Internet speeds are much faster than the connections of the dial-up days, but there's still work to be done when it comes to clear and efficient communications. This isn't about nitpicking for the highest voice quality; there are still Internet services out there that disconnect users almost hourly or provide speeds far lower than planned. If you or your business have had Internet connection problems, here's a bit of insight into what could be happening and how an Information Technology (IT) services company can help.
Understanding Upload and Download for Voice
Voice communications, like many streaming services, are far more sensitive than simply loading a website or downloading a file.
With websites and file downloads, you're downloading a single, static objects for a single result. Sure, some websites may have animated pictures or changing graphics, but they are static for long enough to be read or clicked before being replaced by another static file or resource. If something fails, the file or part can be sent again to fix the error.
When using the Internet for voice, you can't simply send the sound of a voice again. Your voice is converted from the analog sound to a digital representation of that sound and then sent in real time. The Internet can't simply send a small spec of data that represents a certain part of your voice tone. When this information goes missing, it's represented by warped sounds such as "robotic" voices and completely lost audio. You can repeat yourself, but that repeat can be lost as well.
Your voice system's download must be fast enough to receive information from someone else's voice communications, and your upload must be fast enough to take in and convert your voice without missing too much of the audio quality. Maintaining a high-quality Internet connection depends on the Internet service provider, but you need to consider load balancing as well.
Load Balancing Keeps Networks Efficient
Everything in a network is pulling from a limited amount of resources. Your upload and download speeds are actually capacity levels going out of and coming into your network, and some systems can hog the resources if not managed properly.
Consider a household full of heavy downloaders and streamers. When one person downloads a large file at maximum speed, web browsing, video-streaming, and other Internet services are slower. The video may become choppy, Internet voice communications may stutter, and it'll take longer to download other files.
Modern Internet access has resolved this issue for most residential and business users. The download speed of the first heavy downloader will slow down so that other downloaders have a chance, and although there is still a marked quality difference, using the Internet is easier.
This is load balancing, and things can be configured to prioritize different services. In most standard business configurations, voice is given the higher priority since it doesn't pose a major bandwidth (network capacity) threat due to the relatively small size of voice data. Voice and other streaming services are also more obviously affected by network load demand.
There are many ways to divide the network load for communications and other services. Contact an IT services company to discuss your network's needs and to browse different service levels.