Business communications can mean the difference between connecting clients to talented personnel and frustrating people with bad phone systems.
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What Is VOIP?
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is a way to transmit audio over networks. By using Internet Protocol or IP technology, your voice can be packaged in a way that quickly and efficiently travels to the other side of the conversation.
VOIP technology is part of the greater streaming technology world, but with specific quality of life changes that set the standard apart. Like many network technologies, VOIP follows a set of rules called protocols that determine how the information is used, an IP is just the main protocol.
Another major set of rules involves codecs. If you’ve watched movies or listened to music on the internet prior to Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming sites, you may have heard of codecs in regards to playing certain files properly.
Codec is a portmanteau of COder/DECoder, just as modem mean MODulator DEModulator. For most VOIP users, codecs determine the quality or style of voice data being sent.
There are many codecs available, and there’s no perfect answer to getting the right audio quality. Of the many traits that create a good codec, it’s mostly a balance between high-quality, crisp audio and file size.
Understanding Call Quality Codecs
VOIP quality is taken for granted as internet speeds continue to increase, but moving towards higher quality without addressing file size can be risky.
In general, increasing a file’s quality means increasing the file size. With audio, there are so many audio features that create a sound experience that there’s no obvious way to capture perfect voice recordings.
The echoing, sometimes “flat” or “muffled” sound of a telephone call comes from multiple issues, but mostly the loss of sound. Certain pitches environmental factors create a more whole sound experience, and both microphones and certain codecs cut out certain sounds.
When you use an audio codec that boasts high quality, it does so by including as much sound as possible. There is such a thing as recording empty or useless audio, and codecs need to cut out these blank areas to preserve file size.
But how do you find the blank areas? You don’t use scissors. It’s not like cutting out silence at the beginning or end of a conversation. Every millisecond—and even smaller than that—has small hisses, pops, and other audio artifacts.
These smaller parts may seem silent to the untrained ear or a wave reading, but there could be padding or environmental vibrations that add to the whole experience. Trained sound technicians can hunt through the sound differences, but you can experience the different by adding and removing these seemingly silent blocks and experiencing the quality difference.