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Beyond bandwidth: unlocking superior VoIP and video performance



Have you ever had annoying issues like calls dropping or fuzzy voices during video chats? These common issues are about more than just a slow internet connection. Read on to discover why blaming bandwidth alone falls short and what you can do to level up your online communication game. Find out how cutting-edge technology such as SD-WAN boosts your internet, making glitchy calls a thing of the past. Dive into the article and learn how to elevate your online communication experience.

More than ever, companies are relying on cloud-based VoIP, video and collaboration applications across their workforce. Having high-quality communication services is crucial to both employee productivity and customer experiences. Howeversome organizations frequently experience the pain of technology-induced reliability and performance issues, such as dropped calls, stalled meetings and poor voice quality. While investing in more bandwidth may seem like a solution, delivering always-available cloud-based communications is a complex task that requires more than just adding bandwidth capacity. 

Don’t (just) blame bandwidth for your poor video performance  

UC applications like voice and video are more sensitive to performance issues than many other Software as a Service (SaaS) apps, including those for team collaboration (messaging, sharing) and data storage. UC apps can suffer from: 

  • Latency—the short delay between one person speaking and another hearing the voice; 
  • Packet loss, when small units of data are missing, resulting in periods of silence or a robotic-sounding voice; 
  • And jitter—scrambled or garbled voice caused by data packets arriving out of order. 

As UC usage increases, network traffic and bandwidth use also escalate—and so does the potential for these performance problems. 

The real-time nature of UC applications makes them particularly sensitive to connection issues. As you work to understand the reasons for poor UC performance, consider the following: 

  1. Do you have enough bandwidth to meet your updated needs? More importantly, are you using it efficiently? Purchasing additional bandwidth may help, but it’s a partial solution. Increasing bandwidth alone is usually expensive without necessarily improving overall performance. How you are using that bandwidth may be the key.
  2. Is your network optimized for the cloud? Many organizations have quickly adopted UC applications without readying their networks for digital transformation. Conventional networks follow the hub and spoke model: a central data center is the hub to which all branch offices or sites are connected (via the spokes). In this configuration, WAN networks pull all traffic, even traffic destined for the cloud, through that central hub before connecting to the internet. This indirect route, controlled by traditional routers and site-to-site WAN connections, is not always cost-effective when call quality and uptime are business or service-critical.
  3. Does your network prioritize voice and UC traffic at the application layer? Because the internet delivers all traffic more or less indiscriminately, there’s no inherent quality of service (QoS). With QoS, typically delivered over traditional networks like MPLS, you decide what and how traffic is prioritized to ensure predictable service. Without QoS, UC apps delivered over the internet are done in a “best effort” manner, leading to uneven availability. As noted above, voice and video traffic are highly susceptible to latency and jitter, so application prioritization is critical. 

Take control of voice and video quality with SD-WAN  

Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) is a technology that businesses are using to help optimize their networks for cloud applications like UC. SD-WAN is a virtual WAN architecture that connects users directly to the internet to reach cloud-based apps instead of routing through a data center. Removing this step increases speed, agility and the ability to scale up quickly, allowing for much more efficient bandwidth use. It also provides high-quality voice and video for better communication with employees and customers. 

Integrating SD-WAN with your UC applications improves explicitly performance on several fronts: 

  1. Application-aware routing: SD-WAN can intelligently prioritize traffic on your network or over different links using quality of experience (QoE) policies determined by your detailed business requirements. For example, you may delegate VoIP or video application priority to specific locations or users over others.
  2. Control and visibility: SD-WAN solutions use a single dashboard to offer visibility into all the applications on your network. Among other benefits, this control panel enables you to set up automated rules to recognize and prioritize critical applications like voice and video.
  3. Better reliability: Multiple redundant network connections in your SD-WAN network provide failover and business continuity protection. If your primary line fails, the network automatically switches your most important traffic to an alternate or secondary wired or wireless LTE connection. 
  4. Automation and agility: Many SD-WAN solutions offer network self-healing, network design, and scalability tools, using policies and machine learning to monitor and adjust data paths actively for critical applications. 

SD-WAN Benefits: Top 7 Advantages for Multi-Location Companies 

Assess your network needs and find the right solution 

Don’t let unreliable VoIP and video experiences undercut your efforts. You need to understand exactly why you’re running into problems so you can find the right fix, the first time. 

By improving and streamlining your communication systems, you can benefit all levels of your operations. Your IT teams will have more time to focus on other projects, and everyone will have more confidence in planning and executing day-to-day tasks. 

As the leading multi-carrier provider in Canada, GoCo will ensure your SD-WAN implementation delivers efficiency, security, scalability, agility and simplified management, resulting in a greater network for the uninterrupted performance of your cloud-based apps. Request a demo to discover and try the SD-WAN capabilities for your business.

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