Ask the Experts: How Do VoIP Protocols and Codecs Impact Call Quality?

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle discusses how design decisions around protocols and codecs can either positively or negatively impact customer call quality with Evolve IP’s Scott Kinka. Learn more about UCaaS from the Evolve IP team here:

Andrew: Okay, jumping back into our next Ask the Experts session. I’ve asked back to the studio again and our good friend and smart guy, Scott Kinka, CTO of Evolve IP, to talk about something really geeky like protocols and codecs. Scott, welcome back to the studio, man.
Scott: Thanks for having me.
Andrew: All right. Cool. Hey, protocols and codecs. I mean we broke this down already in one of our lessons here, but I wanted to get inside your brain to understand why this should really matter to Sales Partners and customers. How can design decisions around protocols used and what codecs are being used, how can that impact either positively or negatively a customer experience?
Scott: Yeah, great question. So, I think the key for everybody to note here is that the quality of a call and amount of bandwidth that it consumes on the provider’s network are inverse. Right, so as one goes up, the other goes down. Bottom line on this. Oh, I should say they go up together really is what it boils down to. If you want a higher quality, you’re going to consume more bandwidth. And that’s really the concern that you have when you’re going through that.
So, as an example: G729 is probably the most commonly used protocol on SIP, which is the most common version of deployment that you see out there in a hosted VoIP type arrangement. It consumes about 30kb’s per second on average. Pretty steady state consumption during a call. But because of that and the compression that’s required to make that happen, it’s max MOS score–which is a potentially in voice quality is 4.0–which is equivalent to a very good cell phone call or an average toll call.
Right? So you really need to consider, “All right, well is this okay?” For most people, it might be. It’s a matter of how much bandwidth do I have versus what my VoIP scenario is. 7/11 goes all the way up to 90k, you know, on average consistent consumption. But we’re going to be at toll or better from a quality perspective.
Then something like high def, which is a 722 protocol, is going to be up over 100k per call but not surprisingly, right? Much better than toll quality. What they would consider to be HD or you’d consider to be CD-style quality. So it’s really the matter of the decision of how much bandwidth do I have versus how much quality do I want on an individual voice call.
Andrew: Got it. Makes sense. It seems like back in the day people were really interested in 729 because bandwidth was still relatively expensive. As bandwidth prices have come down dramatically, is that becoming less of an issue in that they’re now saying, “Hey, I don’t care if it’s 100k per call, I want that high def experience.”
Scott: Yeah, it really is and you know in other technologies are helping aside from just the bandwidth. So you may have seen in other pieces a little bit about our Cloud Connect product which is a bandwidth aggregation product. So, you know, customers are getting these large chunks of bandwidth and combining them publicly.
So, bandwidth really isn’t as much of a concern. So much so that we’ve really changed sort of our default delivery mechanism. 29 and then the customer could opt into 11. To 11 and the customer could opt down to 29 if that was the scenario, right. We’re going in there with the assumption that bandwidth is generally not a problem but of course it’s a design consideration that always comes into the service delivery process.
Andrew: Yeah, very cool. Real simple, man. Thanks for breaking that down for us, Scott.
Scott: Sure.
Andrew: Good stuff, good stuff. That’s Scott Kinka, CTO of Evolve IP, one of the esteemed faculty here at the Cloud Services University. Scott, thanks for jumping in.
Scott: Certainly.
Andrew: Guys, make sure you check out their learning center. Lots of amazing stuff there. Get smart about how Evolve IP is solving real problems for real business customers. You can grow big with Evolve IP in both the UCaaS and cloud space. So, Scott thanks for your time and everyone, good selling.