VoIP call quality is a primary factor in delivering a great customer experience. It can be easy for everyone to go about their day and not pay too much attention to the quality of calls. Over time, call quality can begin to slip, leaving you at a loss as to how to fix the problem.
Many things work together to get a clear voice message from the caller to the receiver. Give your phone system an initial advantage starting with implementation and monitor it regularly for clear and consistent call quality.
Call agents and customers alike will notice and appreciate your efforts.
What Is a VoIP Phone System?
A VoIP phone system refers to a phone system that lets you make voice calls using an internet connection as opposed to transmitting voice signals over a traditional analog phone line. With a VoIP phone system, you can call someone else that has the same service or anyone else that has a phone number. That includes long-distance phone numbers, mobile numbers, and international numbers. VoIP phone systems also work with traditional phones that are connected to the internet, provided you have a specific setup.
VoIP call quality is the clarity and responsiveness of voice calls made through internet packet delivery. Many factors have a bearing on VoIP quality because of the nature of data delivery via the internet.
Specifically, these factors are:
- SIP phones
- VoIP servers
- VoIP service provider
- Internet connection
To a large degree, the quality of VoIP calls depends on having a stable internet connection.
While internet stability is an important factor, addressing internet issues alone may not be enough to improve call quality. It’s entirely possible that the cause of the trouble can be attributed to another part of your VoIP infrastructure.
To get at the root of the problem, you have to identify which component isn’t performing well. Even if you’re not a tech person, it’s good to have a decent understanding of how a VoIP system works, how to implement it properly, and how to monitor the quality of your calls.
How to Implement a VoIP Phone System
It’s hard to run a business today without having a good and reliable internet connection. It’s often only when your internet goes down that you realize how much your business relies on it to perform your most vital functions.
Your employees and customers value clear call connections. The good news is that there’s no reason to sacrifice VoIP call quality. To have a reliable VoIP phone system to support your call center, pay attention to your quality of service metrics, and be sure to have a backup system in place. The right call center software will be one of your biggest protections for call quality.
VoIP Implementation Issues
Here are the top three important issues for phone system implementation:
- 1. Get familiar with network terms – VoIP traffic increases the load that your internet network carries. Bandwidth is a term you need to get acquainted with. You need to have sufficient bandwidth to have room for all your communication needs. For example, music and video streaming take up a lot of bandwidth. When you start running low on bandwidth, you start getting unclear voice quality, dropped calls, or both.
- 2. Consistently analyze your communications – Quality-of-service (QoS) implementation is a feature of routers and switches that you can set to prioritize voice signals over other types of traffic. For the best call quality, set QoS so that voice traffic is a priority over data traffic.
- 3. Make sure your network is secure – Internet hacks are increasing and you should be familiar with any threats that they pose to your phone system. Some VoIP systems use firewalls to protect against outside attacks and most of them operate between switching, data encryption, and transportation between hosts. It’s not as concerning when you use a cloud-based phone system because whoever hosts the servers has security protection in place to handle encryption and data protection.
After you implement your VoIP phone system, keep monitoring your network to ensure smooth traffic flow to prevent bottlenecks in phone and data traffic.
How to Monitor VoIP Call Quality
Now that you have a better understanding of the things that can interfere with call quality, you need to continue monitoring the system to detect things like popping noises, distortion, echoing, dropped calls, and one-way audio.
When you speak into a microphone, the raw voice audio gets converted into a digitized stream, and then it’s compressed into multiple digital data packets. The individual packets get transmitted through an electronic device, the router, and the server. The data packets continue through the carrier network to the recipient’s device. On the other end, the process gets reversed and the data packets convert to an audio message for the receiver.
With so many steps along the way, there are plenty of places that things can go wrong. Having a strong, stable internet connection is always a good place to start to improve call quality, but the culprit could lie in another part of the process.
VoIP Quality Issues
Here are three other things to look for:
- 1. Latency delays – You can experience delays in the audio when the compressed audio is traveling through the initial provider network. Latency won’t affect the quality of the audio, but it causes problems because it throws off the timing of the delivery.
- You may have noticed this if you’ve ever been on a call where it sounds like the other person is speaking over you or you can hear the speaker’s voice at irregular and awkward times.
- 2. Jitter – For audio to be intelligible, it has to be played at a constant rhythm and that will highlight any interference. When the data packets arrive at their destination at irregular intervals, it interferes with call quality causing jittery speech patterns. If the packets arrive too quickly, you’ll miss some of the audio. If they arrive too late, you’ll hear bouts of silence.
- 3. Packet loss – If the data packets get lost or delayed along their journey or they have errors in them, the network may drop them altogether and you’ll get missing chunks of audio.
How to Troubleshoot VoIP Call Quality Issues
Generally, the “go-to” solution for call quality is to check the strength of the internet connection and if there are any known problems with the system. That’s a good start, but it won’t necessarily clear up all your call quality issues.
Remember that it takes many components working together in tandem to get voice signals from point A to point B. The interconnectivity that’s inherent with voice messaging means that voice quality problems rarely occur in just one part of the process. Your network may need a check-up to ensure high call quality consistently.
Your VoIP service provider may be able to pinpoint some of the problems and improve the service faster than general IT people that don’t deal with VoIP issues on a regular basis.
Some of the other things you can check are:
- Quality of headsets
- The router rules
How to Prevent VoIP Sound Quality Issues
In most cases, VoIP phone systems have excellent sound quality. You can prevent many sound issues by preventing them on the front end and monitoring your system to address any problems along the way.
To take a proactive approach to prevent sound quality issues, these tips will guide you in the right direction.
- Audit your existing system regularly—check all the components including software.
- Be aware that voice data should have priority over other types of data.
- Determine your bandwidth requirements to ensure high quality for calls.
- Choose equipment and software that’s open, interoperable, and supports interconnectivity.
Finally, choose the right VoIP phone system provider. A good provider will be at your service if you experience any problems with call quality. If your internet connection is working properly, your VoIP service provider can usually resolve problems quickly and it saves you the hassle of dealing with multiple vendors.
10 VoIP Performance Management Best Practices
Your VoIP phone system will provide you with years of good call quality when you follow these 10 industry-leading best practices for VoIP performance management:
- 1. Verify your network stability to prevent choppy audio.
- 2. Test your devices, headsets, and network for latency issues.
- 3. Check firewalls to be sure they’re not blocking the flow of traffic.
- 4. Make sure you have quality network cables for all devices to improve call quality.
- 5. Put VoIP phones on your network into their own Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) to segment it from other traffic.
- 6. Ensure that incoming calls ring and don’t go to voicemail.
- 7. Make sure you’re prioritizing SIP traffic with QoS on your router.
- 8. Test your system for the speed that you can request and receive data (ping).
- 9. Test your system for variations in response time (jitter).
- 10. Choose a reputable VoIP phone system provider with a proven track record.
Many of the past problems with the call quality of VoIP phone systems have been worked out over time. Aircall uses a market-leading infrastructure and partners with local providers in select markets to ensure that you get excellent call quality with every call. Our system gives you optimal call quality without dropped calls or downtime.
While it’s good for you to know a little about what goes on behind the scenes that affects call quality, Aircall has several data centers globally and invests in redundancy on every level to address potential areas of call failure so that you don’t have to.
Poor call quality is a turnoff for customers, and they’ll reflect that in their reviews of your company. In business, you can’t control everything, but when you work with Aircall, worrying about call quality won’t be one of them.