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The Ins and Outs of Latency

Posted by Allison Boccamazzo on December 20, 2016 at 9:17 AM

When it comes to any appointment, meeting or call, chances are you’re going to make sure you’re not late. If you are, you’ll begin working off an unorganized schedule that will leave you feeling muddled and hectic. If you ask us, this same rule of thumb should apply to the technology behind VoIP calls; voice packets that are “late,” so to speak, will only disrupt call quality and efficiency. This is exactly what makes network latency an issue for so many businesses today.

Latency, also known as delay, refers to the time it takes a voice packet to reach its destination. Certain speeds are acceptable; however, once speeds deviate from the norm, calls can quickly become affected. Speeds can be affected by such things as overloaded routers, for example, that may have to wait before they can prioritize packets. Speeds can also be affected by something as simple as distance; the longer a packet must travel, the greater chance there is for it to take an indirect routing path. Overall, there are three types of latency that affect VoIP networks today: propagation delay, handling delay, and queuing delay (you can read more about these different types of delays here).


If you’re new to this concept, think of it this way: you’re on your way to a doctor’s appointment when you encounter unexpected traffic; congestion that will add 15 minutes to your overall travel time. By the time you get to your appointment, your patient experience is to some extent adversely affected. You may have to reschedule, for instance, or you’re now only allowed a fraction of the time you were originally allotted. Similarly, when voice packets are delayed, the call experience becomes negatively affected. The affect, however, will vary depending on the type of and the cause.

So, how can you lose latency for good? You can never completely avoid it; however, our suggestion for minimizing it is simple: prioritize. Specifically, prioritize your VoIP network traffic by using multi-switching services and a quality VoIP router. This will correct many latency-related issues and will ensure first-rate business VoIP phone service.

This blog is a reminder that call quality is indeed critical; however, there are several other key considerations that VoIP business leaders must make to ensure ongoing success. Check out this blog to see what we deem the top 10 technical pitfalls of running a VoIP business in whole.

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Tags: VoIP, Telecom, Latency

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