Behind the Scenes, a CPaaS Can Improve Your Communications 

Elliot Mulley-Goodbarne

How Plivo can help with a low latency high quality communications solution. 

Behind the Scenes, a CPaaS Can Improve Your Communications 

Modern cloud communications platforms have multiple parts. The APIs with which developers build voice and text-enabled applications are only the most visible aspects.  

Behind the scenes, those APIs connect through a communications platform as a service (CPaaS) to the worldwide telecommunications network. In fact one of the benefits of using a CPaaS is that businesses don’t have to set up telecom connections themselves.  

How a CPaaS connects to the network can make a big difference in how well it performs. It can impact important factors like voice quality and message deliverability. 

One potential problem is high latency, the spoken-to-heard delay in the transmission of audio. Another is jitter, which happens when some of the first packets sent reach a recipient later than subsequent packets. This out-of-order receipt of packets can result in the audio sounding jumbled or robotic. In addition, packet delays lead to high round trip times (RTT), which cause laggy audio, and packet loss can cause broken audio and undeliverable text messages. 

Architecting for Low Latency, High Reliability

A good cloud communications platform can minimize latency and enhance traffic reliability by lowering the number of trips packets take through internet routers, a.k.a. hops. They can do this in a few ways. 

  • Having direct relationships with Tier 1 carriers means fewer interconnections and less chance of packets being dropped or misrouted. 
  • Maintaining direct relationships with local carriers has similar benefits, and gives the CPaaS a global reach in countries that are underserved by the major carriers. 
  • Supporting globally distributed points of presence (PoP) at internet exchange points (IXP) lowers hop counts and get packets to their destinations more directly. 

Businesses evaluating cloud communications platforms should ask providers about how they minimize latency and provide redundancy on their carrier networks. They should find out what metrics carriers expose to show the latency of their communications, and they should test connections with endpoints in all areas where they plan to do business to verify claims of low latency, acceptable voice quality, and high message deliverability rates. 

Unfortunately all of the network options required to maintain low latency take time to set up — years, for CPaaS platforms that do business around the world — and are expensive for the provider. A less expensive approach some providers take is to use telecom aggregators that optimize for the cheapest routes rather than the best quality ones. This can be a poor option, as cheap routes can deliver poor voice quality and necessitate multiple calls or message sends, all of which the customer has to pay for.  

Carrier Relationship Management Matters

One CPaaS provider that builds its network for quality is Plivo. In addition to minimizing latency all of the ways above, Plivo connects to multiple carriers in each country to ensure uptime and reliability, so there’s no single point of failure. 

Additional benefits of having direct relationships with carriers include the ability to get the best rates from them, as well as having direct access to their technical teams when a problem arises. Direct relationships with carriers also lets the service provider help customers with regulatory compliance. 

If you’re considering a CPaaS provider, it’s as critical to know what goes on behind the scenes as it is to test the more visible APIs. 



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