of the basics first. We’ll answer questions you may have regarding bandwidth for VoIP including what bandwidth actually means, why VoIP uses it, and how your company can estimate the approximate amount of the necessary bandwidth for VoIP calls. But what is VoIP, exactly? Let’s give a quick definition and familiarize ourselves with it.


What is VoIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is a communication service that relies on an Internet connection, enabling people to join calls from anywhere by connecting to a VoIP phone, computer, or laptop. VoIP calls don’t require any additional equipment and are considerably easier to manage than calls made over a traditional copper phone line. But what they need is an appropriate amount of bandwidth for a high-quality VoIP phone call. Now, let’s move on to answering the question of “what is VoIP bandwidth?”


What is Bandwidth?

Nowadays, many people tend to mistake bandwidth for Internet speed. Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be transferred across the Internet per second. Internet speed, on the other hand, refers to how fast that data is transmitted. In other words, the time it takes to send or receive data is measured in terms of bandwidth. In comparison, the data’s transfer rate across the Internet is referred to as its speed. However, having a proper Internet speed is also important to ensure a high quality of your calls and meet the bandwidth requirements for VoIP. But, having a consistent and appropriate amount of bandwidth is no less important.


What Role do Codecs Play in the Efficiency of Bandwidth?

One of the essential aspects of VoIP bandwidth utilization is codecs. A codec is a program that compresses or decompresses large amounts of data. In other words, an algorithm is used to convert analog voice signals into digital data before it is transmitted. Codecs are needed to move data quickly and efficiently, improving the quality of the audio.


What are Some Bandwidth Requirements?

If you want your business VoIP calls to have optimal and clear quality, your phones will require a regular, consistent amount of bandwidth.

Below, we present you with the average requirements for the services necessary for businesses that can help you figure out how to calculate VoIP bandwidth:

  • VoIP calls – 1 Mbps
  • VoIP video calls – 28 Mbps
  • Uploading photos – 5 Mbps
  • Uploading large files – 2 Mbps
  • Video conferencing – 4 Mbps
  • General Wi-Fi use – 1 Mbps
  • Instant messaging – 5 Mbps/500 Kbps
  • Email – 1 Mbps
  • High-definition (HD )video – 4 Mbps

Keep in mind that these are merely average estimates. Of course, the list can help you find the specific VoIP bandwidth requirement you’re looking for. However, you also need to think about how many gadgets are in use at once in your office, which makes up the total bandwidth used for all internet activities.

Below, we will discuss more details on calculating your bandwidth VoIP needs to get a more accurate estimate.


How to Calculate your Bandwidth?

If you’re looking for a VoIP bandwidth calculation formula, we just might be able to help. But first, we need to gather some additional information such as:

  • How much network VoIP bandwidth is available at this specific moment?
  • On average, how much does your office use various applications? (Keep in mind that these numbers should both be given in bytes per second)

Another way to determine your bandwidth is basing your VoIP bandwidth calculation on your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) “up to” number. You agreed to this number when you signed a contract with your ISP, which can be between “up to 50 Mbps” or “up to 150 Mbps.”

Using the given information by the ISP, you must multiply the given number by the anticipated number of concurrent calls by 100 kbps. If your ISP hasn’t provided a specific number for the speed, meaning it is an “up to” ISP, then you’ll have to add a safety margin. They are extremely helpful when encountering Internet outages and will ensure your company sustains the required bandwidth.

Another method for calculating your bandwidth, although comparatively less reliable, is finding an online VoIP bandwidth tester or VoIP bandwidth, calculator. They are usually free and take a couple of minutes to complete, but they don’t provide as deep feedback as the steps discussed above do.


Some Additional Steps

Some other steps that will give you a better understanding of your bandwidth requirements are:

  • Pay attention to what online activities your company does the most. Some of the future tasks can be taken into consideration as well. You will certainly get the needed insight by calculating the average bandwidth requirement sum of the common activities. To do that, you can use the reference list we have provided above.
  • Calculate the number of staff members that will perform those activities simultaneously. The Internet speed shouldn’t be slowed down by having many Wi-Fi-connected devices. However, as more devices are linked to the Internet, more bandwidth is being shared, which slows down the speed. So, make sure to take this into account.


Join Flagman Telecom

Now that we understand the essence of VoIP call bandwidth, it is time to discuss a telecommunication company that will offer your business customizable and top-tier VoIP systems.

Flagman Telecom, a VoIP provider with its corporate office in Glendale, California, can assist you with VoIP communication services. Installation is also free. And the corporate VoIP phone service we offer can be specifically tailored to your business and its requirements.

Additionally, our knowledgeable staff is accessible 24/7 to answer your inquiries. So if these VoIP call service technologies sound ideal for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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