Sunday, December 29, 2013

Three Questions To Ask Before Your Switch to VoIP

Switching to VoIP is a major step and is something that you need to do when you want incomparable savings in your phone bill. This New Year is a great time to do this. Not only will you benefit from the leaps and bounds made by VoIP technology. You will enjoy low signup rates and phone bills.

If you want VoIP for your business, however, there are questions you need to answer first. These give you a good assessment of your organization’s readiness in making the big switch.

Will it improve your work efficiency and productivity?
One of the things you’d want to happen with a switch to VoIP is an increase in productivity and efficiency. After all, VoIP – through communications convergence – lets you do so many things with data in digital format. Plus, don’t forget the savings from VoIP. You can do a lot with that to improve your day-to-day performance.

However, VoIP can take its toll on your network. If you are not sure about the capacity of your network because all that you’ve been doing is browsing and file-sharing, then test it using the services of VoIP Spear. Being on a poor network can cost you. The data packet that run through your network will multiply by at least 4X because of voice packets. If your network cannot take this much traffic, then you are also compromising other tasks done within the network. This can affect the quality and quantity of work done within a day.

Can your network handle VoIP?
This is the logical ‘next question,’ of course. Your network directly affects your VoIP benefits. If you have limited bandwidth, you will need to upgrade your account. However, if your network is really bad, it is ideal to not switch to VoIP until you find a better one, a service provider with proven support for VoIP telecommunications.

An incapable network means that you are likely to suffer from bad voice call quality. You will experience delays/ pauses in calls, as well as jitter and packet delays.

Can you afford to equip your office for VoIP?
A typical office cannot use VoIP just via computer and headphones. This takes away from accessibility and convenience. SIP phones or ATA boxes are necessary for workstations with phone units. You will also need an IP PBX system or a gateway device for your old PBX. All this can cost. So, alongside your VoIP account fees, you will need to take care of this at the start.

When you do make a switch to VoIP, treat this as an investment. Install whatever’s necessary so that this investment lasts. Make sure that you have an account with VoIP Spear, and that you are monitoring all your endpoints. This tests your endpoints for performance lapses, which you or your support team can then address. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

An Easy Guide to Transition to VoIP

When you have finally decided to ditch traditional wireline telecommunication for VoIP, don’t worry about the transition. Switching to VoIP can be a simple task. You only have to pay attention to the details at the start, when you want to ensure that you get a near-perfect service. Getting all this done early saves you from VoIP problems (at least those that you can control from your end).

VoIP is a reliable alternative to traditional telecommunication. It is also cheaper and more accessible, as long as you have reliable internet connections. Likewise, you need to have done your transition properly:

1. Get the right service providers: This is probably the most basic thing to do when you want to ensure a successful transitioning to VoIP. It means that your internet connection should be fast enough for VoIP (at least DSL). The service should also be reliable, with little downtime. At the same time, you should go with a reputable VoIP service company, ideally through a paid account.

2. Get suitable gear: The right gear to use with your VoIP account depends on your circumstances. It could be that you work in front of the computer most of the time, and would like to process calls through it to keep things simple. If that’s the case, then you just need a good headset and microphone. However, if you want to install VoIP for your entire household, then it’s a good idea to invest in a SIP phone or an ATA unit for your analog phone. If you’re an office manager handling your company’s VoIP transition, you will need to choose between investing in a gateway for your old PBX or getting an IP PBX. The IP PBX is the better choice if you’re transitioning your entire communications platform to VoIP.

3. Transfer your public telephone number: VoIP companies refer to this as your DID number, which stands for Direct Inward Dialing number. Your service provide will transfer your DIDs for you for a limited number of DIDs. Companies or those with big offices should coordinate with their phone company regarding the transfer of their DIDs.

