How to troubleshoot the 5 most common VoIP issues

How to troubleshoot the 5 most common VoIP issues

There’s no denying the myriad benefits and cost savings of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. It’s a flexible and scalable communications solution that enables businesses to connect and collaborate with stakeholders in a more convenient and less expensive way than conventional phone services.

But like any other piece of technology, VoIP isn’t immune to problems. The good news is that most of these can be easily solved on your own. Knowing how to spot and troubleshoot common networking, connectivity, security, and device issues with VoIP can save you a lot of time and money. So before you grab your phone to call tech support, try these quick solutions first.

Networking and LAN issues

Networking and Local Area Network (LAN) problems usually involve issues between computers or the equipment that connects them to the internet. Often, these are issues with the router; either it’s malfunctioning, or it isn’t suited for IP telephony.

When using VoIP, you’ll need a router that can be configured to prioritize internet-based calls. Most modern broadband routers have this feature — known as Quality of Service or QoS — and it allows you to dedicate more bandwidth to your VoIP service before any other app or device.

Troubleshoot networking and LAN issues by following these steps:

  1. Unplug the router. Wait for 30 seconds and then plug it back in.
  2. Set up QoS for VoIP. Most routers come with specific guides on implementing prioritization for voice traffic.
  3. Turn off SIP ALG.
  4. Update your router's firmware.

Bandwidth-related problems

Most VoIP problems that result from insufficient bandwidth allotment (e.g., difficulty making calls, one-way audio) can be addressed by doing the following:

  1. Decrease impeding equipment by connecting your computer or VoIP phone directly to your router or switch, instead of connecting to the internet via Wi-Fi.
  2. Check for damaged equipment and wiring. These can cause delays that can be mistaken as bandwidth-related.
  3. Reboot or restart your VoIP or network equipment to see if renewed connections speed things up.
  4. Close all other apps, especially those that eat up a lot of bandwidth, like streaming and gaming apps.
  5. Set up your router’s QoS to prioritize voice applications.

Choppy audio

You get choppy audio when certain words are dropped or voices keep cutting in and out, even though the call isn’t completely disconnected. If the other party’s voice keeps cutting in and out, then your download speed may be insufficient. Otherwise, your upload speed might be the culprit. Either way, choppy audio can often be attributed to low bandwidth capacity.

To resolve choppy audio, first verify if your VoIP connection is stable by performing a VoIP speed test. If your bandwidth is lower than what you're paying for, get in touch with your internet service provider. If it isn’t, consider turning off any bandwidth-hungry apps and ensure you’ve prioritized VoIP on your router’s QoS.

Echo

Echo in VoIP calls is typically caused by acoustic or electromagnetic interference and faulty equipment. An acoustic echo occurs when the earpiece or speaker volume is too loud and the sound overpowers the microphone, causing you to hear the same sound through your headset or speaker. Meanwhile, an electromagnetic echo occurs when different VoIP hardware components are too close together.

Try these easy fixes to VoIP echo issues:

  1. Cover your phone’s mouthpiece. If doing so reduces the echo you hear, you simply need to turn down the volume of your earpiece or speaker to get rid of it altogether.
  2. Keep your router farther away from your computer setup.
  3. Disconnect splitters and caller ID devices from your router and phone.
  4. Ensure your VoIP equipment’s wiring is dry and not too long.
  5. Replace or upgrade your old and outdated conferencing or calling equipment.

Jitter

Information is transported in data packets across the internet. These packets are transmitted at regular intervals and take a set amount of time to arrive at their intended destination. Jitter refers to the time delay between when voice packets are sent and received over a network connection. To make sure that voice calls are clear and understandable, use a jitter buffer. This is a tool that collects the packets first and then sends them to the receiver at a constant rate, resulting in improved call quality and reliability.

Sometimes, though, the jitter buffer can be configured incorrectly. This can result in packet loss (i.e., when packets fail to reach the receiver) and low-quality audio. In such cases, have a network administrator reconfigure the jitter buffer based on what problem you are experiencing.

Related reading: Keep your VoIP solution safe from cyberattacks with these top tips

If you’re still experiencing problems after giving these troubleshooting tips a try, it may be time to call in an expert. We at outsourceIT are ready to lend a hand. Get in touch with us today!


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