How reliable is IP telephony?

Have you ever heard a weird kind of hissing, crackling or popping noise when calling someone on an IP telephony line? How rare is the phenomenon these days?

Those with long memories will remember a period a few years back when corporate IP telephony was not exactly what you would call ... mature.

(Credit: Avaya)

The scenario would always play out the same way. With your normal analog desk phone, you would place a call to speak to someone in another organisation, normally one in the financial sector with more money to throw around on the latest technology than sense.

As your contact answered their phone, you would hear a weird kind of hissing, crackling or popping noise, maybe accompanied by strange delays in between the time they spoke into the mouthpiece and when the sound reached their ear.

"ARE YOU USING VOIP BY ANY CHANCE?" you would ask loudly into your end of the connection.


What had happened, of course, is that your contact's IT department had rolled out a new corporate IP telephony system, but without really testing the network connection and quality of service required to support it in the back end.

I can't say how often this happened to me, but it happened often enough, and I'm sure it has happened to most people at some point.

The thing is, however, that over the past several years it has stopped happening. Now, I never have problems making calls using IP telephony, whether it be to organisations like Westpac that I know employ the technology, or even from my consumer-grade home VoIP connection (I'm an iiNet customer).

There could be several things behind this fact.

Firstly, organisations could simply be throwing massive network resources behind their IP telephony connections to guarantee they never, ever have problems that would be noticeable by upper management.

Or, secondly, that quality of service and other technology at the heart of IP telephony solutions has become very mature over the past few years.

What's your IP telephony experience been like?