When your traditional telephone line sounds bad, you have little recourse. Okay, no recourse. But you can affect the sound quality of your broadband phone connections. Most of the recommendations from providers focus on you not messing up the voice quality, because they believe their quality sparkles.
For high quality conversations over a broadband phone of any type, you need about 90 Kbps. When you’re listening, that slice of bandwidth comes from the downstream portion of your connection, and when you’re speaking, you need room on the upstream portion of your connection.
Many technical people believe “broadband” means at least 2 Mbps (or 2,000 Kbps) of bandwidth. Some even believe you shouldn’t call it broadband until it’s at least 10 Mbps (10,000 Kbps). European and Asian countries agree with those high speeds, but the U.S. Federal Communications Commission allows vendors to call DSL “broadband” at 384 Kbps downstream and 128 Kbps upstream bandwidth. And these companies do that with a straight face.
Getting More Than You Give
For a variety of technical reasons (and to reduce their cost of equipment), broadband service providers deliver different speeds downstream (to you) and upstream (from you). Ratings appear, in small print, like 384 Kbps/128 Kbps or 3 Mbps/1 Mbps. The larger (first) number is your downstream bandwidth while the smaller (second) number is your upstream bandwidth. Few residences have a symmetrical broadband ...