How to Ensure High Call Quality with VoIP
Your communication system is vital to your business, so excellent service is absolutely critical. The best service begins, of course, with choosing the right VoIP provider. But you can also take steps to ensure that your business communication system supports high call quality. Below are eight ways to ensure outstanding call quality with VoIP.
#1. Have enough bandwidth to ensure call quality.
If a call participant experiences frequent or extended periods of silence or hears voices that sound “robotic,” the cause is generally insufficient internet bandwidth. To prevent packet loss and ensure good quality VoIP calls, you need around 100kbps in both directions.
Packet loss occurs when one or more packets of data traveling across an IP network fail to reach their destination. Packet loss is caused by data transmission errors, typically across wireless networks or network congestion. It is measured as a percentage of packets lost concerning packets sent. Ensure that your internet connection has sufficient bandwidth for your business’s calls and level of network usage.
#2. Check your wiring and determine if there is a possible equipment failure or a failure to configure the equipment correctly.
Traditional telephone systems used a CAT 3 cabling system. Today, most digitized telephone and data networks use a CAT 5 or higher. Proper and sufficient cabling can ensure the best quality of service. If you or your business uses its internet connection for both voice (VoIP) and data, you will need a router to prioritize the VoIP traffic; something like downloading a large file while on a call could impact voice quality.
#3. Check your internet set-up.
Latency is a huge problem when it comes to call quality. Latency is the delay before a transfer of data begins following an instruction for its transfer. In a network, delays are always unwanted, and we try to avoid them whenever possible. It can also be the gap between when a call participant speaks and when the other party hears them.
The quality of your calls can suffer if your internet is not configured correctly, particularly if you’re routing both data and voice over on the same internal network. The solution to this would be to use a Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) capable switch.
With a VLAN, you're setting up a separate network inside your first physical network and dedicating it only to VoIP use. Essentially, you are dedicating a piece of your overall bandwidth for VoIP calls ensuring that bandwidth will always be available for your phone; thus, making bandwidth congestion a non-issue. Adding to this, many of these VLAN switches use “Power over Ethernet” (POE) built-in. So, these VLAN switches can be used without the need to plug each phone into an electrical outlet.
#4. Cut out the jitter of your VoIP.
VoIP works by sending data packets. Cisco defines “jitter” as a variation in the delay of received packets. On the sending side, packets are sent in a continuous stream, with the packets spaced evenly apart. Due to network congestion, improper queuing, or configuration errors, this steady stream can become inconsistent.
You can plan accordingly for any potential jitter with a router or Edge device that receives a Real-Time Protocol (RTP) audio stream for VOIP. This feature is most often referred to as the de-jitter buffer. Your VoIP provider can help you configure a de-jitter buffer, which will temporarily store your data packets in the sequence in which they are received and then transmit those packets into your network in evenly spaced intervals.
#5. Choose the right headsets.
Headsets can range from $1 earphones to $400 luxury headsets. We don’t expect sound engineers creating music to use those cheap earphones. They want the best quality to get the best result! You should, too.
The biggest issue with headsets is an echo. Phone echo has been around for years and years, and we have all experienced it at one time or another. Low-quality handsets can be a potential cause of this (although turning down your headset volume may be a more straightforward fix).
When choosing a headset, there are many factors to take into consideration. For one, if call quality is your main concern, choose noise-canceling headphones that deliver sound in both ears. Corded and USB headsets typically have more stable sound quality than wireless or Bluetooth headsets.
#6. Evaluate whether “crackling” is due to wiring or hardware problems.
If you hear “cracking” when using your phone, try to determine if it affects just one phone or multiple. If it’s just one device, your phone may simply not be connected properly. Make sure that the cord is plugged in tightly. If it is multiple phones, contact your service provider and have them assist you further.
#7. Standardize your mobile VoIP.
Thanks to ever-evolving technology, we all are pretty much able to access the internet from anywhere at any time with our mobile smartphones. This communication “on the go” is something that more and more businesses (even the smaller ones) need to take note of.
There are additional tools that can be added to your mobile device that would typically be used in a more traditional work setting, such as making sure their smartphone rings when someone dials their desk extension if they're at home or on the road or even simply wanting to make sure they can wander around the office or campus with a fully functioning headset in their ear.
To make certain that call quality is prioritized, begin by looking at where your employees are conducting their mobile conversations. Then, look to standardize practices to make your office and at home networks more consistent (and modern).
#8. Make sure you do your research and choose the right internet service provider (ISP).
Each provider has different priorities, and public internet is a best-effort service. One company may prioritize web surfing rather than VOIP phone service. For businesses with up to 10 phones in use at any given time, some internet providers generally offer “business class” service configured for VoIP traffic.
Business-grade voice-over-IP (VoIP) phone services provide so many types of features today. Device independence, mobile clients, and smartphone apps are just a few of the goodies you might find in potential VoIP subscriptions. Many of these features will become even more critical as companies and their employees become more acquainted with working in less traditional work environments. Be sure to ask about any additional charges associated with this upgrade in service, though, and have the charges laid out before signing any contracts.
Even when you take every precaution to ensure that your call quality is up to par, things can go wrong, and disruptions can occur. When this happens, get an expert involved. When there is a significant performance issue or quality discrepancy, the experts are there to help.
Start by calling your service provider and see if they can walk you through a solution. If all else fails, schedule an in-person service visit. These experts can fix the problems you are experiencing and offer additional support and advice on optimizing your Wi-Fi network coverage.
It's time to learn how VoIP can benefit your business. Schedule a call with our sales team to explore the advantages.