With the rapid spread of VoIP phones all over the world, more and more companies are encountering VoIP problems. These problems could involve company calls constantly breaking up, or phone calls with customers and partners which suffer from poor audio quality. Entrepreneurs often think they’ll find the solution they’re looking for with another VoIP provider.
But does switching to another VoIP provider really make sense? What should you do if VoIP problems persist? How can you help yourself without calling in an expensive technician?
Find out in this article.
What is VoIP?
VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol – basically means to make phone calls over the Internet. Unlike traditional phone systems that transmit voice signals via telephone wires, with VoIP your audio data is transmitted over the Internet. This gives you several advantages:
● You need significantly less hardware
● You can make calls at a much lower price than with a ISDN fixed network
● You can access your virtual telephone system flexibly and from any location
● You can smoothly combine your VoIP telephone system with many other digital solutions
VoIP is being used by more and more people in both the private and public sector. In addition to the advantages already mentioned, the shutdown of the aging ISDN fixed network in various countries by 2022 is another driver of this development.
How does VoIP work?
Put simply, when you make a call using a VoIP phone, your analog voice signals are converted into the smallest possible data packets. These data packets are then transmitted via the Internet (as you know already) to the device of the person you’re talking to. Once there, it’s then reassembled into an audio signal and played back via loudspeaker.
The router, your network and the server of your VoIP provider (among other components) play an important role in this process. If one or more parts of this communication chain are not working properly, the quality of your call will suffer. These components of a VoIP communication chain are different for every network. For this reason, you or your VoIP / network provider must alter the Security Rules when you first introduce your VoIP phone. The Security Rules tell your voice recordings (or the compressed data packets) how to get to your call partner’s location, and back again.
But what requirements do you need to fulfill before you are able to make calls via VoIP? What standards must your infrastructure meet before you can set up VoIP in your office?
VoIP requirements: what you need for Internet telephony
To make calls smoothly over the Internet, you must have a reliable broadband Internet connection. For VoIP the absolute minimum requirement is 64 kBit/s. You also need a router that allows you to connect to the Internet and is IP-enabled. This requirement is probably the smallest hurdle, as you most likely already own such a router, or have one from your ISP.
If you have a broadband connection, you should install a SIP trunk. What’s a SIP trunk? A SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunk is a digital phone line (and also the term for the computer language) which allows you to make phone calls using VoIP. But other online communication methods – such as digital fax – also work thanks to SIP. Although you’ll still need a softphone, which is software that lets you make calls over the Internet. This is where your VoIP provider comes in.
Do you meet all the VoIP requirements yet still struggle with VoIP problems? Before you start looking for a new VoIP provider or hire an expensive phone tech, here’s a few things you can do to spruce up your phone system yourself:
Optimize your network with QoS (Quality of Service)
When you and your employees are connected to the Internet, various data passes through your network. They may send emails, download files from the Internet, or add new data to your cloud. The issue is, when there’s a high volume of data – the transfer can quickly stall. The result is a delay, or even a complete termination of the data transfer. For your VoIP phone, this means it can’t transfer your audio fast enough. Your call then suffers from delays or breaks off completely.
With a QoS (Quality of Service), you can allocate fixed portions of your data volume to different data types. You can determine yourself how much capacity will be reserved for your VoIP phone. Just like on a highway, you assign your own lanes to your e-mails, downloads, and VoIP telephone system. The configuration of a QoS is technically quite complicated, but can be done by a competent technician via your router. If you want to try your hand at QoS yourself, we recommend at least 64 kBit/s for a stable VoIP telephone system, which you reserve for Internet telephony.
Use high quality headsets and devices
Your VoIP phone offers you the most advanced phone solution on the market. No matter what demands you have on your phone system, you can meet them with VoIP and a solid Internet connection. Another advantage of a VoIP phone is that you can use different devices to make calls. PCs, laptops, tablets, and even your old landline phones – can be set up for VoIP. However, if you are struggling with poor audio quality, you may need to upgrade your hardware.
