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I am considering changing our current business phone system to VoIP and I'm trying to get information on whether businesses who use VoIP use it on a DSL line or if they switched to fiber optic cable, as well as information about their VoIP service providers and how well it works.

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I am considering changing our current business phone system to VoIP and I'm trying to get information on whether businesses who use VoIP use it on a DSL line or if they switched to fiber optic cable, as well as information about their VoIP service providers and how well it works.

TIA
I work from home over voip. I didn't start this job until after I had fiber so not much help there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I work from home over voip. I didn't start this job until after I had fiber so not much help there.
Do you mind saying what your fiber speed is? My understanding is most vendors offer several choices for speed (50Mbps, 100Mbps, 500Mbps, 1Gbps). CenturyLink (Salem area) is telling me I have to get fiber and pay a minimum of $1,000 per month to be able to get VoIP from them.
 

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Do you mind saying what your fiber speed is? My understanding is most vendors offer several choices for speed (50Mbps, 100Mbps, 500Mbps, 1Gbps). CenturyLink (Salem area) is telling me I have to get fiber and pay a minimum of $1,000 per month to be able to get VoIP from them.
What speed is your DSL and how many phones are we talking about?
 

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We use Microsft Teams at work. Our office has Comcast business cable modem. Works ok. Our customer uses Teams also. Windows 10 task manager will tell you how much bandwidth you are using on a Teams call. Multiple by number of expected simultaneous phone calls and pick your bandwidth.

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I've been building, installing, maintaining VoIP systems aboard vessels for over a decade. Some have dozens of extensions, paging, vessel-wide alarming so I get into the details of building good-sized VoIP systems. They are certainly a way to have tons of features and save a lot of money over a PBX style system. On a vessel, the bandwidth and latency can be horrible while at sea due to the extremely slow connections of satellite-based Internet (until Starlink showed up) - so saying DSL won't work is an oversimplification. It can work great, but depends on a lot of factors. I also use VoIP at my business, with no server, using Starlink, AAstra phones, and voip.ms as my service provider: works great for a small office and is crazy inexpensive.

You need at least 100 Kbps - both directions - and latency under 70mS to get any kind of decent connection, at a rock bottom minimum. Those won't be great calls, but will work. Latency is super important or the echo will drive you bonkers. Keep in mind too that DSL is not symmetrical: fast downloads, slow uploads. So your upload speed will be your determining factor with an asymmetrical internet connection. Many DSL connections will do that but if you are in an office using DSL, you better darn well have a prioritizing router or somebody watching youtube (guaranteed nowadays) will kill you off.

You also want to match your phone choice to the codecs supported by your VoIP provider, especially if you have a slower connection, The Codecs are substantially different in their bandwidth and latency requirements and some of the well-known phone brands have poor codec selections (require higher bandwidth or only work with very low latency).

When you have a few extensions, you want to think about how to avoid using your Internet to make calls between extensions. That's when you install a local VoIP server. I've been using the open source Asterisk server and it will do everything you can dream up for a VoIP server, but they can be pretty complicated to set up. The server routes your office calls just on your local Intranet, keeps voicemail local, allows paging, good for adding high end dedicated speakerphones, supports ring groups (multiple phones ring off one call), night ring (all calls to one extension, or straight to voicemail), makes it easy to conference a bunch of callers together...

This is predominantly about having the right router(s) to prioritize VoIP traffic, a reasonably good Internet connection with low latency, a decent VoIP phone (tons of difference, between models and constantly changing), and a reliable voip provider. If you are running anything beyond the smallest office, you should strongly think about redundancy and UPS backup too, especially on your Internet connection. If your Internet goes down AND your phone goes with it, your employees don't like that.
 

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We use Nextiva VOIP phones and it works great at the office, on mobile phones, and via a computer (remote or on the network). We have fiber to our office in Tigard but they work equally well when our employees are working remotely and using their consumer-grade Internet at home. There are numerous providers of VOIP and I'm not sure one is necessarily better than another. I run an IT managed services business and we support these systems for our clients. Happy to have someone visit with you to discuss and maybe figure out how to approach it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've been building, installing, maintaining VoIP systems aboard vessels for over a decade. Some have dozens of extensions, paging, vessel-wide alarming so I get into the details of building good-sized VoIP systems. They are certainly a way to have tons of features and save a lot of money over a PBX style system. On a vessel, the bandwidth and latency can be horrible while at sea due to the extremely slow connections of satellite-based Internet (until Starlink showed up) - so saying DSL won't work is an oversimplification. It can work great, but depends on a lot of factors. I also use VoIP at my business, with no server, using Starlink, AAstra phones, and voip.ms as my service provider: works great for a small office and is crazy inexpensive.

