One of the best things about making the switch from a traditional phone system to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the list of features you’ll get to choose from. If you’re new to VoIP systems, you’ll be pleasantly surprised—maybe even astonished—at everything VoIP providers have to offer (especially since it’s typically lower priced than traditional phone services!).
Although VoIP is reliable, sometimes you can run into problems. Check out our list of the top six reasons your VoIP calls could be suffering and what you can do to fix them.
Before you look elsewhere for problems, check out your hardware. If you have older routers, older modems, or older CPUs that your calls must go through, they could be affecting your call quality. And don’t start replacing equipment out of hand when simple software upgrades may be the solution you’re looking for. Check with your hardware vendors for software and driver upgrades.
If you proceed carefully, with one update or upgrade at a time, you’ll find the culprit quickly enough. If you complete your updates without zeroing in on the problem, the good news is that you’ve avoided any issues with out of date equipment/software in the future?
You’ll notice that several of our reasons center around connections—for one obvious reason. After all, the very meaning of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) highlights its dependence on your internet connection. A weak or poor internet connection can lead to inconsistencies in the speed with which voice packets are sent and received. You may have heard of this inconsistency referred to as “jitter.” Subpar sound quality, echoing, and other similar audio symptoms can be attributed to jitter. A jitter test can quickly illustrate problems with weak connection problems.
Upgrading the speed and stability of your connection can result in calls with less “jitter.”
Saturation, in terms of your internet connection, refers to how many different applications, services, and users are availing themselves of your bandwidth at any given moment. A saturated internet connection can result in difficulty signing on to your VoIP service, dropping calls, and failing to connect to callers.
As you might expect, a saturated internet connection that results in VoIP issues can frequently be resolved by lowering its saturation. Consider devoting one connection to VoIP alone, or consider having multiple connections—one per department, for example.
First saturation, now congestion! The two sound similar, we know. But we’re using congestion to refer to problems that initiate with your internet provider—not with you. If you’ve checked for weak and oversaturated connections and still see no improvement in problems like packet dropouts, latency, and file transfers, and delays, your IP may be to blame. A VoIP quality test, after troubleshooting for problems on your end, can help reveal problems with your connection as it arrives from your internet provider.
You’ll have to make some phone calls to your IP to handle this one, since the problem originates on their end. To ensure that they address the problem, document each of your troubleshooting efforts and speed tests you’ve conducted before and after each attempt you’ve made to address the issue. Documentation and a bit of tech savvy is your friend here. Be prepared to answer their questions and to demand a response.
Your company should have a dedicated sales representative that you can approach with what you’ve already done in terms of troubleshooting.
This is mainly applicable if you’ve attempted to cut costs by going with a lesser known or smaller provider. Research all of your options before going with a carrier.
If you’ve conducted enough troubleshooting to know that the problem is on your end and you’ve determined (or been told) that your connection isn’t congested, per #4 on our list, it may simply be time to move on to a different IP provider.
You’ve got two options here: patch the leak, or abandon ship. Communicate with your IP and let your agent or representative know that the service they’re providing simply does not suit your needs, and you will need to move on to a different provider if this can’t be addressed. If it’s an established, reputable provider, they will likely send out a representative and/or a technician to determine the exact issue, and resolve it. If they don’t do that—well, it’s time to move on.
If you’ve done all of the above and found no solution, and your internet provider has demonstrated that they’re doing all they can to fix the issue, and providing proofs in the form of speedtests and other measures, it may be your VoIP provider. Not all vendors are created equally.
If approaching your vendor via your sales rep or other agent isn’t enough to solve the problem, consider a switch. Our VoIP Solution Guide gives you a great overview of the various VoIP software providers and what they offer.