Modern call centers predominantly use powerful PCs and laptops as VoIP phones. In addition to the high performance of these devices, you can easily combine phone calls with other workflows on your computer. For example (as you probably already know from your own office) you can edit customer data in a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or work on plans together with a team. In combination with a laptop or PC, you should definitely use a reliable headset. With regular headphones or your device’s speaker, noise from your surroundings can often disrupt the flow of conversation.
Poor quality headsets and wireless headphones can easily lose connection with your VoIP phone or distort the sound. This is because the devices switch to one-way audio, which means voice signals are only transmitted in one direction. Therefore, if you keep experiencing voice distortion, it may be worth your while to invest in a professional headset.
A solid Internet connection is the basis for the quality of your VoIP phone calls
So far, you’ve learned the most promising ways to optimize your VoIP phone (which you can solve yourself or with a phone system technician). But what should you do if you continue to struggle with VoIP problems?
Imagine this scenario: you have modern PCs or smartphones in your business that you can use to make phone calls. Your routers are IP-enabled, and you also have a SIP trunk installed. You’ve studied various VoIP providers in detail and have already decided on one.
But already in the first few weeks of using your new phone system you notice that your phone calls are getting interrupted again and again. The helpful – but rather expensive – telephone technician for your VoIP provider makes an effort to fix this, but ultimately your situation doesn’t change. What’s the reason for this?
Outdated Internet connection as the main culprit of VoIP problems
In all likelihood, you’re using an outdated network. You may have an Internet connection, but you’re using an infrastructure that can no longer meet the needs of your business. Unfortunately, a technician who specializes in phone systems can do little to nothing about this.
If your Internet connection doesn’t have enough “horsepower”, then no modern equipment, expensive technicians, switching providers, or solution approaches like configuring a QoS – will make any difference. On the other hand, switching to a modern high-speed Internet with a solid infrastructure can solve many common VoIP problems. If your network easily handles all these challenges, then old landline phones can even suffice for VoIP telephony, and you can choose your VoIP provider based on criteria that’s more aligned with your daily business activity.
If you are connected to your Internet via WLAN, the connection of your VoIP phone can quickly drop. Here, fiber optic cable or DSL are your most reliable options. Wi-Fi is also not the most optimal solution as a transmission technology for your phone system. The reason for this is, walls and other signals can become obstructions, and slow your connection.
But what if your Internet connection is already fast enough, yet you still find yourself dealing with VoIP problems? As previously mentioned, you should refrain from choosing Wi-Fi as your transmission technology. If you are using a much more stable DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) network, insufficient cell distribution can be a reason for connection problems and poor audio quality.
DECT multi-cells for smooth VoIP telephony
DECT is a reliable transmission technology. It’s significantly less susceptible to interference compared to Wi-Fi. At Massive Network we like to use DECT as a basis for solid VoIP telephony. With DECT, you use cells in your company, which you connect to your virtual telephone system. Phone calls are made with a DECT phone or laptop – as long as you install a softphone (i.e. VoIP software).
Unfortunately, some companies have the issue that although they use DECT, they still frequently lose connection to their phone system. This is because they have too few cells installed in their business. If you leave this cell during a telephone call, the call is terminated. In addition, many currently active DECT phones are outdated and lack simple but essential features such as call forwarding to another DECT cell.
For this reason, you should install DECT multi-cells on your premises. This way, you’ll have a reliable phone network throughout your operation, and you won’t have to fret about dropped connections. It’ll also eliminate the need to switch your VoIP provider – as a solid network allows you to make smoother VoIP calls.
Which network makes the most sense for your business?
Are you thinking of switching your VoIP provider? Or perhaps you don’t make calls over the Internet as of yet, but soon you’d like to start with a reliable network?
Massive Network will advise you free of charge and without obligation. You’ll receive individual advice and concrete instructions for your network, with which you can make reliable VoIP calls. This way you can stay with your current VoIP provider, or you can look for VoIP software that best suits your needs – without having to worry about potential VoIP problems.
Want to make smooth VoIP calls with the right network? Book your free consultation with Massive Network now!