Office Infrastructure for Premium Sound in Business Communications IP Systems (1)

Wondering if your office is ready for an IP System? Worried about sound quality?

If you are considering using one IP System over another — whether you are an IT Director, an SMB owner or CFO — this blog series on Office Infrastructure focuses on practicalities, and specifically, on the upfront investment costs that your business might need to make for crystal clear, digital communications.

Last week, we introduced the idea of business infrastructure and Quality of Service (QoS). The next few posts will develop that topic more.

What you will learn:

  • How to recognize Infrastructural components of the business network
  • How these infrastructural components impact call quality
  • How to identify potential issues in your current network
  • How to estimate costs to solve


The goal is to prepare the business network to make the jump into VoIP while ensuring the highest quality communications.

Don’t worry; no prior knowledge about IT is necessary. Much of the troubleshooting we recommend can be done simply by sight. We speak in layman’s terms, so you can understand exactly what you need. We do NOT try to drag you into the nitty-gritty 1s and 0s.

Let’s get started.

What is “enough” bandwidth for VoIP?

A lot of people ask about bandwidth first. That is because available bandwidth WAS a substantial concern a few years ago. Connection speeds have progressed so quickly that most Atlanta SMBs will not need to worry about it now. Let’s break it down.

A premium VoIP call transfers 64 kilobytes of information per second. This digital information represents your voice signature (64 kbps upstream) for the recipient, and it represents the caller’s voice signature to you (64 kbps downstream)

Back when dial-up modems were the norm, 64 kbps was an impressive amount of information. A single VoIP call would have been almost too much for that modem to handle. But now, most telecoms and cable companies provide 10/100 megabytes per second. This means you get 10 MEGAbytes per second upstream, and 100 mbps downstream. Take a brief look at the math on this.

10 simultaneous calls * 64 kbps = 640 kbps

100 simultaneous calls * 64 kbps = 6.4 mbps

So, a normal, run-of-the-mill, 10/100 Internet service will enable way more than 100 calls at the same time. Keep in mind that this just considers the lesser of the two, upload speeds. If all you had to do was listen, then you could hear way more than 1,000 callers simultaneously. But since you need to talk too, upstream communications is your bottleneck. You can only have between 100 and 200 conversations at once. Sorry about that.

SMBs don’t need to worry about bandwidth. They should be more concerned with infrastructure. Next week, we delve into the real meat of this series: common causes of real sound quality issues.