17 thoughts on “VoIP Quality, Getting Worse”

  1. Do you think

    a) it’s a change in the quality of the service?

    b) that the pipes aren’t big enough? or . . .

    c) the Telecoms are purposefully degrading the quality of the call?

    I’m betting it’s probably C as they own the Internet Backbone. What’s your bet?

  2. The irony of the situation is, that factually, VoIP is a low-bandwidth application.

    I would say it is the overall lack of QoS that is part of the IP/Internet world that makes VoIP break even on networks that are almost ten time as capacitative than what they used to be a few years ago.

    Thanks to p2p and general absence of applied IP Qos, every VoIP call will remain a blind date for most of us.

    Tariq Mustafa

  3. This is just too much fluff to just sit here and say nothing.

    Voice bandwidth is measured in kilobits per second. Almost all broadband upstream is measured in HUNDREDS of kilobits per second. There should be NO issue with voice quality. Period.

    Even taking on board max contention rates, the actual likelihood of voice quality degradation in a VOIP on broadband environment should be virtually 0.

    If there is degradation, it is because someone is protecting a legacy Voice revenue stream somewhere (read: traffic shaping, throttling).

    And for GigaOM to write about voice degradation as if it were a burden valiantly managed by the heroes who own the networks is a pure distortion. Network owners are there to make money, not to allow end users to run free VOIP apps, and GigaOM should be enough of a critic to know this and not to promote a Network centric view under the guise of independent opinion.

    This will all end badly and as much as network owners want to control what goes on their network, the genie is out of the bottle and end users will eventually run what they want. Don’t believe me? see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BitTorrentprotocolencryption
    to see what Bittorrent is doing to prevent throttling and traffic shaping.

  4. While I recognise lack of clarity on Vonage very few times, I see no issue if I am talking on Skype. I guess then, some thing to do with Vonage than mere lack of bandwidth on the network or Skype is lot better than Vonage in transmitting voice at low bandwidth.

  5. that’s piece makes me giggle–it just sounds like ANOTHER rotten trickle for Vonage (VG). stock closed 6.92 last night–losing 59.3% off the $17 IPO issue, and that was 2 months ago. as for options, maybe the specialist will finally add the 2.5 level.

  6. It’s the tubes!!!

    On a serious note, however, I thought your post was really interesting. I’ve wondered about my Skype connection recently because of increased difficulty in getting the same crystal-clear connections I was getting a year ago.

    A widespread problem perhaps?

  7. Some problems are inherent in the network. You can’t overcome a cetain level of latency. However, Vonage and others who don’t use Global IP Sound are not maximizing their QoS. GIPS is a necessary component in any IP voice service.

  8. For years I’ve been quite happy with the sound quality of Vonage, in fact it was far better than POTS. What I am experincing now is a problem when the call is between different VOIP services:

    Vonage to Lingo,
    Skype to US phone number when it’s VOIP …etc.

  9. In terms of quality of service, voice is a bit different. If you are downloading a song or a program, a bit of latency really doesn’t matter. Even though the bandwidth for voice isn’t all that big a requirement, the latency is really important, be on a call and have some packets delayed a bit, then you have a problem.

    Would be interesting to run VoIP tests with people that have TimeWarner VoIP or Verizon VoIP. Then we could see if its limited to pureplays or its wirespread to all VoIP carriers. Results of those studies could say a lot about the causes.

  10. Would be interesting to run VoIP tests with people that have TimeWarner VoIP or Verizon VoIP. Then we could see if its limited to pureplays or its wirespread to all VoIP carriers. Results of those studies could say a lot about the causes.

    Although it wouldn’t solve the “you’re degrading the call” versus the “you’re not using QoS support” debate. After all, Time Warner reserves bandwidth and uses proper QoS support in order to make sure that their Digital Phone service works properly. Of course, they say that they’d love to sell that QoS support to Vonage and other pure VoIP carriers, but Net Neutrality won’t let them…

    And so the debate will go on.

  11. btw, i just wanted to take a second here to let you know that the NSA would like to remind you all to call your moms…from a land line if possible.

  12. One of my favorite terms:
    Time-dependent. Pronounced eye-sock-ra-nuss, it refers to processes where data must be delivered within certain time constraints. For example, multimedia streams require an isochronous transport mechanism to ensure that data is delivered as fast as it is displayed and to ensure that the audio is synchronized with the video.

    In my simple minded understanding, the Internet is a best-effort datagram service that does not employ QoS end-to-end. Therefore, it is entirely possible that our lowly voice bandwidth gets jumbled as it cross the ‘net. It’s like trying to keep a marching band together as we navigate the subway system across Manhattan even though each band member only requires one seat.

    Tee Emm, take two valium and post in the morning.

  13. Strange,
    I don’t seem to have this problem on my Cablevision network connection. The thing here is, that Voice service and Data are sent out across the same network equipment (I engineered for Qwest, 360networks, MCI, IXC, etc.) and all the traffic went from either a switch or router to SONET backbones, and back again. As a rule, the bottlenecks happen at the local loop (the all circuits are busy) is from your local provider (don’t care if you use an incumbent carrier, DSL, or CLEC) the local provider owns the network and routes the traffic. I would suggest that it is the incumbents…but I could be wrong.

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