Cloud-based phone providers regularly recommend certain configuration settings on a customer's router and/or firewall, regardless of the make or model. These settings include that both SIP ALG (Session Initial Protocol-Application Layer Gateway) and SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection) should be disabled. If the device does not retain a disable option, it should be replaced for one more suited for VoIP. Likewise, the ability to prioritize traffic to and from a particular device, known as QoS (Quality of Service) remains a requirement for a small business router. If your router does not offer configurable QoS, then get another router.
Many providers maintain a list
of recommended reliable routers and a few that are specifically not recommended. Each
provider's list varies based on a history of support and customers utilizing them
successfully with their service. Every so often, a recommended router
is removed from the
list, as a newer firmware version causes issues with VoIP.
Overall, routers have become more sophisticated, incorporating solid rudimentary QoS features, which are paramount for reliable VoIP service in a business environment.
The Cisco Meraki MX64 Network & Security Appliance represents an ideal solution for a multi-site business to eliminate the need for multiple devices. It's designed to streamline security and VPN deployment for up to 50 clients. The MX64 uses SD-WAN to allocate voice and video bandwidth at the same time as dynamically controlling the network's cloud applications. With Zero-touch provisioning and intuitive cloud-based management, the Meraki MX64 can be deployed in minutes, rather than days.
The Nighthawk X10 remains one of the fastest tri-band routers in production. Its four external antennas amplify WiFi signals by applying Beamforming to maximize throughput. Furthermore, it incorporates a powerful 1.7GHz Quad-Core processor and Quad-Stream architecture to produce combined wireless speeds of up to 7.2Gbps. Utilizing its dynamic QoS you can identify online activities by application and device, and then designate and prioritize bandwidth allocation.
With double the performance of a
dual-band router, the Linksys Max-Stream AC2200 Tri-band Router (EA8300)
represents a sound choice for a modest office using
roaming Wi-Fi devices and still maintain fast data transfers while using VoIP.
And even though it retains an older Wi-Fi 5 technology, it remains a
choice for most offices.
With a range for up to about 2000 square feet, Wi-Fi won't experience lags with up to twenty-five devices connected. It comes with four Gigabit Ethernet ports built-in.
The SoniceWall TZ SOHO, as well as the entire TZ series with the SonicOS Enhanced software, are exceptional small business router/firewall appliances. Each can be bundled with optional applications, such as effective intrusion prevention, anti-malware, content/URL filtering and application control, for an extra cost. These appliances deliver an encompassing solution with built-in next generation security for multi-location businesses with a total low-cost of ownership.
TP-Link has manufactured excellent dependable routers. The Archer AC1900 incorporates three external antennas plus one internally that use Beamforming to maximize coverage area and stability for multiple devices. It is a capable router for a small office with gigabit Ethernet ports (1 WAN + 4 LAN) that has been extensively tested through many installations. It's a low-cost basic option that delivers reliable performance and incorporates a range of features and a VPN Server.
Each of our best five business VoIP routers is recommended by at least one business VoIP provider (Several of our choices come recommended by multiple providers.) and none are included on anyone's incompatible list. The Dell SonicWall TZ SOHO and the Cisco Meraki MX64 are each rated for up to 50 users and would represent an excellent choice for a multi-site company. As businesses move more services to the cloud, the SonicWall with its network protection, as well as Meraki, with its SD-WAN capabilities, are gaining in popularity. The Netgear Nighthawk X10 Tri-Band router is currently much more affordable than when it was first offered, so accordingly has become a leading choice for an office in the twenty+ range of devices. Any of these routers would be a great choice for a small business that is adopting cloud-based phone service.
Small offices transferring to a cloud-based business VoIP service will experience the best results, employing a router that offers advanced QoS capabilities. A list of recommended routers can often be found on the provider's website or by asking tech support. Routinely routers require certain configuration changes, such as disabling SIP-ALG, to name just one. In any case, selecting a router that is on a recommended list helps ensure better service. Using a flashed router with open-source firmware, like DD-WRT, was once a viable option, but is no longer suggested. Several leading providers currently list DD-WRT as incompatible with their service.
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