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.