In our last article, we explored the concept of a Virtual Call Center and its many advantages over a traditional call center. Today we will look at how you could actually implement such a center. This will be the first in a series on virtual call center requirements

The first requirement to consider for your implementation is high-speed Internet service. This will be required for both your voice calls and your computer data (such as e-mail, communicating with colleagues, web browsing, etc.). There are many different types of high-speed Internet connections, and we will list several below.

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Any or all of the above may suit the needs of your center, depending on how many staff you have and how many simultaneous calls you expect at any given time. For larger deployments, with a higher number of simultaneous calls, consider a more robust Internet connection.

Note: we do not recommend satellite or wireless Internet connections for VoIP in a call center application. There are several reasons for this:

unpredictable “latency,” meaning the amount of time between when a person speaks and when the resulting sound is heard by the other party
possible issues with “jitter,” meaning a mismatch in the order in which voice packets are sent and the order in which they are received, which can cause jumbled sound
possible issues with “packet loss,” in which certain voice packets may be lost entirely, resulting in the receiving party hearing periods of silence

To be clear, these types of Internet connections usually work perfectly well for typical use, such as web browsing, e-mail, etc. It is simply for voice calls that the above limitations may apply.

To determine which type of Internet connection might be suitable, first work out your approximate voice and data bandwidth requirements.

For voice requirements, take the maximum expected number of simultaneous calls at a given location. For example, assume that the main call center location will have seven employees, and that each employee may have up to two calls active at any given time. This gives us 14 active calls at a time. Next, multiply this number by the bandwidth required for each call. Using Easy Office Phone’s Hosted PBX service, the required bandwidth is either 87 kbps (maximum-fidelity) or 35 kbps (standard fidelity) per call, upstream and downstream.

In the above example, the requirement for voice calls would be 1.2 Mbps or 490 kbps, depending on desired fidelity. Again, this figure is “bidirectional,” meaning the bandwidth requirement is identical in both the upstream and downstream directions.

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