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VoIP Call Quality Gets Better

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According to Keynote System’s third VoIP Competitive Intelligence Study, VoIP call quality has improved across the board since the company’s last study in December 2005. But Keynote said there is still room for improvement in the MOS and audio delay.

The research company measured the performance of leading VoIP providers (includes digital cable, PC-based software, pure-play, and adapter-based VoIP) in the San Francisco and New York markets for the month of August 2006. Keynote also took their VoIP findings and compared those against PSTN service in those cities. The study included AT&T, Comcast, Lingo, Packet8, Skype, SunRocket, TimeWarner Cable, TrueVoice, Verizon, Vonage, Vonics and Windows Live Messenger

“As VoIP continues to move into the mainstream and challenge the incumbent carriers in major markets nationwide, consumers have started focusing on two important differentiators, audio quality and pricing,” said Vik Chaudhary, vice president of marketing and product management at Keynote. “As the results of the Keynote study indicate, VoIP providers have overcome a major hurdle in the past seven months by addressing concerns about overall audio quality, but they still have work to do to improve the consistency of their service levels during peak versus non-peak hours and to decrease the variation in performance levels between the top performers and the rest of the pack.”

As VoIP continues to expand rapidly, call quality remains an issue as a Telephia report shows that more than 27 percent of VoIP subscribers who are likely to change providers do so because of network quality. There have been conflicting reports on VoIP call quality in the past, with Brix Networks saying the quality has dropped and Minacom saying the quality has increased. Keynote’s study showed that the overall average MOS of the VoIP providers studied was 3.58, a slight increase from Keynote’s findings in December 2005. There were wide variations though, as the lowest ranked came in at an MOS of 2.64 and the highest was 4.24.

The leading digital cable VoIP providers, which doesn’t include services like Vonage, were found to have “excellent” audio responsiveness and audio clarity. Keynote’s study found that VoIP from the cable companies outperformed PSTN in reliability, which means the cable VoIP was available more often and connected calls without dropping. This study comes as another blow to telecoms, as a J.D. Powers & Associates study in July showed that cable VoIP providers are resonating with customers.

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