If you’re planning to make the move to internet-based telephony, you can expect to enjoy crystal-clear call quality, as well as numerous features that revolutionize the way small businesses communicate. However, while even consumer-grade voice over IP (VoIP) solutions, such as Skype, offer many benefits over the traditional landline, problems with call quality can still arise.
While a VoIP provider is your best bet for identifying and remedying any issues with your service, there are a few things you can do to enjoy your communications to their fullest potential. In this post, we’ll be looking at some of the factors that influence VoIP call quality and how you can optimize them to implement a system that’s even better than the large-scale PBX systems used by big enterprises.
Traditional landlines use analogue voice communications, which convert voices into electronic signals that need to be converted back into voice on the other end of the line. That means they’re subject to interference caused by various factors, such as weather conditions and line quality. However, with internet telephony, voice is carried digitally, in the form of ones and zeros, which are then decoded.
Thanks to the digital nature of VoIP, users benefit from direct control over the quality of their calls. Nonetheless, interference issues, such as jitter, may present a problem in certain situations. Since voice is sent in the form of packets of digital data in chronological order, factors like configuration errors and network congestion can cause problems.
White the measures described later in this article should also help to address jitter and other interference issues, it’s important to first ensure you’re using infrastructure that’s up to the task. You can fix smaller jitter problems by using Category 6 ethernet cables, which are capable of transmitting data at higher frequencies and, therefore, improving audio quality. You can eliminate more severe jitter by installing a software-based jitter buffer, which your vendor should be able to provide.
As with anything, you get what you pay for, so don’t expect top-quality performance if you’re only willing to invest in budget handsets and other hardware. While there’s probably no need to invest in a $500 luxury handset, you should make sure that all devices feature noise-cancelling microphones and high-definition audio at the very least. You should also use wired USB headsets where convenient, since wireless Bluetooth and other cordless designs may be subject to increased interference.
Another piece of hardware that every business should invest in when implementing VoIP is a router that prioritizes VoIP traffic. As VoIP uses your internet connection, other online activities, such as downloading files or accessing other cloud-based services, will be jostling for bandwidth. Even if you have an extremely fast internet connection, it is still important to allocate and prioritize bandwidth.
Monitoring your network will allow you to keep an eye on bandwidth consumption and identify processes that might be causing unnecessary congestion. However, most enterprise-ready routers let you manage internet traffic of certain types so that things like VoIP calls take priority over less important activities, such as large file transfers and streaming video services.
You can also configure your network to reduce loads during peak times, which is particularly useful for businesses that rely on cloud-based applications and storage for everyday function.
While many call quality problems are easily solvable by making a few configuration changes and investing in quality hardware, the speed of your internet connection ultimately has the final say. After all, increasing dependence on cloud computing and other online activities translate into a need for faster internet connections. That’s why every business should invest in the fastest and most reliable solution available in its area.
Assuming you have a business connection, which you should, your ISP should be able to ensure you’re getting the speeds promised by your service level agreement. If you’re not, then it might be time to change provider.
VoIP is far more than just another trend in the world of business communications. It’s now the norm rather than the exception, not least because it allows you to be smarter with your resources and reduce costs accordingly. If you’re ready to start enjoying the flexibility, performance and reliability of modern VoIP, call Dyrand Systems today.