Small businesses are increasingly turning to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) as their primary means of communicating with their clients. The developing technology is enhancing the ability of a company to reach consumers in far-flung parts of the world without paying additional charges for international calling. All things considered, VoIP is becoming a must-have for any business.

While installation is not difficult and most IP phones are easy to use, there is a prerequisite that IT must ensure: bandwidth. Because the phones use broadband connections, in most cases, small businesses with limited bandwidth may have trouble including a VoIP platform with their existing Internet use. Before implementing VoIP, understand the bandwidth requirements involved.

Bandwidth basics
There are two types of bandwidth that a VoIP system will use: upload and download, according to Telephonation. The upload bandwidth is the data a company sends to the Internet – in this case, outgoing calls and voice data – while download bandwidth is the data received. The rule of thumb is, the more data a business has, the better the VoIP platform will work.

Typically, VoIP calls will use 90 kilobits per second (kbps). But most VoIP providers are flexible and allow calls at lower bandwidths. While the highest setting is recommended, calls can still go through at lower outputs, but the quality will suffer.

According to PC World, VoIP systems operating with inadequate bandwidth will lose data packets. If the network is unable to handle the necessary voice data, conversations won't sound right and the device won't function properly. With the correct bandwidth in place, conversations will be clear and coherent.

Fortunately, VoIP systems are adaptable and scalable. For companies that use cable or DSL Internet, there is more flexibility with bandwidth, as these systems have high kbps rates. If a small business does not want to spend the additional money on VoIP-enabled phones, it can opt to convert the existing telephones via routers that will send calls out over the Internet. As long as small businesses are aware of the bandwidth requirements as they roll out a new VoIP system, they should not encounter any unforeseen obstacles.

Telecom industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in telecommunications equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.