The key to any hosted VoIP service is quality of service also referred to as (QoS). This is the technology that insures there is enough bandwidth for the voice to be transmitted and received without any echoes or jitter. One of the key differences in providers is how they provide QoS. I will break down the basic types of hosted voip service. This should help comparing the hosted voip service options out there.
Public Voice Network Providers:
These providers typically do not provide QoS all the way to your handset. They rely on large internet connections, and hope that there is very little other usage happening on the same connection.
Pros: Service is typically inexpensive. There are a lot of companies that provide service like this because there are relatively fewer technology barriers to entry.
Cons: No guarantee of call quality. Self install required. Meaning you will have to setup and install all of the equipment yourself.
Private Voice Network Providers:
Private providers require their customers to also receive an internet connection from them. This allows the provider to utilize QoS from the customers site.
Pros: Call quality is guaranteed as long as you’re at your home office. Installed by selling company
Cons: You are required to purchase a circuit from the selling company. Call quality is only guaranteed when you are on the selling company’s circuit. Once a phone is used in a remote location, or the office moves, you no longer have guaranteed call quality.
Blended Voice Network Providers:
A blended network provider uses an edge device to provide QoS all the way to the customer site over existing connections.
Pros: BYOB (bring your own bandwidth), you can use your existing Internet connection provided it is sized correctly. Call quality is guaranteed when phones are behind the edge device. Your company can move, and you will still have guaranteed call quality.
Cons: Existing internet must have the appropriate capacity, if not a new circuit may be needed.