4 Ways to ensure VoIP quality at the office or remote
VoIP or Voice over internet protocol enables people to make and take phone calls using an internet connection. Since its inception in 1995, VoIP has evolved to become a mainstream technology that both consumers and businesses are increasingly adopting for their day to day communications. Because of the bandwidth efficiency and low costs that VoIP provides paired with today’s remote first world, companies around the globe have quickly migrated off their traditional telephony infrastructure and into cloud based solutions.
This being said, ensuring reliable and consistent quality when communicating over VoIP has become a major challenge for IT teams. This problem has been enhanced by the fact that most employees are now working from home, and instead of managing one corporate network, IT needs to figure out how to ensure Quality of Service (QoS) across hundreds of residential networks. Whether you are deploying a Salesforce CTI solution or entirely replacing your phone system, this quick guide will help you guarantee a better experience for both your customers and agents.
1. Internet Connectivity:
Sometimes overlooked, this might be the single most important aspect in ensuring a great VoIP experience. We suggest defaulting to fiber connections when available since they usually offer the most consistent connectivity in terms of bandwidth, latency and packet loss. Copper and wireless connections can be great to surf the internet, but they are not good enough for real time communications. When using these methods of connectivity you might start encountering choppy audio caused by packet loss or jitter.
Also make sure latency is below an 150 milliseconds threshold. A quick ping to the VoIP providers network can provide data about latency and packet loss.
Another key factor in the equation is the router or firewall. Most residential routers come with SIP ALG enabled by default. This tends to break VoIP and causes inbound calls to fail. We suggest disabling SIP ALG, and also enabling QoS to ensure at least 100-200 kbps of symmetric bandwidth for phone calls. QoS will ensure voice traffic is prioritized over other types of traffic like multimedia that can cause voice to deteriorate. If your router doesn’t provide these capabilities by default we suggest buying a Mikrotik router, they are very affordable (sub $70 on Amazon) and provide key features to successfully deploy VoIP.
3. Ethernet over Wifi:
Although Wifi is highly convenient and has become the de facto connectivity method for almost every residential network, an ethernet connection on your workstation can make a big difference in upgrading your VoIP quality. Wired connections have faster ping times to your router and much lower jitter (or variation in the ping time).
4. USB Headset:
The last link in the chain to ensure a great communications experience is investing in professional headsets designed for VoIP. Airpods or headphones were built for consumers with the purpose of listening to music or digital content. Using these for VoIP causes agents to sound muffled, unclear and from afar; mainly caused by the fact that the microphone is not directed to the agents mouth and thus picks up echo and ambient noise. Companies like Jabra have built their headsets that deliver crystal clear communications. We believe that investing on these is a must and would suggest wired over bluetooth for two reasons:
- Wired is always more reliable than wireless.
- Works better with Chrome and other browsers. Bluetooth headsets sometimes cause issues with your computer’s input & output devices when they connect/disconnect.
If you are looking to move your business communications to the cloud, we would love to help you transition. PhoneIQ provides a cloud based phone system and contact center solution built for modern teams using Salesforce. Start your 7 day free trial today.