VoIP Spear Blog: News & Noise
Sep 17, 2013

VoIP Problems: How to Deal with Packet Delays

VoIP sometimes gets a bad rep because of data packet delays, which lessen audio and video quality. The effect of packet delays to VoIP quality varies – and there will always be packet delays.

Delays are natural occurrences in telecommunications, even traditional communications. After all, voice and data travel through a series of systems: from satellites to landlines, or from servers to landlines to your digital phone. The difference between one service and another is the amount of delay. And delay has a direct effect on the quality of communications.

Good network service is able to minimize the effects of delay on your VoIP quality. Effects are negligible, imperceptible even. You experience continuous good quality talk and video reception. This is VoIP at its best.

Sometimes however, you may experience packet delays, which translates to increased latency in your network and VoIP systems. Latency is defined as the time it takes for packets to travel from one point to another. Increased latency can cause dips in VoIP quality, which is perceptible to the users as low audio and video quality, echo, feedback and pauses.

Latency issues can be addressed by either the user or the network manager, depending on the severity and cause of packet delays.

Read More

Apr 30, 2013

10 Reasons that Small Businesses Should Get VoIP Service

Small business owners need to make lithe business choices in this recovering economy, and one of the best choices they can make is changing over to VoIP phone service. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is the modern phone technology that allows users to make phone calls over the Internet.

VoIP is an extremely cheap and efficient phone solution for small businesses. All VoIP providers offer many customizable options, like scalable extensions and free calling features, so businesses can choose the best VoIP solution for their business. However, it can be tough to know where to start when looking into this new technology, so here are the top 10 reasons that a small business should choose VoIP service for their business:

1. Monthly Cost

Business VoIP providers offer phone service for half the cost that traditional providers offer. Most VoIP providers offer business plans at an average of $20/month per extension. There are often three main options when it comes to extensions: metered extensions, virtual extensions, and unlimited extensions.

A metered extensions plan is a business VoIP plan that charges by the minute. This is a good option for employees that make just a few calls a day.

Read More

Jan 29, 2013

VoIP Spear Refresh

VoIP Spear has been operating since 2008 and the site was starting to lose it's sheen, so we decided to do a refresh. At first, we were planning minor changes only, but one thing led to another and, before we knew it, two months of intense programming had passed.

The biggest change is the main chart page. We replaced the old Flash charts with Google charts. More significantly, we're now showing just one time period on the page. The default view is a six hour time period, and it's easy to change that. Also significant, we've broken the three main data points (MOS, packet loss, latency) out into their own charts.

Another welcome change is the My Account page. It now looks more like a dashboard with recent MOS for each endpoint shown in a gauge.

We've made countless other minor changes and fixes.

What do you think? Do you like the new chart presentation? Are the MOS gauges on the My Account page helpful to you?

Read More

Jan 21, 2013

Short Maintenance Period for VoIP Spear

On January 20, 2013, between 11:00pm and 1:00am EST, we will be performing maintenance on the VoIP Spear web server. As a result, the web site may be unavailable for a period of up to one hour.

Testing results will be unaffected by this maintenance.

Read More

May 17, 2010

New codecs!

VoIP Spear has always included the ability to calculate MOS using the big three codecs of VoIP: G.711, G.723, and G.729. We've recently added support for GSM, G.722, Speex, and iLBC.

VoIP Spear uses the E-Model of computation for estimating MOS from network statistics like packet loss, latency, and jitter. In order to complete the E-model calculations, we need to know some characteristics about each codec. For example, how much does the codec itself degrade voice quality. Another characteristic would be: how does the codec perform under packet loss conditions.

For G.711, G.723, and G.729, it's very easy to find this information because these codecs have been studied a great deal. This isn't the case for Speex and iLBC. It's hard to find information because they are newer codecs and weren't developed by the ITU. As a result, there haven't been many studies that look at these codecs in the context of the E-Model. Nevertheless, we managed to track down a few papers here and there. We're confident our MOS calculations for Speex and iLBC are accurate.

Calculating MOS from G.722 is a different situation altogether. G.722 is a family of codecs (G.722.1, G.722.2) that is available at several different bit rates. In fact, quality is greatly affected by the bit rate that is used. We didn't want to include all of these bit rates because we want VoIP Spear to be easy to use. Also, some of the other codecs (G.723, iLBC) also provide different options for bit rates so we wanted to be consistent.

In the end, the compromise we arrived at was to assume that G.722 is used at 64kbps. Without any impairments caused by the network, this will provide quality better than even G.711.

Read More