You need at least 100 Kbps - both directions - and latency under 70mS to get any kind of decent connection, at a rock bottom minimum. Those won't be great calls, but will work. Latency is super important or the echo will drive you bonkers. Keep in mind too that DSL is not symmetrical: fast downloads, slow uploads. So your upload speed will be your determining factor with an asymmetrical internet connection. Many DSL connections will do that but if you are in an office using DSL, you better darn well have a prioritizing router or somebody watching youtube (guaranteed nowadays) will kill you off.

You also want to match your phone choice to the codecs supported by your VoIP provider, especially if you have a slower connection, The Codecs are substantially different in their bandwidth and latency requirements and some of the well-known phone brands have poor codec selections (require higher bandwidth or only work with very low latency).

This is predominantly about having the right router(s) to prioritize VoIP traffic, a reasonably good Internet connection with low latency, a decent VoIP phone (tons of difference, between models and constantly changing), and a reliable voip provider. If you are running anything beyond the smallest office, you should strongly think about redundancy and UPS backup too, especially on your Internet connection. If your Internet goes down AND your phone goes with it, your employees don't like that.
RingCentral has a tool that measures jitter (for us, about 2.7ms) and gives you an MOS Score of 4.2. Is there a tool that I can use to measure latency?

Also, is there a good speed test tool out there to see if we're anywhere near the 100Kbps minimum?

We have two DSL networks; the one I would put VoIP on is a hard wired business network that would have very little, if any, streaming.
 

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Here are some Microsoft Teams bandwidth numbers you can use for reference if you go that route. This is 8 people on a phone call with 1 guy sharing his screen. Biggest spike was around 1Mbps download. Remember B = Byte. b = bit. 1 byte = 8 bits. Keep in mind when picking a service provider. I think we have 200Mbps download and 20Mbps upload with Comcast business. We need more upload speed at our office in my opinion.

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Tons of bandwidth/latency testers out there (google 'dsl speed test'). I like speakeasy.net or speedtest.net. Look at ping and jitter. Ping being your latency, jitter being the variation. DSL is all over the map depending how far you are from your central office, it can get slow speed and bad latency if you are a long distance away. On the other hand, frequently it works just fine (with a good router assuring you get the priority). Pay a lot of attention to those upload speeds (the slower number) to determine whether VoIP will work.

For your case, you can just build a low dollar system, no local server, and see how well it works before you cut the cord. Buy the VoIP phones, strongly encourage you to set up a router that prioritizes traffic and automatically handles your redundant DSL, sign up with a VoIP provider and see how it works. You won't have a ton of money into it and if you find you have problems or want more features, you can still build off the stuff you've already purchased and finally cut the cord to your old setup.

I keep harping on the router because it will effectively guarantee you get good quality VoIP. Without it, you are at the mercy of all your Internet activity. One upload hog: do you have Internet-based backup of your systems (I hope so)? That can suck up all your upload bandwidth in a hurry. And the backups can kick in any time during the day...

@joeer77 brings up a good point: if you are using Teams/Zoom/Duo..., how is that working out? If those are working for everyone, VoIP will use less bandwidth since no video. So then you know you are good if Teams has been fine when multiple employees were using it at once.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I ran the speed test at speedtest.net. It shows 46Mbps down and 19.39Mbps up, and the "Ping" was 21ms; is that the latency? The test only went 50 miles from Salem to Portland.

I ran another test at AT&T and it came back with 47/19, ping at 21ms, and jitter at 1.433. That one only went 50 miles as well to CenturyLink in Portland.

Testing at Xfinity showed 41.7/18.4, and a 28ms "Latency".

Are we in the ballpark of VoIP working?
 

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yes, those are very good numbers for the 3-7 phones you are talking about. With a router ensuring your VoIP traffic gets 1st priority, I'd sure give it a shot.
 
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