4. Install your VoIP Service: At this point, you can already move forward with installing your VoIP service. 

5. Install Backup Services: There are two necessary backup services for VoIP. These are your VoIP testing services and your backup power plan. The call monitoring service is a third party service, like VoIP Spear. It usually comes for free for single endpoint testing. The backup power can be a simple UPS or generator. It can also be a default setup wherein calls are transferred mobile or wireline numbers when VoIP is not accessible.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dealing with Packet Delay

The wonders of VoIP is all for nothing if you experience network problems that compromise the quality of your calls. Problems like packet delays may be minor irritants if these happen once in a blue moon. However, if this is a chronic problem, you should do something about it.

The solutions, when it comes to packet delay problems, can either be with you or your service provider. Sometimes, you just need a little tweaking on your end to enjoy better VoIP.

What Is Packet Delay

Packet delay refers to the delay in the travel time of data packets between endpoints. This delay is natural up to a certain degree. After all, data packets go through a series of hardware, plus the wireline telephone system. In a healthy network, this delay is not perceivable. You can use your VoIP and conversation is clear and without pauses.

However, in problematic networks or setups, packet delays are perceived by users as delays in audio and video, echo, feedback, and pauses in conversations, among other problems. In really bad situations, packet delays can affect how you enjoy (or not enjoy) VoIP.

Types of Packet Delays

There are two main types of packet delay, namely End System delays and IP network delays. Of these two, you can tweak settings to affect some end system delay issues.

IP network delays are delays that occur during the packet transmission. This may be caused by too much network traffic or being on a network that’s inappropriate for VoIP. The delay usually between ten to a thousand millisecond.

End system delays happen in the handling of the packets at the endpoints. Here, data packets go through decoding, encoding and buffering, with buffering being the main culprit in delays. Jitter buffer delay can take up to hundreds of milliseconds. Coding and decoding, on the other hand, only takes up to 40 milliseconds of delays total.

How Monitoring Your VoIP Helps

When you monitor your VoIP through third party services, such as VoIP Spear, you can know the root cause of your communication problems and be able to deal with this accordingly. VoIP monitoring services do consistent tests over a period of time, at set intervals. This means that you get a complete picture of your VoIP’s performance and can get to the problem right away, either to deal with this yourself or to report to your service provider.

Tweaks to Minimize Problems with Delay

There are things you can do at your end to help lessen problems caused by packet delays. Remember, however, that these are only tweaks.

1.      1.  Lessen the “path” that voice packets go through. If you are connecting to your internet via wifi, connect directly to your router instead.

2.     2.  Close all other applications that use up bandwidth. When you want to focus on VoIP, stick to that for the meantime. Close all applications that are not connected to VoIP, especially the big bandwidth eaters: file sharing and gaming.

3.       3. Customize your QoS setup. Your QoS refers to a tool when you login to your router. This lets you set upload and download speeds, bandwidth priorities. When you want to enjoy VoIP, give voice and video application top priority. Deprioritize gaming and file sharing. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

VoIP Quality Testing to Prepare for Holiday Call Traffic

Doing VoIP quality tests regularly is one of the basic steps that you need to do when you want to be prepared for the holiday's call traffic. And trust us, there will be call traffic. The next couple of months will be all about loved ones who will try to get in touch with you. When you're on VoIP or if you rely on the technology as your main means of communication, it's best to be prepared. The steps are simple but you have to start now.

Test Your Network and VoIP
As mentioned earlier, you need to have a VoIP quality monitoring service set up for your VoIP service. This does not need to cost you anything. There are free services for single endpoint setups, which is what most home users have. Check out VoIP Spear for a free account.

The services of VoIP Spear monitor your network and VoIP at set intervals, and provide you with online reports. These ensure that your system works okay, and that you can make quality VoIP calls, without interference, feedback or low quality audio. You can pinpoint problem areas and address these accordingly, either on your own or with the assistance of your network administrator.

See How You're Setup
Sometimes the problem isn't actually rooted on your network or VoIP service. It could be that you have broken or low-quality gear. Make sure that your router and ATA work at acceptable capacities. Likewise, see if you have cut wiring. Cut cables will definitely affect how you receive voice data packages.

