VoIP hosted vs. being on the EDGE and why it matters

by Leith Martin, CEO/ President
October 1, 2013

There has been tremendous focus on Cloud and how important it is and what it will become in the future.  While I have no doubt of its importance and agree that it is the most efficient way to transmit computing power (The Big Switch, by Nicholas Carr), there is an important link to the local area network (LAN) and the cloud that is essential for most effective use of the cloud.  That is the edge or gateway device.  There has been a massive rush to cloud based services and it has not been without speed bumps.  All data that is transmitted to and from the cloud is not created equal and often it is treated that way.

Image credit: http://oilcountryos.com/

A prime example is hosted PBX and VoIP services.  While it offers many advantages including advanced features, “plug and play” installation, central management and typically inexpensive call plans, it suffers a vital flaw.  Voice quality is often not the best.  The “public internet” is usually blamed for quality shortfalls and while at times packet loss can occur at specific routers in the public domain it is often not the culprit.  The internet’s size and flexibility provides an infinite possibility of paths to make sure your data arrives safely to its destination.  Since VoIP is IP traffic, it is treated the same on the LAN as all the other traffic such as backup, YouTube videos, email, etc.  The problem occurs on the “Edge” of your LAN and the bottleneck is how fast is your internet connection (not to be confused with what you’re paying for but actually what you have available at any given time).  Now back to my original point, not all data is of equal importance.  You don’t care if you receive email a second later (an eternity on the internet), but if you’re unable to hear half the words of the person you are speaking to, then it becomes a problem.

VoIP service is fantastic when it works, but if you are using it the same time as Google Drive is syncing pictures you just dumped from your camera and at the same time employees are streaming a HD video of The Masters at their desktop, then things get a little dicey.  That’s why the edge is so important.  Being on the edge is your opportunity to play traffic cop and let the ambulance (VoIP, credit card processing) get through an intersection first before less mission critical data.

Click here to learn more about how the Equiinet Edge device can help your communication voice be clearer and your business network run more efficiently.