What is QoS (Quality of Service) and how do I enable it?

QoS or Quality of Service allows for the prioritization of traffic on your network and is usually configured in your router settings. It is imperative that QoS be properly enabled to insure the successful transmission of VoIP phone calls. Without QoS you run the risk of audio-breakup and voice choppiness whenever your broadband Internet connection becomes saturated. For example, if you are downloading a large video file from a website and you do not have QoS enabled and a VoIP telephone call was initiated at the same time the voice packets would get lumped in along with the packets of the download. The audio would break up and in some cases become unintellligible until the download was complete. (To test QoS is properly enabled, you can initiate a large download on your computer while making a telephone call.) Fortunately there are inexpensive routers with robust easy-to-configure QoS. These include the Linksys WRT54GL with the Tomato firmware as well as the Cisco SRP521W. Both QoS router configurations are available in our Knowledge Base.