Another aspect to check is how your gear is lined up. VoIP hardware that are too close to each other may produce interference, such as feedback and other background noise. For this, do test calls and see if you experience noise. Move your equipment around until you get better audio.

Tweak Your QoS
On top of testing your VoIP quality and your gear, it's also a good idea to tweak your QoS. QoS refers to the tool that comes with most modern routers. When you login to your router's control panel, you'll find that you can set upload and download limits, as well as bandwidth priorities based on application, device and MAC addresses, among others.

When you want to tweak your QoS for optimal VoIP performance, you need to set limits on your download and upload bandwidth usage, which would then trigger the implementation of your QoS priorities. Download and upload bandwidth usage should just be 70% to 80% of normal capacity. Use an online speed tester to get to your normal capacity. Make sure that you do not have any active transfers when you test.

Then, it's time to set your priorities. For this one, remember that you have three major bandwidth users on your setup. This is: voice, file sharing and gaming. When you want to give priority to VoIP, you need to deprioritize the others. To do this, assign Standard or Bulk priority to gaming and file transfer applications. For voice and video applications, assign Exempt as priority. When this is set at Exempt, the system assigns 60 to 100% of the bandwidth to voice and video.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Using a VoIP Quality Test Tool

VoIP SpearVoIP Spear is a VoIP quality monitoring company that offers its own VoIP quality test tool to home users and business enterprises. It has been in the VoIP industry for more than 12 years now, and practically developed alongside the transformation of VoIP into a commercially viable telecommunications alternative. Through those years, VoIP Spear saw the need to test VoIP quality consistently and to diagnose results accurately. (VoIP problems do seem more frustrating when you don't know what's causing them.) And, as VoIP made leaps and bounds, VoIP Spear's technology followed. The VoIP Spear VoIP Quality Test Tool was developed.

Now, more than ever, end users need a VoIP quality test tool. In order for the increasing acceptance of VoIP as a main means of communication to be sustained, there has to be a reliable way of testing VoIP suitability, and monitoring VoIP quality of service.

For end users, the use of a VoIP quality test tool can give them a sense of control when it comes to their VoIP service, especially when call quality fluctuates. VoIP remains dependent on network connections. When a user experiences internet problems, their VoIP service suffers as well. But, a typical end user can't know for sure what causes their VoIP problems. The tool available through VoIP Spear can pinpoint issues. And, in some cases, the end user can do something about problems found, possibility through updating the priority services under their QoS configuration tool (more about this in future blogs).

VoIP service providers should likewise make use of VoIP Spear's VoIP Quality Test Tool. The tool is available to use for multiple endpoints, at test intervals set by the service administrator. Through such monitoring, the service administrator can know potential VoIP problems, traffic bottlenecks and other network problems, ideally before these affect the VoIP's end user. In the long run, addressing issues before it affects clients can sustain the growth of the VoIP markets -- perhaps until the point when VoIP is no longer too network dependent.

Until then, vigilance is a requisite. Call quality testing and monitoring are musts for both service provider and end user.

And for this, they get the benefit of more affordable telecommunications, increased accessibility and communications convergence. There really is no turning back from VoIP. It is the next level in telecommunications. Perhaps, the typical VoIP problems that we experience now are merely growing pains. There's just so much advantages to using VoIP as your main telecommunications. And, there is still so much potential for the industry. Surely, more technological advancements will come.

For now, make the most of your VoIP service by using VoIP Spear''s VoIP Quality Test Tool. Test your VoIP quality and experience the best possible digital telecommunications.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

VoIP Call Quality Test: Why Do You Need It

VoIP, as an alternative to wireline telephony, has made leaps and bounds in close to a decade since its commercial development. It has become a true option to landlines, offering consumers with cheaper communications rates and more accessibility.

However, an issue with VoIP has always been its dependence on your network connections. If you have unreliable internet, you are bound to experience interference and choppy connections during your conversation. If you still have a free account with VoIP service providers, such as Skype, this might be okay. You can ignore fluctuating quality of service if you have not completely switched to VoIP.

