When it comes to your phone system, you want something that is reliable, flexible, and of the highest quality. Call quality is important (especially for your business) because it is one of your main sources of contact. If someone cannot contact you and/or receives a poor connection, a number of problems can occur: misunderstood information, customer frustration, and even a poor business image. After all, if your customer cannot easily communicate with you and your business, then they will likely look to other businesses for help.
Thankfully, Voice over Internet Protocol (commonly referred to as VoIP) provides a reliable phone system that is of the highest quality. In fact, most people say that VoIP offers the same (if not better!) call quality as a Plain Old Telephone System (POTS). The difference is that your POTS relies upon outdated copper wiring to complete your call, while VoIP uses your existing Internet connection to make and receive calls. This not only ensures quality, but it also makes calling more affordable for you!
First and foremost, using VoIP requires a broadband Internet connection in order to properly function. If you currently have a high-speed Internet connection yet are experiencing lower than normal call quality, there are a few things you can do. To ensure that your business or home is getting the best call quality possible, consider these tips:
Test your jitter & packet loss
Packet loss is defined as a measurement (represented by a percentage) that indicates what rate of packets sent from a computer do not make it to the remote computer. Ideally, you want 0% packet loss. Jitter is defined as the measure of the variability over time of the latency across a network, and is a variable of packet loss. High jitter often creates choppy or scrambled audio. This is one of the most common reasons for poor call quality. However, it can easily be solved to make for a better calling experience. In order to reduce your jitter, you can store voice packets in a jitter buffer upon arrival and before producing audio . You can also try replacing your current Ethernet cable with a Category 6 one. Doing so will ensure that your data arrives in order, as well as transferring information more quickly.
Check your equipment for updates
Did you know that outdated equipment can actually result in a poor connection and low-quality calls? And this isn't only physical equipment: we're also talking about old firewalls and software, too. Outdated equipment can lead to less than desirable VoIP call quality simply because they are not running the latest updates or software. Also, if you are using headsets to place calls, be sure these accessories have short, insulated cords.
Although we rely on WiFi to connect to multiple devices and to make mobility easy, this is not the case for VoIP. While VoIP can function over WiFi, it is not desirable. Choosing a hardwired Ethernet connection for your business phone is preferred. However, sometimes Ethernet is not an option, especially in a large business. In cases like these, you can use what is known as a Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications, or DECT. These are cordless phones that have their own spectrum, along with a base station that plugs into your computer's USB port.
Assess your network congestion
VoIP relies entirely upon your existing Internet connection to function. In lieu of this, it is important that you have ample amounts of bandwidth available for VoIP. VoIP will be competing alongside other devices for your Internet connection, and will not function properly if your connection is being used by multiple other sources (downloads, streaming music, watching Netflix, online gaming, etc.). By reducing these activities, you can ensure that there is enough bandwidth available for VoIP to work at its best. You can also adjust your Quality of Service (QoS) through your router to prioritize VoIP traffic. A more expensive option is to purchase a an assured contention ratio (also referenced as a Committed Information Rate, or CIR), which secures a set amount of bandwidth no matter how busy your connection gets.