Depending on the type of business being considered, the cost of monthly phone services can vary a lot. In case of businesses which rely on extensive direct communication with clients for placing orders, reserving or ordering tickets, customer support, or other kinds of assistance, the bills can hold a very significant share of the total expenses for the company. This is further aggravated by the fact that many businesses want to have separate lines or phone numbers for different departments, executives, employees.
SIP Trunking As A Solution To Cut Telecommunication Expenses
Happily, there are technological solutions like SIP trunking that allow businesses to make or receive calls using the internet. SIP trunks allow initiating or receiving VoIP calls, actions of file transfer, audio or video streaming, etc. A SIP trunk provider uses its infrastructure to establish high-quality connections between a business and its clients throughout the country.
Obviously, there are various hardware configurations that implement this paradigm. Typically, most connections are wired to provide maximum stability. Nevertheless, WiFi routers are also used for this purpose (especially by smaller businesses). Choosing an appropriate router for VoIP calls is of great importance, given that, despite the announced compatibility (with VoIP) by manufacturers, many routers do not ensure a stable enough connection faced with the daily demands in a business setting.
Crucial Features Of A Good VoIP Router
QoS is an abbreviation from Quality of Service and is likely the most important characteristic impacting the stability of VoIP calls. It allows the router to prioritize VoIP connections over other types of traffic (file transfers, messaging, video streaming) and thus, to ensure good quality of the audio, which is the highest priority during an internal or external call.
Lots of applications connected to the Internet in the background (such as Dropbox) or other types of actions during a VoIP session (as listed above) can cause significant spikes in the data traffic, which can ultimately result in packet drop for VoIP calls. While in consumer routers, there are a number of tools to prioritize VoIP traffic, they are far from being as efficient as those used in business-grade routers with VoIP support.
Other important features a business-level VoIP router should have are:
- VLAN support – this allows VoIP traffic to be isolated to certain devices or user groups and prioritized separately from other types of data traffic;
- WAN backup /Load balancing;
- Support for both H.323 and SIP protocols.
Some good business-grade routers in this context are the following: DrayTek Vigor2925Vac, DrayTech Vigor2925Vn plus, SonicWall TZ300 Series, Cisco Small Business RV320, Adtran NetVanta 6355 IP Business Gateway, Adtran NetVanta 3120, Linksys WRT1900AC. Their price ranges roughly from 200 to 3000 dollars due to their different set of functionality, number of ports, etc., but the good news is that they all support QoS and VLAN and most of them also support WAN backup/load balancing.
To conclude, reliable VoIP connections can only be expected from business-grade routers which implement a number of important features, among which the most important is QoS. There is a decent selection of such routers with various sets of features and greatly varying prices, but to get a decent option, one does not have to pay a fortune.