VoIP is a great way to save money on your phone bill, but how much bandwidth do you need to make sure you have a quality connection?

VoIP: How Much Bandwidth Do You Need?

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Voice overInternet Protocol, or VoIP, is a digital phone service that uses your broadband Internet connection instead of a landline. VoIP converts your voice into digital signals and transmits them over the Internet. Because VoIP uses your Internet connection, you need to have enough bandwidth to support the amount of VoIP calls you want to make at any given time. To understand how much bandwidth you need for VoIP, you first need to understand how VoIP works and the different types of VoIP services.

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. This technology allows you to make telephone calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular (analog) phone line. VoIP converts the voice signal from your phone into a digital signal that travels over the Internet. If you are calling a regular phone number, the digital signal is converted back to an analog signal before it reaches the other person.

How Much Bandwidth Do You Need for VoIP?

VoIP uses the internet to make and receive phone calls, so the amount of bandwidth you need for VoIP is determined by the number of simultaneous calls you want to make and the quality of the call (sound quality and reliability). Most VoIP providers will recommend at least 128kbps (kilobits per second) of upload and download speed for each call.

VoIP Codecs

A codec is an algorithm that compresses and decompresses digitized sound. VoIP uses digital voice codecs to transmit voice information using the Internet Protocol (IP). While the types of codecs used in business VoIP systems vary, many systems now incorporate HD Voice technology, which delivers clearer, more natural-sounding conversations by using a wider frequency range than standard phone lines.

If you’re considering VoIP for your business, you need to make sure you have enough bandwidth to support the system. The amount of bandwidth you need depends on the number of concurrent calls and the type of codec used.

G.711 is a common codec that uses 64kbps for each call. HD Voice codecs—such as G.722, Opus, and G.729—require more bandwidth, from 88-128kbps per call. For example, if you have 10 employees on the phone using G.711 codecs concurrently, you would need 640kbps (10 x 64) of bandwidth for VoIP. If half of your employees were using G.722 HD Voice during those calls, you would need 1Mbps (10 x 128) of bandwidth.

Many business VoIP providers offer unlimited calling plans that allow a certain number of concurrent calls (usually 2-5) without additional charges. If you plan to make more than a few calls at the same time, check with your provider to see if an unlimited plan makes sense for your business needs.

Packet Loss and Jitter

Packet loss and jitter are two of the most important factors that determine the quality of your VoIP call. Packet loss occurs when data packets are lost in transit, while jitter occurs when packets arrive out of order or are delayed.

To ensure optimal VoIP call quality, you need to have a sufficient amount of bandwidth to handle the call traffic without dropping any packets. For most VoIP calls, a bandwidth of at least 40 kbps is required per call. However, if you are using video conferencing or other high-bandwidth applications, you will need more bandwidth.

To calculate the amount of bandwidth you need for your VoIP calls, you need to first determine the average number of calls you will be making at any given time. For example, if you expect to make 10 calls simultaneously, you will need 400 kbps (10 x 40 kbps) of bandwidth.

Next, you need to factor in packet loss and jitter. To account for packet loss, you should add an additional 10% to your bandwidth calculation. So, in our example above, we would need 440 kbps (400 kbps + 10%) of bandwidth to account for packet loss.

To account for jitter, you should add an additional 20% to your calculation. So, in our example above, we would need 520 kbps (440 kbps + 20%) of bandwidth to account for both packet loss and jitter.

Keep in mind that these are just estimates – your actual bandwidth needs may be higher or lower depending on the quality of your network connection and the types of applications you are using.


In conclusion, the amount of VoIP bandwidth you need will depend on the number of lines you have and the codec used. G.711 generally uses about 80 kbps per call, while G.729 uses about 35 kbps. If you’re using a single line with G.711, you’ll need about 80 kbps of bandwidth. If you’re using four lines with G.729, you’ll need about 140 kbps of bandwidth (4 x 35 = 140).