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Is VoIP Sound Quality As Good As Regular Telephone Lines?

Aug 17, 2007
The question of whether VoIP can provide the same level of audio quality as regular traditional phone lines is one that is raised by many people new to VoIP. Here we give you some idea of what to expect when relaying your audio calls over the internet and how you can ensure the best service delivery.

According to Brix Networks, a company that creates monitoring and diagnosis tools for VoIP, the quality of calls over VoIP, in general, is getting worse. A recent study highlighted that nearly 20% of all calls were of unacceptable quality, a rise over last years figures.

At first hand this might sound all doom and gloom but the reason for this decrease in VoIP sound quality is competing services fighting for bandwidth over the same line. Especially with the recent explosion of video and poor bandwidth management at the user level, applications demanding higher bandwidth will be allocated higher bandwidth. Expect to see this change in future as the modern internet is called to account to distribute traffic in a more effective and fair manner.

How Can We Improve VoIP Sound Quality?

There are many other options available to increase what is already usually superior quality to existing traditional telephone lines. For instance, Acoustic Technologies (creators of high quality semiconductor and software solutions for leading telecom manufacturers) have developed an integrated circuit called the ATH3003 that significantly increases the sound quality of VoIP calls via several mechanisms of detection and processing of voice, echo and noise signal power levels. Whilst such technologies are relatively new, their creation is increasing and costs are lower every year.

Another way to improve sound quality is to improve and create new codecs. Codecs are methods of compressing digital data - you may already be familiar with common video format codecs such as DivX which allow for compression of video or audio into ever decreasing sizes with minimal discernable loss of quality. Likewise, advances in audio compression have increased with the advent of voice transmission over the internet as a reduced bandwidth demand can ultimately lead to lower costs for the end users or the VoIP service providers. Whilst codecs have their own inherent problems such as differing standards between providers, there are common codecs in use with G.723.1 and G729A being the most common ones used for Internet voice transmission.

The Best Way To Improve VoIP Sound Quality

The best thing that you can do is to make sure that there is not too much traffic on the line - when making a phone call, ensure that you are not using bandwidth heavy programs such as video streaming applications and the like. The alternative is to increase the bandwidth of your connection but this is usually an option preferred only by the corporate world. With these simple tips you can ensure that you retain good VoIP sound quality.
About the Author
Christopher Buckley is owner of one of the internet's largest VoIP resources.
To find out more about VoIP sound quality , visit VoIP Digest
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