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Troubleshooting VoIP Calls : 4 Common VoIP Problems & Solutions

When your VoIP calls are disrupted by dropped calls, garbled audio and stuttered speech, it can be a huge distraction for everyone involved. Fortunately, most issues with VoIP call quality are caused by the same factors and can be easily diagnosed and solved. Here are some common VoIP call issues and how to troubleshoot them so that you can get back to what really matters—taking care of your business.

  • Packet Loss
  • Jitter
  • Latency
  • Echo and noise

Packet Loss

When you make a VoIP call, the audio of that call is broken up into tiny pieces of data packets that take milliseconds to transmit. Those packets are turned into digital information that flows between you and the person you’re calling.

If some of the packets sent from one caller to another don’t reach their destination, packet loss has occurred. A handful of packets being lost won’t affect the conversation, but you’ll experience call quality issues when the percentage of packet loss increases.

Jitter

Jitter is a type of network latency that occurs when packets are delayed or dropped during transmission. You may experience jitters if your connection has poor quality or if it’s too slow for the amount of data being sent through it at once. This causes gaps in the audio stream, making it difficult for both parties to understand what is being said on the other end.

Latency

Latency is the time it takes for data to travel from one point to another. In terms of VoIP, latency is the time it takes for your call to be connected to your recipient’s phone. When you’re on a traditional telephone line, latency is very low because the phone companies use dedicated circuits that connect directly between two locations. With VoIP, however, there are many more steps involved in getting your call from your computer to someone else’s computer. These steps can lead to higher-than-normal latency. 

For example, if you’re using an Internet service provider (ISP) for broadband Internet access and a local company for local phone service, there may be several hops between you and the person you’re calling. If any of these hops have poor bandwidth or congestion, this can increase latency on your call significantly.

Echo and noise

One of the most common issues with VoIP calls is echo and noise. Echo is when your voice comes back to you on a call and it sounds like you’re talking in a cave or at the bottom of a well. The reason for this is that when you talk, sound waves travel out of your mouth and into the microphone. Then those same sound waves bounce off of your phone or speaker and back into your ears. When there are too many echoes, it can be very difficult or impossible to hear what’s being said on the other end of the line.

Noise can be caused by any number of things, but one common cause is interference from other devices or appliances in your office building — especially if they’re running 24/7 like air conditioning units or refrigerators. If possible, try moving around different areas of your building to see if the problem follows you around, or if it stays in one place like an electrical outlet near your desk where you plug in all of your devices every day before work starts.

VoIP Troubleshooting: Steps to Solving Call Quality Issues

Speed Test Your VoIP Connection

Speed is an important factor in the quality of your VoIP experience. If you have an internet connection that can’t handle data quickly enough, it can cause distortion and delay in voice calls. You can use an online speed test tool like SpeedTest.net to see how quickly your internet connection is able to transfer data. It’s also important to make sure that you’re not using a wireless connection for your VoIP phone system because wireless signals are much slower than wired connections.

Reboot Your Router

The first thing you should do when you experience VoIP issues is to reboot your router. Doing this will clear out any temporary issues, and it’s often the easiest way to fix a problem. If you’re using an Internet modem/router combo device, then simply unplug it from the power source for about 30 seconds and then plug it back in after that time has elapsed. If you’re using a separate modem and router, then turn off both devices and wait for about 30 seconds before turning them back on again.

Update Your Phone's Software

If your phone system is brand new and you’ve never applied any updates, then this is the first thing you should do before trying anything else. Many VoIP providers offer software updates to fix bugs or add new features that may improve call quality. After updating the software on your phone’s base station and all handsets, ensure that all users have applied the update as well. If any devices still aren’t getting better reception then proceed with other steps.

Try a Ping Test

A ping test is a simple way to test the network connection between two devices. The ping test sends a small packet of data from one device to another and then waits for a response. If the response time is less than 100 milliseconds, you can be sure that your connection is good enough to support VoIP calls. If the response time is greater than 100 milliseconds, then you may want to make some adjustments.

Don't overload the network

When people begin using voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services in their office, they often assume that they’ll never have a problem with call quality because they’re using an internet connection instead of traditional phone lines. This may be true for small businesses or home offices that have a limited number of employees using the service at any given time, but it’s important to remember there will still be periods during which more people are using the service than others — especially if your organization has multiple shifts or employees who work remotely at one location but not another (for example, this could happen when workers travel between different locations). In these instances, congestion or overload on your network may cause dropped.

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