VoIP Spear Blog: News & Noise
Sep 21, 2021

How to Solve Common VoIP Problems

In this post, we explore the common reasons people have issues with their VoIP service. We also provide some troubleshooting tips and educational information about the problems and their solutions.

There are three main factors that can contribute to issues with VoIP:

  1. Networking issues in your home or office;

  2. Phone and voice quality; and

  3. Internet connectivity.

Networking issues in your home or office

Over the last 5 years, we are seeing more and more VoIP issues occurring on the LAN (Local Area Network), which means the issues are on your home or office network.

The first step is to check your equipment's wiring. Ensure that all hardware is plugged in correctly. Try unplugging and replugging in all network cables to make sure none are loose.

Next, unplug the router from power. Leave it unplugged for 10-20 seconds and then plug it back in. This will give your router a fresh start and clear any basic issues it may be experiencing. It's a good idea to do this with other networking equipment and also your phone.

If you still experience issues, check to ensure you have a router configured for VoIP prioritization. This means checking to see if it is capable of doing VoIP Quality of Service (QoS). Verifying your router is capable of QoS and turning this feature on is likely something you will have to contact your internet service provider about.

If your router isn't capable of doing VoIP QoS, you may need to look into port forwarding. Again, ask your internet service provider about this.

If you've done all of the above and the issues persist, your router may be limited in functionality. Upgrading the router may significantly improve your VoIP experience.

Phone and voice quality issues

Another class of issues experienced with VoIP is call quality problems. This can include echo, poor audio quality, buzzing, or a noticeable delay in voice.

An easy first step in troubleshooting is to try covering your phone's mouthpiece or microphone. If the echo, buzzing, or interference stops, you may just need to turn down the volume of your earpiece or speakers. This is because the phone line is picking up the receiving end of your call in the background.

For interference issues, try moving your router away from your monitor, computer, other Wi-Fi enabled devices, and power strips. They could be causing interference by being too close.

Take any third-party equipment out of the equation by plugging the router and phone directly into one another. If the problem ceases after you bypass a certain piece of equipment, it's likely that piece of equipment was causing your issue.

It's also worth inspect all of your wires for damage as this can cause voice quality issues. A wire that's too long can also cause problems. Note that your should be including both internet cables and also phone wiring in your inspection.

Think about how long you've had certain equipment, like a headset, microphone, or the phone itself. If any of these are old, it may be time for an upgrade. Old equipment can sometimes result in poor voice quality.

Internet connectivity

Another common source of problems originate from your internet connection. These issues can be close to you (like right in your neighbourhood), or far away on the internet. Furthermore, some internet packages are great for web browsing and streaming movies but aren't good or powerful enough for VoIP.

VoIP has its own unique set of requirements and it's possible that your internet provider may not have enabled these for your service. Before you start troubleshooting, contact your provider and ensure your service supports audio and video conferencing and is set up correctly.

You can run a quick check on your internet speed by running a speed test. Speed tests are easy to run and will determine how many VoIP phones your network can handle.

An excellent alternative to an internet speed test is VoIP Spear. Speed tests have the limitation that they only monitor your internet connection for the few seconds the speed test is taking place. VoIP Spear is superior because it monitors your internet all day, every day. This means that VoIP Spear can give you a more accurate assessment of your VOIP readiness than a speed test.

If you notice pieces of audio missing, or entire phrases, you may be experiencing packet loss. Packet loss is a condition where the packets of data that make up the voice streams fail to make it to their intended destination. This is typically caused by bad network conditions or internet congestion. Many internet applications like email and surfing the web can handle packet loss pretty gracefully, however VoIP calls are very sensitive to this. Even a small amount of packet loss can result in poor quality voice quality.

Many people run a ping test to find out if they're experiencing packet loss. A better solution is to use VoIP Spear because it is able to monitor for packet loss 24x7x365.

If you've looked at your network and equipment and determined that the issue is with your internet connection, you'll likely need to call your internet service provider. They can help you determine if there's an outage in your area or help you troubleshoot further.

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