Whether you are a newly converted or a veteran VoIP user, chances are you are a happy camper who is enjoying the added benefits of this phone system and saving money in the meantime. Nevertheless, you may have experienced bad call quality in one form or another.
VoIP phone systems offer numerous benefits in terms of flexibility and cost-saving. As with any system, though, they do exhibit occasional glitches. However, with the following tips, you will realize that there is a quick fix to almost any VoIP problem.
1. Get the right Internet service
VoIP relies on the Internet to transfer data/voice packets that enable a conversation. If the quality of your calls is suffering because your Internet connection is not able to support the needed bandwidth or QoS shaping requirements, then it will directly limit your call quality. This tends to be the case especially with wireless USB modems or, worse, outdated dial-up connections.
If you feel that your Internet connection is not keeping up with the demands of your business, you can ask your service provider to upgrade you to a business-class Internet service for a clear call quality. For best results, opt for Fiber or Ethernet based connections.
If ever during a VoIP call you have had the other person’s voice cut out, then you are familiar with choppiness. Known more commonly as jitter, it is one of the most common VoIP problems and is caused by packet loss due to a slow or congested connection. As data travels in packets in a VoIP call, packet loss is basically the loss of information or voice.
A good way to solve this problem is through jitter buffers, which create a buffer by temporarily storing data packets in order to counteract delay variations. Do make sure, though, to not misconfigure the jitter buffer by making it too large, in which case you’ll experience unnecessary delays or too small, when you risk having data packets thrown out.
3. Get a business class router
Sometimes when you are on a VoIP call, you may hear an echo, which is typically a result of latency, or delay. It may be a result of several factors. Propagation delay happens when the call is long-distance and it takes a longer time for the electrons to travel over copper or fiber. Queuing delay occurs when your network is congested and the data packets are queued for when the network frees up. Handling delay is due to your network device that forwards data.
There are several things you can try if you experience latency issues. First, lower the volume of the handsets on both ends so the microphones do not pick up conversation snippets from the earpiece and create repeated voice. Then, if this does not solve the issue, try to hang up and call back to see if the problem persists. Second, if you do not have a QoS system on your VoIP, check to see if anyone in your network is downloading or uploading heavy files and pause that activity for your voice quality to improve. The most effective way to eliminate this problem, however, is to get a business class router that will handle your VoIP traffic. A router that is specifically designed for business will prioritize your traffic and eliminate latency issues.
4. Make sure everything is setup correctly
Occasionally, you will hear no dial tone when you are using VoIP. Before you panic, check to see if your phone is so to ring and not to pulse. It could be a matter of settings. Then, the next thing you should check is whether you have Internet connection. See if your VoIP telephone adapter is plugged in. If it is, and the problem persists, try disconnecting and reconnecting it.
5. Manage your traffic and bandwidth
If your company is handling substantial traffic and you are not managing your bandwidth, the quality of your VoIP calls may suffer. If several people on your network are streaming video, they will be hogging the bulk of the available bandwidth, which will result in poor performance of your VoIP system. You risk the loss of essential data packets and having many of your calls dropped.
If you want to make sure that your VoIP voice and video calls get a priority, you can install a Quality of Service (QoS) system, which will take care of that problem for you. If you have good QoS technology on your router, it can prevent the uneven distribution of resources by assigning priorities to each device in your network or to the type of traffic you usually receive. That way, you’ll be sure not to aggravate your customers with your dropped calls or bad call quality.
This quick reference guide will not only help you define some of the most common problems associated with VoIP, but also give you a tool of how to fix those problems on your own. This will not only save you money by not having to turn to a professional’s help, but also your valuable time.