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Streaming Hold Music Bandwidth Discussed


If you’re a network administrator looking for a streaming hold music solution, then you’re likely to ask about streaming hold music bandwidth consumption. Here are some notes on the subject.

The Easy On Hold 128k Stream

When designing the Easy On Hold streaming hold music architecture, we landed on 128kbps mono .mp3 streams for the following reasons:

  • Easily integrated with phone systems
  • Works well in a browser
  • Audio quality very good with reasonable bandwidth requirements

The fact the the audio for on hold is monaural already saves listeners bandwidth when compared to standard internet radio stations.

Are we talking about speed, data or what?

Broadband speed is not the same thing as bandwidth (although the terms are often used interchangeably). More speed means faster transfer of data. Broadband consumption refers to the amount of data transferred, no matter the rate.

While broadband speed is increasing, internet service providers limit the amount of data that can be consumed (also known as download quota). If you’ve ever received a notice from your cell phone provider that you’ve exceeded your data plan, you have an idea of the concept of a broadband (or data) cap.

How we measure streaming hold music bandwidth

Bandwidth usage (or throughput) can be measured using a series of calculations. To save time, several internet radio bandwidth calculators are online.

Easy On Hold Stream

Whether you are using the Easy On Hold device for streaming hold music, or using an Easy On Hold url directly into your phone system such as Asterisk, your will be using a mono 128k .mp3 stream.

  • 128 kbps MONO with 1 listener for one hour = 0.025 GB per hour.
  • One listener for one month (730 hours) is 18.25 GB per month.

Compared to Pandora

Now, if you’re thinking, “Hmmm, 18 gigs a month. Am I OK with that?” just remember what’s being consumed by an employee (or several) listening to Pandora at work.

  • One hour is about 72 MB of bandwidth usage or 0.13 GB per hour.
  • One listener for one month is 94.9 GB of bandwidth.

If you will be using several unique streams for your hold music and messaging, you can estimate consumption through simple addition.