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Choosing a router for VOIP

If you are intending to use a VOIP (Voice Over IP) telephone service, you need to take care to choose the right broadband router.

VOIP services can be run over normal broadband*.  Depending on the service features (and the number of phone users you are going to have) it may be necessary to take advice from the VOIP service provider on the correct broadband router to use.

A lot of the basic broadband routers available now will handle VOIP services.  However, many of the lower-range models will restrict the features that can be used.  For example, you may lose the ability to transfer calls between extensions.

If you are starting out with VOIP, you should ask your VOIP service provider to recommend suitable router models, so that you do not miss out on the features available to you.


* Call quality on a VOIP system is heavily dependent on network quality.  Generally, better results are obtained by using separate broadband services for VOIP and computer networks. 

The rule of thumb is that each VOIP user should be allowed 100Kbits/sec of network bandwidth. An ADSL broadband connection has a much faster download speed than upload, so the limiting factor is the upload speed. A typical 8Mb ADSL connection may provide up to 512Kbits/sec upstream if you are close to the exchange, meaning that such a line could handle up to 5 simultaneous voice calls.