\u201cI don\u2019t drink water, period. I live in Los Angeles and the water I get from the tap is lackluster, in terms of quality.\u201d\nIf someone said this, what is the first thought that comes to mind (assuming the person isn\u2019t wearing hemp clothing and has their hair in dreadlocks)?\n\u201cHave you tried using a water filter?\u201d \u2026 is what you and I would probably ask, right?\nAfter you read below, this will be the same thing you say when you hear someone say, \u201cVoIP isn\u2019t a good fit for our company because we only have one ISP in the area, and the connection is shaky, at best.\u201d\nYour response will be \u201cHave you tried using SD-WAN to fix your call quality?\u201d\nSD-WAN is one of the best technologies to catch fire in the last couple of years and if you are a little fuzzy on it, here\u2019s an opportunity to learn another tidbit about this wonderful, disruptive technology.\n\n\n\n\n\nDespite the acronym \u201cWAN\u201d (Wide Area Network), in its name, SD-WAN is not solely for companies with multiple sites. It is just as useful to a company with 1 site as it is to a company with 100 sites.\nContrary to popular opinion, it is also nearly just as useful for a company with a single Internet connection as it is for a company with multiple Internet connections. Especially if your company uses VoIP.\nA good, cloud-enabled SD-WAN solution, layered onto a single, shaky Internet connection, will transform a normally choppy VoIP call, into a thing of beauty. You may even find yourself wanting to take a call from a salesperson, just to hear their voice! [blood-curling shriek]\nHere\u2019s how.\nOn-the-fly application prioritization\nWhen you order SD-WAN, you are shipped a bare-bones, plug-n-play router and you are given a login to an online control panel with a GUI interface, where you can configure and monitor your SD-WAN service.\nOne of the first things you do within your control panel, is identify the different applications on your network and group them into different levels of priority (i.e. VoIP vs. email vs. Internet browsing). The high priority applications get to go first, while the others need to wait.\nThe cool thing about SD-WAN is at any given moment, it is detecting the application flow and throttling non-priority traffic appropriately. Kinda like how my wife and I throttle our kids\u2019 conversations at the dinner table\u2026\nThis alone will help your VoIP call quality, since calls are no longer competing for bandwidth with Susan\u2019s training video or Larry, listening to Twisted Sister\u2019s greatest hits on Spotify.\nForward error correction\nAnother common feature SD-WAN solutions offer is called Forward Error Correction (a.k.a. channel coding), which essentially duplicates your phone call\u2019s data packets, giving every packet of every phone call, 2 chances to succeed. That\u2019s a very layman way of explaining it but you get the point.\nNow, if I could only add forward error correction to the words coming out of my mouth sometimes. Especially when the kids are running late for school in the morning\u2026 yet again.\nEven better, the SD-WAN solution will sense if you have enough bandwidth on your circuit to perform forward error correction and if not, will throttle non-priority applications or quit running FEC, all-together.\nForward error correction drastically reduces packet errors and packet loss\u2026 things that make VoIP phone calls drop or sound terrible.\nSome cloud-enabled SD-WAN providers will not only perform this on-site but also within their cloud gateways.\nDynamic jitter buffering\nIf there were a TV show called When VoIP Calls Go Bad, \u201cJitter\u201d would be a bad guy, featured in nearly every episode.\nSome SD-WAN solutions offer a feature called \u201cjitter buffering.\u201d It sounds complicated but all it means is the SD-WAN service is reducing the nasty jitter on your voice calls by collecting the data packets (that comprise your phone call in this example), storing them, then sending them out in evenly spaced intervals.\nAdd the word \u201cdynamic\u201d to this feature and it means the SD-WAN solution detects the need for jitter buffering on-the-fly, and applies it, as-needed.\nLike Forward Error Correction, some cloud-enabled SD-WAN providers offer this on-site, as well as at the cloud-gateway-level.\nIf you\u2019d like to see these features, in-action, here is a cool Tech Field Day YouTube video, demonstrating SD-WAN\u2019s impact on a bad Internet connection.\nOr, you can just take my word for it and know SD-WAN will probably make your VoIP phone system work, even if you have one location, with a shoddy Internet connection.\nIf you\u2019d like more information on SD-WAN and which solutions are the best fit for your company\u2019s size, location, and requirements, don\u2019t be shy. Shoot me an email and I\u2019d be happy to talk shop.