Though much has been made of the power of modern communications channels (think instant messaging, e-mail, SMS, even social media), the fact of the matter is voice is still the lifeblood of many enterprises. When it comes to call quality and reliability, and management and security, businesses can’t afford to leave that up to chance, particularly when it comes to mission-critical conversations with customers and business partners.
Service-level agreements have gone a long way to reassuring end users that they’re getting the reliable voice service that they’re used to when transitioning from the POTS to VoIP. SLAs for standalone VoIP have been a fixture in the last four or five years, helping speed business owners’ comfort levels. As unified communications is increasingly adopted, the focus on reliability across a distributed footprint (and at times unmanaged links) has become even more laser-like for business owners.
When evaluating quality metrics for VoIP, it’s important to remember how calls are delivered. They’re broken up into small packets of information, which are then sent out over IP networks, each finding its own path through the Internet (or a private network). The packets are then reassembled at the destination in the correct order.
There are a few things that can affect the quality of real-time VoIP communications. For end users, these come across in the form of echoes, choppiness, and delay. Typically, these call quality issues are seen when calls are made over the public Internet, which is an unmanaged network. Using applications like Skype and other UC voice functions means that calls are at the mercy of the vacillations in traffic and ISP capacity. When the transmission network is overloaded or bandwidth is too slow, it can result in packet loss, latency (packets arriving late), and jitter (packets being reassembled in the wrong order).
It’s important to keep in mind that when UC applications are implemented over managed connections, it allows that UC provider to MANAGE the connections. This is the typical approach taken by both cloud-based and premise-based UC solutions.
That said, not all managed approaches are created equal.
There’s a certain other UC provider out there that recently announced what it called an “industry first,” guaranteeing 99.99 percent SLA compliance (what we call “4 nines”). It’s worth noting that Star2Star can guarantee voice call quality across the unified communications footprint with 5 nines (99.999 percent)—when you consider this along with Star2Star’s failover capabilities, this is even better than POTS for reliability—thanks to the unique approach that we take to UC deployment.
Star2Star delivers the benefits of both on-premise and cloud deployments, with a unqiue cloud architecture that consists of an on-premise StarBox® Voice Optimized SD-WAN and a suite of cloud-based services hosted at highly-reliable, redundant data centers.
Most hosted solutions have on-premise hardware, just as Star2Star does. But the difference between Star2Star’s StarBox® Voice Optimized SD-WAN and competitors’ hardware is what’s inside. Our StarBox® Voice Optimized SD-WAN takes the place of a typical edge device, while also providing numerous additional features like built-in quality-of-service and call control.
Know about VoIP quality when talking to customers and potential customers. To find out more about our 5-nines reliability guarantee and what else makes us different, click here.