How to solve the 5 most common VoIP issues

How to solve the 5 most common VoIP issues

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems are known for all the ways they improve business communication and cut costs, but it’s not immune to technical issues. While the first instinct for many users when issues crop up would be to call tech support, a large majority of VoIP issues can actually be resolved by users themselves. Doing so can save them a lot of time and the business a lot of money. We’ve identified five ways to resolve common VoIP issues and improve performance.

1. Choppy audio

One of the most common issues encountered when using VoIP is the audio feed going in and out. Such choppy audio is often the result of insufficient bandwidth. This can be verified by testing bandwidth speed on a network management platform. A two-way conversation requires approximately 90 kbps on average, so choppy audio can be the result of other applications open at the time that leave less than that available. Other computers connected to the same network may also have many applications running, using up the available bandwidth. Turning off these applications and/or devices is a good starting point for fixing audio stuttering.

If the issue persists, it may be caused by undetected malware or spyware on the device, and a test for these may be required. Otherwise, the router’s Quality of Service (QoS) settings can be adjusted to prioritize voice applications to ensure that the VoIP system is provided the necessary bandwidth when calls are on.

2. Echo

The echo heard on a call is usually caused by acoustic or electromagnetic interference, or by faulty equipment. Acoustic interference refers to sound pollution from a source, usually the speakers or earpiece, interfering with the sound being picked up by the mic or mouthpiece. If covering the phone’s mouthpiece reduces the echo heard, then the solution is usually as simple as lowering the volume on the speaker or earpiece so it isn’t picked up by the mouthpiece.

Electromagnetic interference, on the other hand, is caused by equipment being too close together. If this is suspected to be the cause, the router should be moved further away from the monitor, CPU, or power strip.

Finally, different pieces of equipment should be tested as possible causes for the issue, and replaced if so. The usual suspects include splitters or caller ID devices connected to the router or phone, the system’s wiring, conference calling equipment, or the phone handsets themselves.

3. Network issues

Sometimes, issues with the general performance of VoIP can be traced to issues with the network and the network provider itself. In such cases, a quick check of the tool or provider’s track record can shed light on the issue. To ensure peak performance, it’s ideal that a provider have carrier-grade reliability and security, meaning that the call quality they provide on average is on par with that of traditional phone carriers.

It’s also possible that a spotty connection is due to the use of Wi-Fi to access the internet. Wi-Fi connections are susceptible to interference from other devices or the positioning of wireless routers. For best results, it’s best to use Ethernet cables for VoIP systems to ensure a steady connection throughout calls.

4. Latency

Latency refers to delays in the delivery of audio packets, resulting in parties of a conversation “talking over” one another due to the other party only hearing what a speaker is saying some time after it’s been said. As with choppy audio, insufficient bandwidth is often the root cause of latency issues, and should be the first port of call when addressing them.

As previously mentioned, using Ethernet cables to connect directly to the router or switch instead of Wi-Fi can help address the issue. Adjusting QoS settings to prioritize voice applications during a call are also good fixes.

5. Jitter and jitter buffer

Jitter is similar to latency in that it refers to issues with the delivery of voice packets, but in this case indicates irregularity. Jitter buffer is a feature built into VoIP services that collects voice packets and delivers them at a steady pace to ensure clarity. However, if the settings of the jitter buffer are not correctly configured, they can impact voice call quality. If the buffer is set too small, then some voice packets will be dropped, resulting in stretches of conversation being skipped over and lost.

On the other hand, if it’s set too high, increased delays in the delivery of the voice packets can arise, resulting in latency. If either of these issues occur, recalibrate the jitter buffer settings. If the issue persists, it may be worth getting a dynamic jitter buffer, which involves a piece of software adjusting the jitter buffer depending on the circumstances (as opposed to the static jitter buffer feature built into the hardware).

The VoIP experience won’t always be perfect, but the solutions to VoIP issues can be simple. If you’re dealing with far more persistent and complex VoIP issues, however, Online Computers is the solution. Call us now to optimize your VoIP experience.

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