What Factors Affect VoIP Voice Quality?

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In this modern IT age, businesses must ensure they can communicate reliably with their partners. Ensuring this is not always straightforward because there are many solutions that do not offer the reliability businesses need. The complexities of deploying a system that can handle all business communication needs are increasing. VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) has emerged as a viable solution for many businesses. Even though VoIP has improved over the years, there are still a few things that can affect the quality of calls made through this system.

Bandwidth and Network Parameters

The amount of bandwidth you have to dedicate to a VoIP call can drastically impact its quality. Many offices have a shared broadband option that is used by all their phones and computers. Such a shared connection is always under heavy load and this load affects call quality on VoIP. One way to solve this issue is to reconfigure your broadband connection so it gives priority to VoIP packets. When you do this, you ensure that the connection will always send these packets first before anything else.

Equipment

Many offices do not invest in new equipment as often as they should which means they use outdated equipment for their VoIP system. Some use cheap equipment that is of poor quality and has poor-quality components. Outdated and poor-quality equipment will always affect your VoIP connections. 

When investing in new equipment, businesses must ensure they buy items that are compatible with their needs. You want them to be able to handle multiple VoIP connections. You can get help choosing the best equipment online as there are a lot of forums and review sites that post detailed information about VoIP equipment. Furthermore, you can also talk to other businesses to see what they use and to get a fair review of the different types of equipment available. 

Audio Codecs

To use the available bandwidth as efficiently as possible, VoIP systems use audio codecs. These codecs compress audio at your end and decompress it on the other. Most VoIP providers use standardized audio codecs that have been tested to ensure they do not cause any issues. However, there are some who use proprietary codecs.

The amount of compression done by the chosen codec affects voice quality in that more compression leads to less data transmitted but lowers the quality of the voice sent. Additionally, there is always a delay during the compression and decompression process, which can vary depending on the codec used. 

A complex codec also means the VoIP system would need adequate resources to decode it, which can introduce additional delays and lags.

Echo

During a VoIP call, the audio signal is converted into a digital or analog signal and the other way round. When this happens, echo can be introduced into the call. The two main types of echoes are Hybrid echoes and acoustic echo. These echoes can also be caused by the amplification process. They can be difficult to contain, but many VoIP providers now have equipment that prevents this from happening.

The other cause of echo is jitter. What is jitter? Jitter happens when there is a delay in the transportation of data packets over an internet connection. Because of this, voices can repeat on a call, you can hear yourself talking, or there may be a delay large enough that you talk over the other person as you try to repeat yourself. 

OpenPhone has a detailed guide that answers the question “what is jitter?” in detail and discusses its various causes and what you can do to remedy the situation. OpenPhone is a business phone system that allows you to add numbers to all your existing devices. All you need is their app which also allows texting from all these numbers, group chats, call transfers, recording, and only allowing calls during work hours.

Internet Speed

One thing many business owners do not know is that many companies prioritize web browsing and web services when setting your broadband speed. What this means is that you might not have enough internet speed for a high-quality VoIP call. Remember that to have a high-quality call, you need to transmit large data packets, and this is not possible if the internet speed is too low.

If you are using a shared or a dial-up connection, you should switch to an enterprise data connection. These connections prioritize both data and voice packets, which are vastly different.

Latency

Latency is dictated by the amount of time data packets take to go to the receiver and back. Latency is felt the most if the distance between you and the end connection is long. This is why internet service providers try to place network termination points as close to you as possible.

Other factors that can affect latencies is the number of routers in your office. A higher number of routers means more hops, with each hop adding some delay to the data transmission. To solve this, get rid of the routers you have and replace them with one or two powerful routers. 

If you need to use network or Wi-fi repeaters and extenders, then always connect your VoIP system to the main router and everything else to the repeater or extender. 

Weather Conditions

This is something you can do nothing about, but it is still something to know about, especially if you are troubleshooting VoIP issues. Weather elements such as heavy rain, thunderstorms, and lightning produce static electricity which can affect your connection. You may not notice the effects of this static electricity when surfing the internet, but you will notice distortions and delays when on a VoIP call. 

One of the ways to deal with this is to unplug your system and plug it back in. This is admittedly a short-term solution, and your VoIP provider should find a long-term solution that works for you.

Many of the issues that impact the quality of a VoIP call can be rectified by upgrading your equipment and finding a reliable VoIP provider. Even though all this will be an investment, the cost will be worth it due to smoother and better business operations and communication reliability.

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