How Much Data Does VoIP Use?

The amount of data needed for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) can vary depending on how you use your VoIP service system. To find the bandwidth you need, you will need to consider how many calls you will be running at the same time, how much quality you need in your phone calls, and how you optimize your service. Once you can answer these questions, you can intimately understand the needs of your system.

First, you will need to ask yourself a few questions. Record your answers and have a conversation with your vendor about your phone service needs, Internet service availability and other issues.

In this post, we will help you identify the key considerations with planning your VoIP data use. From there, you should be able to do more to choose the right Internet service and VoIP service combination for your own call volume and your own phone needs. At the end of this article, if you still have questions about VoIP and how it works, our Top10VoIP website features a variety of articles about VoIP, getting set up with service, using your new VoIP system and more. You can even find reviews and information about VoIP providers here.

Article Contents:

  1. How to Understand Your VoIP Call Volume
  2. Determining How Much Bandwidth You Need to Function
  3. Getting the Right Amount of Bandwidth
  4. Optimize Your Call Quality
  5. Additional Considerations and Where to Start

Keep reading for insight into how VoIP works and how much data it uses. We hope this article provides a useful introduction to VoIP bandwidth usage and functionality.

1. How to Understand Your VoIP Call Volume

Call volume, or how many calls out and in you have at the same time and how much calling consistently happens at your company, can help you determine what you need from your VoIP service. If you understand your call volume accurately, then you have something meaningful to work with as you move forward with planning out your VoIP data use.

Keep in mind that your VoIP usage can use a tremendous amount of data. Generally speaking, more calls and a higher call volume can cost you more in Internet charges (particularly if you actively pay for bandwidth) or strain your Internet connection if you also use it for other activities. This is why figuring out your call volume is so important. Once you can quantify your call volume, from there you can make meaningful decisions regarding your VoIP system.

For instance, if you have a single call generally occurring at any given time, then you will probably need at least 100 kbps upload and download. For ten calls, this number becomes ten times bigger. This means you need a higher bandwidth, but it also means you need a higher speed, too. A faster connection can help ensure the quality of your calls meets your expectations.

Upload speed is usually slower than download speed, which is something to keep in mind if you decide to run a speed test on your Internet connection. Speed tests can help you figure out your current speed–if the speed you have right now might not meet your call volume needs, then you may want to consider getting a different service or choosing a different Internet plan.

2. Determining How Much Bandwidth You Need to Function

So, how do you determine your bandwidth requirements? A higher call volume means your bandwidth requirements will be higher, generally. VoIP uses a lot of bandwidth and this amount can vary moment-by-moment as different numbers of calls occur. Also, as quality levels differ, or as your VoIP system compresses and decompresses data during transit to its destination.

If you are actively using your Internet connection to transmit other data too besides VoIP calls, then you might end up needing higher levels of bandwidth to keep your VoIP calls high-quality and reduce latency. Having a second connection for your VoIP service or reducing how much bandwidth your other online activity uses can help tremendously. If you have a smaller business, it may be fairly simple to just ask other departments to avoid doing extensive downloads or using Internet-heavy applications while calls are in progress. Or, you may need to conduct phone calls at certain times of the day when other departments are less active online. If possible, acquiring more bandwidth by changing your Internet connection or getting a different Internet Service Provider can help.

3. Getting the Right Amount of Bandwidth

Not sure how to get the right amount of bandwidth? Usually, it is better to have somewhat more bandwidth than what you actually need for your VoIP calls and other usage. Having extra bandwidth available can help during peak usage periods, too. You can ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for advice on this, as they may be able to recommend particular amounts of bandwidth to have available in your connection. Find out how much bandwidth they offer, too, so you can choose the correct amount for your needs.

4. Optimize Your Call Quality

Servers are sometimes able to prioritize phone communications so that call quality remains high and other applications do not interfere with calls as much. Your call quality settings can be changed, too, to use less bandwidth–although it may be difficult then to hear voice calls appropriately and reduce call problems. Keeping call quality high is important to helping VoIP calls function similarly to how traditional phone services work. If you plan on replacing your phone service with VoIP, then it makes sense to try and optimize your call quality so the quality levels are as high as possible without compromising on bandwidth use.

Even changing security settings on your call data can impact how much bandwidth is used, so this is also something to keep in mind. Ask a VoIP security expert for help before reconfiguring any security settings or changing call quality, however, so you can protect your phone network and avoid creating problems with your system.

5. Additional Considerations and Where to Start

If you are still unsure about bandwidth, Internet speeds and call quality, then you may want to ask your vendor for help. Your VoIP vendor can help you identify ways to use your service more effectively and choose the right quality levels. Your ISP may have valuable advice, too.

Companies that do not subscribe to VoIP yet should shop around carefully for a vendor after determining how much bandwidth and speed their current ISP offers. Running speed and bandwidth tests can help you arrive at specific numbers and know where to go next.

On our website, we have other articles about call quality, finding the right vendor for you and setting up a new VoIP connection. Be sure to prepare a list of questions if you are shopping for a VoIP service. Once you know more about your Internet connection, too, you can go forward with picking the right vendor and phone plan. Different phone plans offer different services, this is true, however, particular services may also be right or wrong for your Internet service, making you adjust your plans. This is why doing your homework and researching your options is important. These needs may change, too, and then you will need to change something about your phone service or equipment.