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Does internet speed or bandwidth impact my VoIP phone system?


Whenever we speak with a new customer about setting up a VoIP phone system at their business in New Jersey or the greater New York area, there’s always one question that comes up: how will our internet speed and bandwidth impact the VoIP phone system?

Americans generate more than 3 million GB of internet traffic each minute,1 so it makes sense that a lot of customers are concerned about how their internet usage might affect the performance of their cloud phone system. We’ve all had moments where the internet slows to a crawl or websites fail to load. If the internet’s slow, surely that impacts a VoIP phone system – right?

It’s such a common question that we wanted to shed some light on the topic. Read on to learn how internet speed and bandwidth might impact your VoIP system.

What Is Internet Speed and Bandwidth?

Think of internet speed like a highway’s speed limit. The bandwidth is the number of cars you can fit on the road. As bandwidth increases, so do the lanes of the highway. When you have more bandwidth, you can transfer more information faster.

Since global internet bandwidth increased by 28% in 2022,2 your business likely has faster connectivity now than ever before. But before we dive into how these factors affect cloud phone systems, here are a few helpful terms to know when it comes to internet service:

  • Ping - A test for determining latency
  • Latency - A delay in packet delivery
  • Packet - The unit of data routed between an original location and a destination on the internet
  • Round Trip Time (RTT) - The length of time it takes for a signal to be sent plus the length of time it takes for an acknowledgment of that signal to be received
  • Bandwidth - The minimum capacity across all network links between two connections

Does Internet Speed and Bandwidth Impact Your VoIP System?

Many business leaders are concerned their new VoIP phone system won’t be able to run with their current internet service or will use a ton of bandwidth. This is primarily because most people don’t understand how much bandwidth is needed to run a cloud phone system. And the difference between how internet speed and bandwidth each affect a VoIP call isn’t exactly common knowledge.

Can internet speed and bandwidth impact VoIP systems? The short answer is yes! But to explain how they can affect your system, we first need to break down the difference between internet speed and bandwidth.

[Global internet bandwidth rose by 28% in 2022.


Internet Speed vs. Bandwidth: The Highway Analogy

Most internet service providers (ISPs) use the terms interchangeably, so it’s easy to get confused. In fact, when you go online and perform a speed test on popular sites such as, you’re actually testing your bandwidth – not the actual speed of the internet.

When we think of your internet service as a highway, imagine having only one lane with a speed of 50 mph for your business. Let’s say you send out a driver carrying packages, and the driver makes it to their destination with no issues. Everything went smoothly, so you continue sending your driver down this highway.

Now imagine that you have more packages to deliver the following month. You send out two drivers with packages at the same time on this wonderful one-lane highway. You receive a report that says one of your drivers was delayed due to traffic and ended up losing packages on the way to the destination. What exactly happened?

Well, everything started off just fine. The drivers left the site at the same time and merged onto the highway. But then the second driver got stuck behind the first driver and couldn’t pass them because there was only one lane. The second driver then encountered other delays, or latency, while driving down the one-lane highway. He tried to find an alternate route and ended up losing some packages, or packets, along the way. When the driver finally arrived at the destination, he was late and missing packages.

To solve this problem, you would need to upgrade your bandwidth from a one-lane highway to a two-lane highway – or possibly even a four-lane highway to make sure you never run into this issue again.

How Internet Speed and Bandwidth Impacts VoIP Systems

VoIP relies on a fast internet connection to transmit voice and data packets between users. Any issues with internet speed or bandwidth can result in:

  • Poor Call Quality - VoIP calls need a certain amount of bandwidth to maintain high-quality audio, or else phone calls may suffer from choppy or distorted audio.
  • High Latency - Slow internet speeds could lead to high-latency voice calls. This can make it difficult to have a natural conversation, as there may be noticeable delays or awkward pauses.
  • Dropped Calls - If there isn’t enough bandwidth available for your VoIP system, calls may drop unexpectedly. This can be especially frustrating during important business calls or meetings.
  • Slow Connectivity - VoIP systems often have multiple users on the same network, which can put a strain on available bandwidth. When too many employees use the network simultaneously, your entire business could experience slow, laggy internet and lower VoIP quality.

Businesses should invest in a high-speed internet connection with plenty of available bandwidth and prioritize network management to get the best possible VoIP performance.

[Experiencing poor quality VoIP calls? Your internet speed and bandwidth could be to blame.]

VoIP Phone Systems and Internet

VoIP phone systems run completely over the internet, so calls are dependent on both the local and wide area network. If voice quality problems occur, either for brief periods or longer durations, the problem is often directly related to a poor network connection. This includes your ISP or some other component between you and the party you’re connecting with via the internet.

At TeleCloud, we always separate the computer network from the VoIP network when deploying a cloud phone system. Both of these connections in your office should be hard-wired and physically separated. We don’t recommend using a wireless internet service or connecting the phones through WiFi since doing so could result in low-quality audio or dropped calls.

Your router connects your computers and network equipment to the internet. It needs to be powerful enough to handle the number of phones in your office and should be compatible with VoIP services. A router used with a cloud phone system should be able to handle multiple internet connections for two different providers.

How Much Internet Bandwidth Does Your VoIP System Need?

There are two types of bandwidth at your location: upload bandwidth and download bandwidth. Upload bandwidth is the amount of data you can send to the internet, and download bandwidth is the amount of data you can receive from the internet. In most cases, a normal VoIP telephone call will use up to 100 Kbps.

The amount of bandwidth your VoIP system requires depends on several factors, such as the number of concurrent calls and the types of calls being made (voice-only or video calls). As a general guideline, business VoIP phone systems typically require around 1 Mbps of bandwidth per call for high-quality audio and up to 4 Mbps per call for high-quality video calls.

Below, we’ve put together a simple chart to show which internet package we would recommend depending on the number of concurrent calls your business will make.

Number of Concurrent Calls Recommended Speeds
1 3 MBps Up and Down
3 3 MBps Up and Down
5 5 MBps Up and Down
10 5-10 MBps Up and Down

Most high-speed internet providers in the Northeast offer packages that start with 25 MBps download speeds and 5 MBps upload speeds as a base package. If you’re interested in learning more about how your internet can affect VoIP phones and cloud phone systems, TeleCloud can help. Click the button below to connect with our experts.

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