The Router is a critical link in any VoIP deployment. Most routers that you get from cable companies or that you can purchase at Best Buy for under $100.00 dollars are simply not capable of effectively handling VoIP. A quality VoIP router for a small office costs about $350.00. Routers for larger offices vary based on the number of users at each location and start at $700.00 for 15-users office.
VoIP routers provide the following benefits
- QoS – Quality of Service
- SIP Server Redundancy
- Traffic Shaping
- VoIP Proxy
VoIP Terms Defined
- QoS: stands for Quality of Service: QoS does several things, on a network that shares voice and data, a QoS capable router gives priority to voice traffic. This is important because there will be times when you are on the phone and someone else using your network sends or receives a large file or downloads a video and you do not want this to affect the voice quality of your call. A router that can provide QoS will prevent this from happening.
- SIP Server Redundancy: A quality VoIP Service Provider has servers at more than one location. If one location goes out of service, the secondary or back up location automatically takes over. A true VoIP router will automatically route calls to the back up location if the primary location is out of service. The router you get from your ISP or Best Buy does not have this capability.
- Traffic Shaping: Allows you to decide how much bandwidth to allocate to voice and how much to data. If you give priority to voice traffic, you could use up all your available bandwidth and your computers will not be able to access the internet. VoIP routers have this built in.
- VoIP Proxy: Allows phones on your network to register directly with the PSTN. If your cannot do this your call first has to travel to your VoIP Service Provider’s SIP server and then to the PSTN. Any increase in distance that your VoIP packets have to travel increases the chance of lost packets and other forms of network interference.
Most quality VoIP providers strongly recommend that you install a router designed for VoIP traffic in order to quarantee Quality of Service. They are hesitant to require it because of the higher costs. If your business depends on your phone, you would be wise to get a VoIP router.