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G.729 vs G.711 VoIP Codecs: Which Is Best?

G.729 and G.711 are two of the most popular codecs used by modern voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) systems to transmit calls as data over the internet. Phone systems must find a balance between delivering audio quality and requiring bandwidth, and that’s why these two different codecs exist.

G.711 provides higher audio quality, but it requires more network bandwidth. G.729 requires less bandwidth, but it offers lower call quality. Mainstream VoIP providers usually don’t advertise the codec their phone system uses, but services like Ooma support both G.729 and G.711. This empowers your business to make on-the-fly changes to maintain growth without sacrificing call quality or network bandwidth.

  • G.729: Best for large teams with high call volumes
  • G.711: Best for small teams with low-to-medium call volumes

G.729 vs G.711 VoIP Codecs at a Glance

Call Data Compression
Bandwidth Required
Audio Call Quality
8 Kbps
64 Kbps
VoIP Provider Support
Not always
Almost always
Supports Simultaneous Calls

Takeaway: Neither VoIP codec is necessarily better than the other—they both serve different business purposes depending on your network bandwidth, call volume, and necessary call quality. Even better, some VoIP-based business phone systems support both codecs to give you the back-end flexibility you need to always ensure top-notch calling experiences for your employees and clients.

However, before adopting any VoIP service, you’ll want to make sure that you have an internet connection that can handle multiple VoIP lines. We recommend taking our free VoIP speed test for more information.

How We Evaluated G.729 vs G.711

When comparing G.729 and G.711, we wanted to see which would better serve small businesses. Since the patents for both codecs expired, they’re both royalty-free—meaning there’s no difference in price between the two. To identify the best solution, we looked at the following considerations:

  • Audio quality: We compared codecs to see which provided the best audio quality, and we also gauged what would be considered acceptable and non-detrimental.
  • Required bandwidth: We analyzed codecs to see how much bandwidth each required and which was more realistic to small business needs.
  • Simultaneous call support: We looked to see which codec would better support simultaneous calls at low and high volumes.
  • User feedback: We looked through user reviews and feedback on different VoIP providers to determine how the codecs are impacting user experience.

When to Use G.729

G.729 is perfect for small businesses with high call volumes, poor network bandwidth, or some combination of the two. Large sales and customer support teams handling simultaneous calls may need a VoIP provider that uses the G.729 codec, especially if the network connection isn’t fast and reliable.

G.729 Pros & Cons

Low bandwidth requirement Great for slower or unreliable networks
Supports high volume simultaneous calling Can’t reliably transmit fax or music
Great for slower or unreliable networks Not supported by some VoIP providers

Why G.729 Is the Better Choice for Large Teams

  • Scalability: With the G.729 codec, you don’t have to worry about overwhelming your network as you grow your business and add more lines.
  • Support multiple phone calls: Don’t worry about who else is on the network when you need to make an important call.
  • Remote-friendly: Make reliable phone calls even if your internet connection isn’t lightning-quick or stable.

When to Use G.711

G.711 is the better VoIP codec option for small teams who demand quality over quantity. It provides top-notch audio quality during each and every call, so you never have to worry about hearing or being heard. However, you’re going to need a fast internet connection to support simultaneous calling, especially if you want to anticipate call volume fluctuations.

G.711 Pros & Cons

Exceptional audio quality High bandwidth requirement
No compression is needed, so little processing demands Lacks support for many simultaneous calls
Supported by most VoIP providers Unreliable in offices and areas with poor network connections

Why G.711 Is the Better Choice for Small Businesses

With DIDcomms you can scale nicely if you’re looking to grow and add new team members and lines, and customers have 24 hr support.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a codec?

A codec is a program that encodes or decodes digital data streams. When it comes to VoIP, a codec compresses (or encodes) your voice into a digital packet that’s delivered to the recipient’s device. Once it arrives, the data packet is decompressed (or decoded), and the receiver hears your voice.

Are G.729 & G.711 the only VoIP audio codecs?

No. There’s G.722, G.723, G.726, G.728, and many others. Most are free, but some are patented and require a license. Each codec serves a specific purpose and has its own pros and cons that make it appropriate in certain scenarios.

Which codec is better: G.711 or G.729?

Neither. Both are powerful codecs that serve different purposes and fulfill different needs. However, most telecoms providers use G.711 (u-law/a-law) and G.729 is more commonly used between VoIP phones on the same network.

How much bandwidth do I need for G.729 vs G.711?

Your bandwidth refers to the maximum rate at which your network can transfer data. G.729 consumes around 8 Kbps per call, while G.711 uses around 64 Kbps (eight times as much). However, you’re likely going to be engaging in other internet activities that’ll eat at your bandwidth’s network. For example, if you’re using your internet browser while on the phone with a client, you’re going to be using a lot more than the estimated 8 Kbps or 64 Kbps.

Bottom Line

There’s a lot to think about when choosing a VoIP solution for your business, but pricing and features may need to take a backseat to VoIP codecs. The codec your VoIP system uses will significantly impact your phone calls’ quality and reliability. G.729 requires less data, but it sacrifices audio quality, while G.711 delivers high-end call quality at your bandwidth’s expense.

Fortunately, you don’t have to dig too deep into your network functionality and potential VoIP provider codecs—with  DIDcomms, you get support for both G.729 and G.711 codecs.

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