The factors affecting voice quality are the bandwidth of broadband internet connection, hardware, software and the technology underlying each call routed to its destination. The connection bandwidth, system hardware and software are in the control of the user. But, the technological innovations are mainly in hands of the great innovators and your Hosted PBX service provider. I explain you the ABC of QoS (Quality of Service).
What is Quality?
In general sense, quality simply means being able to listen and speak in a clear and continuous voice i.e. without any unwanted noise. In Hosted PBX service, quality of voice and data depends on the following factors:
#Data loss
#Jitters-In VoIP, jitter is the variation in the arrival time of the packets. It is caused by network congestion or route changes.
#Latency is the time delay between the voice input on a VoIP network and the voice output on the destination of the call.
What is Service?
In this context, the service refers to the outsourced maintenance and upgrade of the issues related to an IP PBX server. It generally means what all is offered to the consumers in terms of communication facilities.

Factors affecting QoS for VOIP
- Using CODECs for ensuring QoS

Compression-decompression (CODEC) is a standard whereby, the voice data is compressed to render it less bulky for transfer. A codec encodes the voice signals into digital data that it compresses into lighter packets that are then transported over the Internet. At the destination, these packets are normally decompressed to their original size, and converted back to analog voice again, so that the user can hear original voice of the sender.

A codec is not only used for compression, but also for encoding so that an intruder sitting on the VOIP network can’t track the sent information. It is where the efficiency of the compression software comes into action.
VoIP encodes and compresses voice data in such a manner that some of the elements of the audio stream are lost. This is called lossy compression. This loss is compensated such that it does not affect the voice quality to a large extent. For instance, the sound that cannot be heard by the human ear and the silent areas of the conversation are discarded since they are useless. Moreover, some compression technologies incur some loss in terms of data bits and packets after compression. This results in bad voice quality.

Now, ensuring good voice quality is in the hands of your Hosted PBX service provider. If the service provider uses the right compression software, your conversations via IP phones will be of best quality; else you might have complains. The compression technologies in use today are so advanced that the voice output is perfect. But the area of concern is an intelligent choice of the compression software because different compression software concentrates on different types of compression such as data, voice and fax.

- Role of Bandwidth

The availability of network bandwidth required for establishing any VOIP call is the prime factor guarantying the good voice quality. VOIP Bandwidth consumption naturally depends on the CODEC (Compression Decompression Standard) used and the internet connection you are using. The more efficient codec you use less is the bandwidth utilized for each call and thus, more is the bandwidth left for other simultaneous calls. For instance, if you have dial-up connection, you will not experience great quality of service. Moreover, a broadband connection works right for VOIP calls, as long as it has not been shared with many other communication applications.

- Equipments should be best in quality

The hardware equipment you use for VOIP, can greatly affect your call quality. It is therefore advised to research the best quality hardware equipments as possible before investing on them. Moreover, it might be a possibility that the hardware you choose is the best in the world but your voice quality is not up to the mark because you are not using the same correctly. Thus, my advice would be that you should get yourself a Hosted PBX and shift all the hassles to your hosted PBX service provider.
- Router

For setting up a Router for transferring calls to their desired destination, you need to focus on:
# Echo cancellation techniques employed
# setting up of the VOIP PBX phone system under Firewall

-Check where your hardware is located

If you are using hosted PBX, then this heading addresses your Hosted PBX service provider but if you are using an On-Premise VOIP PBX, you need to understand that VoIP equipment interfere with each other thus producing noise and other problems. Moreover, if your ATA is positioned too close to your broadband router, you might experience voice quality problems. Thus, in order to avoid dropped calls and echoes, you should position them at a distance.

- Irregularities due to Weather

Due to thunderstorms and heavy rain, sometimes the broadband lines develop static electricity. It causes disturbances and distortions in voice traffic. But, it is a thing, not to worry for. You can easily get rid of static by unplug your hardware (ATA, router or phone) and plugging it back again. After that you can experience the original QoS of your system. At times, changing the cables solves the problem completely, but this can be a very costly solution.

QoS should be your main concern, if you are looking for a good Hosted PBX service. After all, you are making calls to hear the message that the other person has to deliver to you. If you can’t hear what the other one has to say, your investment is just a waste and whole of the purpose of buying the Hosted PBX business phone goes defeated.

Author's Bio: 

Technology specialist at ‘Adom Brown' is a specialist in Hosted PBX Systems for small and medium business enterprises. The Real PBX is a leading PBX Provider that manages the Business PBX Platform. Their IP PBX Systems deliver business class voice quality, real time customer assistance, scalable office PBX VOIP system and more.