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5 Easy Ways to Improve Your VoIP Call Quality

Voice Over IP is The New Enterprise Standard for Phone Calls

As digital technology, particularly information technology, has become more advanced, many businesses have dropped traditional landline services in exchange for an IP based phone system. This is because the latter offers better options for productivity, and is much more cost-effective. However, if you find yourself struggling to communicate with customers or even colleagues via your Voice Over IP system, it may be time to start looking into increasing your VoIP call quality.

What You Can Do to Increase VoIP Quality

There are many things that can cause the quality of VoIP calls to deteriorate. Most of these have to do with your internet reliability, speed, and bandwidth. When an information packet is lost, or you get hit with a temporary slowdown as your ISP experiences issues, you typically won’t have much a problem say, browsing the internet or downloading a file.

If you’re on a Voice over IP call however, you and the caller could experience low call quality at best, and at worst stuttering or skipping audio that can make communication difficult, or even impossible. This can be extremely frustrating to customers, and may even keep them from calling you at all. This makes it extremely important that any business takes certain steps to maintain the call quality on their VoIP system.

#1: Identify Bottlenecks in Your Current Setup

If your VoIP calls are experiencing issues the first thing you need to do is identify where the bottlenecks in your network are. Bottlenecks are any aspects of your network that slows down your connection, or restricts bandwidth. If you think of your network as a pipe with water flowing through it, a bottleneck is anything that narrows that pipe. In practice, this can be things like:

● Outdated Routers
● Poorly-maintained servers
● Slow connection speeds from your Internet Service Provider
● Utilizing WiFi instead of a hardline connection
● And PCs with underperforming Network Cards

You can eliminate or at least alleviate these issues by keeping your network hardware upgraded and by using wired connections over wireless. To do this, you’ll want to employ network engineers with experience specifically in the areas of optimization and VoIP systems.

#2: Get the Most Out of Your ISP

Your Internet Service Provider is a big part of your VoIP system. An ISP with less than stellar service can leave you with a Voice over IP system that is severely lacking, or even unusable. It’s important that you choose an ISP that provides adequate support, as well as sufficient bandwidth and connection speed.

One of the things to look for here is a guaranteed Contention Ratio. Contention Ratio (or over subscription ratio) is the number of users sharing the same data capacity. The lower the contention ratio the higher the quality of service. A 50:1 contention ratio means that up to 50 broadband customers are sharing the same bandwidth at any one time.

During high-usage times, your internet may slow down as your ISP deals with all the extra traffic. A guaranteed contention ratio is basically a lower limit on the bandwidth you will be allowed at any given time.

During high-usage times, your internet may slow down as your ISP deals with all the extra traffic. A guaranteed contention ratio is basically a lower limit on the bandwidth you will be allowed at any given time.

To reuse a metaphor, it’s a guarantee that you get a certain amount of the water pipe at any one moment. This allows you to plan for a ‘worst case scenario” as far as available bandwidth goes, and you can adjust accordingly. You don’t want to suddenly get hit with bandwidth problems that can make VoIP calls impossible during peak hours.

#3: Implement Network Quality-of-Service Features

We mentioned packet-loss earlier, and how that has a noticeable effect on call quality, but not on things like file transfers or page loading. Quality-of-Service features can help ensure that network traffic for things that are sensitive to latency issues, like voice or video calling over IP, gets priority over things like file transfer and email, which are not overly latency-sensitive.

In less technical terms, it’s like creating an express lane for the most important and time-sensitive traffic on your network, the same way some expressways have HOV lanes or Emergency Vehicle Only lanes.

In less technical terms, it’s like creating an express lane for the most important and time-sensitive traffic on your network, the same way some expressways have HOV lanes or Emergency Vehicle Only lanes. This helps to keep your most important traffic, in this case customer calls, running smoothly.

You’ll also want to set up things like network monitoring in order to make sure that you are getting the speed, bandwidth, and uptime promised by your ISP.

#4: Upgrade Your Peripherals

The best network quality in the world is no good if audio is being broadcast over sub par speakers and transmitted with low-quality microphones. It’s important that you’re getting the most out of your VoIP system with high-quality headsets and phones, especially if you have employees that take calls on their cell phone. If this is the case, you may want to look into company phones for these employees so that you can standardize for troubleshooting, and ensure that all devices are sufficient for optimal call quality.

You’ll also want to train employees on any new peripherals in order to make sure they know how to diagnose simple issues, and eliminate some troubleshooting steps. Your IT service personnel don’t need to be called out to help employees figure out how to find the mute button on their new headsets.

#5: Switch to a Hosted PBX

If you’re serious about your VoIP system, especially if you want to allow employees to take calls from home, or on their cell phones, you need to invest in a hosted PBX system. PBX stands for Private Exchange Branch, and it functions in much the same way as an old analogue switchboard, but in a completely digital fashion. A hosted system moves all of your servers and other VoIP-specific equipment off-site, where it is managed by your VoIP provider, which gives you all of the features, and none of the maintenance hassle.

Looking for a VoIP business phone system? Call Press8 Telecom: 800-349-VOIP(8647)

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