One of the benefits of the traditional landline from the by-gone era was reliability. Not only did your landline just work, its quality was pretty much the same regardless of where you were. It wasn't until the arrival of the PBX and in-building wiring from third parties before we started to see issues with call quality.
Well OTT Voice calling pretty much is like the latter. A crapshoot based on so many different factors that what should be a great sounding call can be filled with packet loss, jitter and even buffering. Let's look at what contributes to that:
- Internal network-you may be sitting on the fastest, fattest and most reliable broadband connection around, but if your in-house LAN (local area network) isn't set up to prioritize voice (or video) traffic and all of a sudden everyone comes back from lunch and logs on to get their email, upload a few files, or also make calls, you're call just went to crap.
- Your upstream is only so big.....Let's face it, you can only move so many packets at one time. If your upload speed is limited and there's lots going on over your connection, your call will be impacted.
- Your building or neighborhood router to the network is old. For example a 10meg switch vs. a gigabit switch in the network or a small capacity router anywhere creates a traffic jam.
- Your telecom provider loves to play "hot potato" with your call traffic. That means they want to pass the call over the public internet as fast as possible vs. owning the call traffic for as long as possible. In the former case, the carrier saves money. In the latter, they pay more, but control quality.
- The carrier doesn't have regional data centers they pass traffic to..Smart providers put data centers as close to where their customers are or will be. They then utilize a series of IP networks and have POPs (point of presences) to manage keeping the calls on-net before moving them off-net to the PSTN or mobile network. Those data centers and POP should co-locate with as many service providers as possible (these are known as meet-points) to minimize the risk of delays in connecting a call.
Bottom line is make sure your local network can handle voice, while picking a carrier which can handle the traffic the right way, to insure that call quality really is there for you.