Phones are absolutely essential to any company’s communications arsenal. After Alexander Graham Bell made the first coast-to-coast long-distance call in 1915, it was clear that the technology had the power to transform businesses. Today, with the universal adoption of broadband Internet, phone services powered by VoIP (Voice over IP) have gained widespread use among businesses of all sizes. But as with all emerging technologies, there were some kinks to work out.
The main factor in disjointed, start-stop sounding messages in a VoIP environment is packet loss, which occurs if individual data “packets” are lost in transmission. When this occurs, the gateway at the receiving end of the call tries to predict what’s been lost, but when it can’t, the gap in data remains empty. With some tweak to your router’s QoS (Quality of Service) and your VoIP system’s bandwidth settings, sending and receiving voice data can become smoother and these interruptions can be reduced. Of course, having a solid Internet service provider is an important prerequisite for VoIP, which is not so much reliant on high bandwidth numbers as it is on clean line quality with low latency, low jitters and no packet loss (business class internet based on dedicated infrastructures such as fiber tends to fare better than shared infrastructures such as cable).
Many VoIP systems use an ATA, or Analog Telephone Adapter, to convert analog voice signals to digital signals. This sometimes produces static during calls, with the culprits usually being incompatible power supplies or feedback from the phones plugged into the ATA. Easy fixes include unplugging/replugging the ATA and/or the devices connected to it, or switching to IP Phones, which require no analog/digital conversions.
It’s fun to hear your voice repeating throughout the high-walled canyon you’re hiking, but not so great when you’re having a quick chat on the phone. Although VoIP echo won’t totally disrupt your conversation, there are a few things you can do to reduce it, such as adjusting volume and gain settings, upgrading your USB headsets, or implementing VoIP echo cancellation software.
Commonly referred to as PDD in VoIP parlance, post-dial delay is fairly self-explanatory. It refers to a delay between the time the caller finishes dialing and when they hear ringing, a busy signal, or some other kind of “in-call” information. It can be a nuisance when, instead of the ringing being delayed, it never actually occurs and you suddenly realize that your call has been connected.
This is actually an external issue from a vital piece of VoIP technology known as SIP (Session Initiation Protocol). At the moment, the only solace we can offer is that its widespread nature means you’re not alone, and a solution should be coming along soon.
By now, it’s clear to most small- and medium-sized businesses that a VoIP phone system can benefit them, even with the occasional delayed ring or scratchy call. Because what we’ve learned from previous telephony advances is that inconveniences like these are manageable. We can help you manage—from VoIP planning to installation to optimization. Contact us today for more information.