VoIP QoS: What Is It?
QoS stands for ‘quality of service’ and refers to the priority your network gives to certain types of traffic.
For our purposes, this means the priority of voice data across your network. Since the user experience for both parties when conducting a call is very sensitive to latency (the delay or ‘lag’ between one side speaking and the other hearing them), it becomes important that this latency is kept to a minimum. One method for preventing or minimising such latency is to give voice data priority on the network, so that VoIP data packets are whisked to the front of the line, as it were, and handled ahead of other requests and packets.
How Can I Configure VoIP QoS?
VoIP QoS is a function handled by your network router. Almost all modern business routers will offer QoS functionality and some even have this configured by default. The Draytek Vigor V2865 series, for example, offers an ‘Auto Voice’ VLAN that automatically prioritises VoIP calls as they pass through the router without the need for additional configuration.
If your router doesn’t offer QoS, then this is not something that you’ll be able to take advantage of, since it’s the intelligence built into the router that provides a means of interfacing with your network traffic through the use of routing rules.
The method of configuring QoS for your router will depend on its make and model. Yay.com has several FAQs discussing how to configure VoIP QoS on your router. If the make and model you have is not covered, the method is likely covered in your device’s user guide, which you’ll be able to find online.
For the modern workplace, QoS is even more useful because it allows for the prioritisation of video data as well as voice data. Those using a unified communications platform like Yay.com will be able to configure their router to allow low-latency video conferencing for meetings between remote workers and those in-office.
How Important Is It to Configure VoIP QoS?
If you use a router without QoS options, or if you neglect to configure it, there will be consequences for the quality of your VoIP calls. The busier your network, the more likely you are to experience such problems. QoS was originally introduced as a means of dealing with packet loss and jitter, both issues which can result in a problematic caller experience. We’d therefore certainly recommend configuring VoIP QoS if your router allows for it and, if it does not, purchasing a business router that offers this functionality.
Business networks are put through their paces daily, with large numbers of clients connecting to various access points to send and receive large quantities of network traffic. If your experience with VoIP hasn’t met your expectations thus far, it could be worth looking at the quality of your network hardware and how it is configured. If the quality hardware needed to support VoIP, alongside every other demand your business places on its network every day, is not present, you are likely to run into issues.
If you’re a small business that has recently switched to VoIP to handle the recent rise in remote working, you may find your network struggling to deal with the new demand when staff return to the office over the coming weeks. Quality network hardware is available from our sister company NetXL, including excellent business routers and network switches, VoIP phones and headsets and other IP hardware.