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. 

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