However, homes and businesses that have made the VoIP switch and rely on it as their main means of communications need to have at least a 99% uptime – and not just that. They have to have reliable and good quality internet connections if they want to talk without echo, static and other possible audio disturbances.

This is where doing a VoIP call quality test becomes important. Technically, you don't have to have an active VoIP account to begin testing your VoIP readiness. With third party services, such as VoIP Spear, you can test your IP endpoint and make it go through a series of threshold checks. Through these tests, you can monitor key aspects of your network connections like jitter, packet loss and latency.

VoIP Spear measures VoIP quality using MOS or Mean Opinion Score, which is the industry standard in grading VoIP service quality. Through your MOS, you can get a pretty accurate assessment of your network's VoIP suitability.

And you need to do consistent VoIP call quality test. This is one of the best ways to be on top of your VoIP service. VoIP is definitely the next level in telecommunications. Before we get the most of it though, everything has to be in place. A VoIP service is only as good as the network it's on.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Alternative Tools for VoIP Call Quality Test

A VoIP Call Quality Test is not just for network administrators and VoIP service managers. This is something that VoIP subscribers need to do if they want to maximize their  benefits from digital telephony. VoIP can really take over all telecommunications needs. You just need to ensure that you constantly do a VoIP quality of service test to monitor your service's performance. This way, you know right away when there's a problem. You can address this through a tools/ gears upgrade, a change in network providers or VoIP service providers, or a call to technical support.

There are several tools you can use to do a VoIP call quality test. Of course, the very very basic here is to do a ping test from your computer. This isn't ideal. A simple ping test does not point out where you're having problems. It just lets you know how fast (or slow) packets travel through your network. And ping tests as a your VoIP quality of service test have no monitoring component, unless you intend to sit in front of your monitor all day staring at your CMD screen.

The least you can do for VoIP call quality test is use a Network Analyzer tool, such as Wire Shark's and NAST's network analyzer tools. This tool is alternately called packet analyzer or packet sniffer. What this does is it intercepts and analyzes web traffic. Analyses are based on RFC. While you don't really get the specifics that matter in VoIP, you can at least tell if your web connections are fast enough for digital telecommunications.

Another alternative VoIP quality of service test is the Packet Analyzer. An example of a packet analyzer is VoIP Spear's call quality test and monitoring services. It works like network analyzer. Additionally, it also analyzes RTP streams and VoIP protocols. You then know how your network is doing based on latency, packet loss and jitter. This is a more reliable way of testing and monitoring your VoIP service.

You may also want to consider other tools for VoIP call quality test: the VoIP Probe and the VoIP Quality Testers. However, both of these tools are more suitable for VoIP service providers who want to be on top of how their service is performing. VoIP Probe is implemented at several service endpoints, where traffic is then analyzed. VoIP Quality Testers, on the other hand, are more intrusive testing methods that send audio packets to test the network. These files are tested using  the P .OLQA or the P .862.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Welcome to the VoIP Quality Test Blog

Great that you found us. Welcome to the VoIP Quality Test and Monitoring blog!

We're all about VoIP quality of service test and all other VoIP service issues. Why? Well, we believe that VoIP is really the next phase in the development of telecommunications. Alas, its connected technologies, such as network connections, SIP phones, softphones, and the like, affect how VoIP performs as a communications media. Of course, there are also the differences in VoIP service providers and the hardware and software they use to deliver services.

All this affects how a VoIP subscriber enjoys his service. Call quality may suffer, and this affects the user experience. It can get so bad that it turns the user off to VoIP. This shouldn't happen. With all the progress made in VoIP technology, everyone with a good network coverage should be able enjoy VoIP as an alternate -- if not main -- means of communication.

Through the VoIP Quality Test and Monitoring blog, we will discuss all issues that affect VoIP, and how users and VoIP service administrators can address these. It starts with a simple voice quality test, of course. But, we'll talk more about that later. Check back in here for weekly updates.