10 Ways to Help VOIP Quality

December 10, 2012

The past three or four years have seen hosted VoIP application come of age. It is estimated that sometime in 2013 VoIP will outpace tradition voice services in call volume.

Choosing a VoIP provider requires a few considerations. Most important should be the quality of the service provider. You want to begin by looking at the service provider you choose today: do they know voice? Do they know data? How much experience do they have in delivering VoIP? Like choosing any vendor, if they don’t ask questions about your network be wary.

Here are the top ten problems to avoid to make your experience a better one.

1. YOUR INTERNAL NETWORK

Call quality can suffer if your network isn’t configured correctly; particularly if you’re routing both data and voice over the same internal network. The solution is to use a VLAN capable switch that is properly configured. In addition many of these VLAN capable switches also have POE (power over Ethernet) built in so each individual phones does not need to be plugged into an electrical outlet.

2. LATENCY

In a network, latency equals delay. The delay is how much time it takes for a packet of data to get from one designated point to another. It can also be the gap of time between when a call participant speaks and the time the other party hears. There are several types of latency that can affect voice quality. A high- quality VoIP router and prioritizing VoIP traffic over your network can address some latency. Many VOIP providers will also include and manage that equipment for optimum service. HBS highly recommends this practice.

3. BAD CUSTOMER EQUIPMENT

Sometimes equipment just goes bad. If your business uses its internet connection for both voice (VOIP) and data, you’ll need a router that prioritizes VoIP traffic. Without a VoIP-priority router, downloading a large file while you’re on a call can make call quality spotty. cory communications recommends this equipment be provided and managed by your VOIP provider..

4. JITTER

Jitter is the variations in the delay of packets that are received by the user. Packets are sent in a continuous stream, spaced evenly apart. Problems like network congestion, improper queuing, varied packet delays, or configuration errors, can make this steady stream choppy.

You can compensate for the jitter with a router or Edge devices that receive a Real-Time

5. FAULTY WIRING MAY NOT BE YOUR FAULT.

Your facility has a demarcation point where the public switched telephone network connects to on-premises wiring. Your demarcation point can usually be identified as a network interface box installed by the telephone network. Legacy telephone systems used a cabling that was called CAT 3. Most of today’s cabling uses CAT 5 or higher. Both computer networks and VOIP telephones operate using CAT 5. Using the correct equipment allows you to share one connection for each user. Proper wiring insures the best quality of service.

6. PROBLEMS WITH ETHERNET SWITCHES AND HUBS

Having a local area network which contains hubs could lead to bad call quality. It’s best if each phone has a straight home run connection to your 100 Base-T VLAN capable POE ( Power over Ethernet ) switch. If your facility has multiple Ethernet switches for sharing single wiring drops, call quality will suffer. These scenarios should be discussed as part of the discovery process when looking into Hosted VOIP. Hutchinson Business Solutions can help your organization access these potential hazards.

7. POOR QUALITY OR INADEQUATE INTERNET CONNECTION

Your internet service provider may be optimized for web surfing rather than VoIP phone service. The transportation of voice packets requires particular internet protocols that your internet service may not provide. For businesses that have up to 10 phones in use at any given time, cable high speed internet generally offer “business class” service that is configured for VoIP traffic. Please note the only true way to get guaranteed quality of service with a guarantee in writing from the service provider is to purchase your new Hosted VOIP service from a provider that can provide end to end connectivity using T-1 or higher.

8. ECHOES DURING CALLS

We’ve all had the notorious phone-echo. Believe it or not this is common. The guilty party is usually on the end of the person who does not hear the echo. In addition low-quality handsets can be the cause. The easy fix may be as easy as turning down your hand set volume.

9. CRACKLING SOUNDS DURING CALLS

Crackling is usually a wiring or hardware with either the handset or headset or the device’s cord. If this occurs see if it’s affecting all of the phones or just one. If it’s just one try the cord first. Your phone may simply not be connected properly. If not, there are more serious wiring issues at hand.

10. SILENCE AND ” ELECTRONIC ” SOUNDING VOICES

If a call participant experiences periods of silence or voices that sound “robotic,” the cause is generally packet loss. This is usually caused by insufficient internet bandwidth. You need around 100kbps in both directions to prevent packet loss and ensure good VoIP calls. Ensure that your internet connection has adequate bandwidth for your business’s calls and level of network usage. HBS highly recommends that, when you operate above 10 phones, a T-1 connection to the carrier will go a long way to insure Quality of Service.

 

For more information about Hosted VOIP or any other telecommunications and cloud services please contact us at           george@hbsadvantage.com

Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

Grab That Phone

November 10, 2010

 Just how important is the phone to business?

 Many view it as a link to the outside world. 

 My Pop used to say, “Nothing starts until the phone starts ringing.”

 He and his brother owned Hutchinson Plumbing and

 Boy did the phone ring!

 When I first got out of college, I worked on the dispatch desk. The phones would start ringing the moment we walked in the door and would not stop until we locked the door behind us at the end of the day. Back in the early 70’s we were getting close to 300 calls a day. On top of that, I was also dispatching 4 service trucks. Walking out of the building at the end of the day, I would still hear the phones ringing in my ears. It usually took about an hour or so to unwind.

 The telecom industry has come a long way since the early 70’s.

 Back then; Bell Telephone was king of the copper.

 Pots (Plain Old Telephone Service) lines were your only option.

 With the deregulation of the Telecom Industry in 1996, competition was introduced to the market and the industry started to evolve. Instead of using copper to feed individual telephone lines, they introduced fiber and the whole market exploded. All of a sudden they were able to deliver 24 lines thru one fiber cable.

At the same time the Internet was being introduced to the public and providers were able to deliver both telephone service and Internet service thru one fiber connection.

As the industry continued to evolve, a number of individuals in research environments, both in educational and corporate institutions, took a serious interest in carrying voice and video over IP networks. This technology is commonly referred to today as VOIP and is, in simple terms, the process of breaking up audio or video into small chunks, transmitting those chunks over an IP network, and reassembling those chunks at the far end so that two people can communicate using audio and video. 

The problem with VOIP in the beginning was the inability to deliver Quality of Service (QOS). You would be talking to someone on the phone and they would be saying ” Hey I am speaking to you thru the Internet.” My response, “Yea I know” either there was an echo, delay , or the voice transmission was broken up or you heard a lot of static. This was one of the main issues that kept VOIP from being embraced by business. It just seemed too unprofessional to be able to exist in a business climate.

The major providers have now addressed this QOS problem by letting you ride their network. This has brought us to a whole new era called appropriately, Hosted VOIP.

Gone are the QOS issues and expanded are the services now available to the consumer:

-voicemail to email

-twinning (ringing both your phone and cell phone  simultaneously)

-HotDesking (make and receive calls using any OfficeSuite  phone on the network)

-outlook integration

-remote workers can be supported over an Internet connection.

 How old is your business telephone system?

If it is over 10 years old, you are limping and on borrowed time.

You may choose to keep limping.

Should you choose to look at a new telephone system, I would strongly recommend reviewing the opportunities available by choosing a Hosted VOIP system.

HBS represents all the major providers and we can schedule a demo of the various systems. Come and kick the tires and see how the telecom industry has evolved.

You no longer have to be afraid to answer the phone.

To learn more about Hosted VOIP products email george@hbsadvantage.com 

Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com