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VoIP - Soft Phone

VoIP and bandwidth optimization

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has exploded in popularity. VoIP services that connect to conventional telephone services (publically switched telephone network or PSTN) have become ubiquitous. More and more individuals and businesses use VoIP as their primary phone service in large part because it saves them money and because their Internet service provider promotes its use.

Skype is an example of another application of VoIP technology. Skype supports unlimited free calling between Skype users through an application installed on a computer (softphone). Cellular companies now offer VoIP options in an effort to conserve the finite capacity of their towers and to provide service in areas with poor or non-existent cellular service.

The algorithms used to convert sounds into digital signals are referred to as codecs (shorthand for code/decode). Once the sounds are in digital format they can be sent over the Internet or a private IP network. If the destination is a phone on the PSTN, the signal is converted back to a regular telephone signal before it goes onto the PSTN. VoIP calls can originate directly from a computer, from a VoIP phone, from a smartphone, or from a traditional analog phone connected to a VoIP adapter.

The quality of VoIP calls depends upon a number of factors. Sound quality begins with the codec used to convert analog sounds to digital packets and back again. Regardless of how good the conversion may be, if there is insufficient bandwidth allocated to the call, VoIP packets will not arrive at the other end and audio quality will suffer. (Think cellular calls on the edge of coverage where packet loss is high.)

Most VoIP implementations deploy some form of quality of service (QoS) to manage bandwidth. When VoIP calls come online, the QoS manager assigns the call a predefined amount of bandwidth. But QoS cannot guarantee there is sufficient bandwidth for the call.

Acceleration Systems bandwidth optimization service is so efficient it can offload as much as 90% of the network traffic. That means more bandwidth for calls. In addition, Acceleration Systems employs a first-to-market, advanced QoS algorithm that instantaneously senses changes in the upstream capacity of the Internet connection and regulates the rate that LAN-side applications send data to the Internet gateway device. This avoids long queues in the buffer at the gateway where QoS is applied. Conventional QoS may prioritize VoIP packets, but if the QoS engine does not see the packets because they are stuck in a long queue, call quality suffers.

Acceleration Systems’ dynamic QoS optimizes call quality even over highly contended connections with fluctuating uplink speeds. While Acceleration Systems’ QoS is especially beneficial on extreme links like wireless and satellite, all VoIP calls benefit regardless of the type connection.