Saturday, June 28, 2014

VoIP Call Quality Issues

When you transition to VoIP, be prepared to deal with typical service problems. These are natural conditions. Normally, you shouldn't experience any service disruption or distortions even when you have these. However, if you are with a so-so network or VoIP service provider, you will feel the effects of VoIP call quality issues.
  • Know about problems before they affect your day-to-day operations
  • Stay on top of how your VoIP service performs
  • Enjoy the full benefits of VoIP

Typical VoIP call quality issues should not affect your VoIP performance. For instance, latency, which is the delay transport of data/voice packets, is normal. Even traditional telecommunications experience latency. But if it goes beyond 150ms one way, you will definitely experience voice quality distortions.

For certain circumstances, you can address VoIP call quality issues yourself. Here are some tips:
Slow connection: This is one of the worst things to have when you want to use VoIP. Digital communications rely on your network connections. Fast connections mean that you can have unhindered conversations. When you suffer from slow connections, the best thing to do is upgrade your service. This means either getting a better service project with the same or a different service provider.

Bad equipment: It could be that you experience VoIP call quality issues and the problem is on your end. You may have the wrong router for prioritizing VoIP calls. Or, you may have outdated equipment that result in voice quality distortion. The best solution here is to upgrade to a better router wherein you'd be able to configure the QoS. With the router's QoS, you can prioritize VoIP. This lessens the bandwidth allotment for other applications, particularly the bandwidth-heavy applications ones, like gaming applications.

Delays: All forms of telecommunications experience delays or latency. The crucial issue is the length of delay. There's tolerable delay and there's delay that ruins your overall user experience. With VoIP, the two-way delay should only add up to 250ms. A rate above means that there is disruption every so often. The delays may even be causing dropped packets and gaps in the conversation.

There are several ways of dealing with delays, depending on the cause of delays. If the cause is on your end – your equipment may be out of date or defective, or your network and VoIP connections may be bad – these are situations for which you can implement fixes.

Cut wires and incorrectly setup equipment can be fixed by changing cable wires, or upgrading to a newer model.

Sometimes, too, a simple way of fixing delays is to set yourself up closer to your router. Connecting via wi-fi will cause delays and if its too much, all you need to do is go closer.

A surefire way of correcting delays caused by your system is by prioritizing voice packets. You do this by configuring your QoS. Most modern routers now come with QoS access where you can set how much priority is given to different applications. To prioritize VoIP, you just have to prioritize voice applications while reducing priority of bandwidth heavy applications, such as gaming applications.

To stay on top of how your VoIP performs, set up an account with VoIP Spear, a VoIP monitoring service that offers free trial accounts and personal, residential and business options.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

VoIP Quality Test: Latency

Let's talk about the different VoIP quality parameters that a typical VoIP quality test system monitors. In knowing more information about these parameters, you may be able to address VoIP performance issues better before turning over troubleshooting to your service provider.
  • Know more about your VoIP quality test system
  • Address immediate VoIP performance problems yourself
  • Have in-depth knowledge about VoIP

One of the most important VoIP quality test parameters is latency. Latency pertains to the delays in the transport of data/ voice packets. These delays may occur in all the components of VoIP communication, from each party of the conversation and throughout the network where packets travel through. This means that delays may be rooted in packetization, propagation and jitter butter. In a way, how your entire VoIP system performs affects how much delays you experience.

Understand however that delays are normal. Packets travel from your phone system through your network and its servers and other hardware, before reaching your intended recipient. When your recipient says something back, packets need to travel back through the same route. So naturally, there will be some delays.

This is true even for traditional telephony – so naturally, you have it too in digital telecommunications.

The crucial aspect of latency is when it adds up to too much, such that you already experience degraded VoIP user experience. The maximum one-way latency is only 150ms. Even then, reduced VoIP quality is already noticeable at this rate.
When you experience service degradation or disruption, it pays to know what's going on. This is where your VoIP monitoring service comes in. The reliability and consistency of your VoIP testing becomes important because it is through consistent testing that you get an idea of your VoIP performance profile. You will know problem areas (the parameters of VoIP quality, such as latency, jitter and packet loss), how much and at which period within a typical day.

If your VoIP performance profile shows issues with latency, there are steps you can take on your end before relying on your VoIP network service provider for solutions.

For the reliable VoIP monitoring service, check out VoIP Spear.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

VoIP Quality of Service Test: What and How

One of the first things that you need to do for yourself or your business after switching to VoIP is to set up a consistent and continuous VoIP quality of service test, or a VoIP monitoring system that runs 24/7/365. This is the guarantee that your VoIP service delivers the good and reliable service it's supposed to. Otherwise, switching to VoIP is a moot move. If you can't get consistent service, you risk lost opportunities and connections.

What a VoIP Quality of Service Test Monitors
Regular VoIP quality of service test, through VoIP monitoring, involves mapping the performance of key VoIP quality indicators: MOS (Mean Opinion Score), Latency and Packet Loss.

Mean Opinion Score has its roots in traditional telephony, wherein testers scored voice quality while listening for impairment in a quiet room. In VoIP, the scoring system is more objective, wherein service impairment is assessed according to network performance.

Latency pertains to delays in the transport of data/ voice packets, which can originate from the sender, recipient or network. Latency can be rooted to packetization, jitter buffer or propagation. Whatever the cause, high latency rates affect your VoIP quality.

Packet loss pertains to dropped data packets that are usually caused by network congestion and faulty equipment. Even a small fraction of packet loss is unacceptable in business VoIP.

So how do you test for VoIP quality of service? Get the services of a reliable VoIP monitoring company, such as VoIP Spear.

How: Your VoIP Monitoring Options
There are different kinds of VoIP monitoring services to consider.

For big businesses with wide operations and big pockets, Appneta provides a good option. Its PathView network and server monitoring offers monitoring beyond what's required in VoIP monitoring because it also monitors applications. This is really more for the big boys with heavy monitoring needs. Plus, you need big pockets for this too. A device costs $5,000 each and you need one per server that you want to monitor.

Another option is the low-zero cost monitoring systems that you use whenever you want to test your VoIP network. An example here is Visualware's MySpeed testing service, which tests your VoIP only when you want it to.

While this is comparatively very cheap, it is also useless. Remember that in true VoIP testing, you need to test 24/7/365. This gives you a true profile of your VoIP quality. One-time testing only shows you your VoIP network performance  that one second when you sent test packets. It doesn't show you how your system performs 99.99% of the time -- when your clients and partners might actually be trying to get in touch with you.

The better option, especially for small- and medium-sized business, is VoIP Spear's no-installation 24/7/265 global VoIP monitoring service. VoIP Spear tests your VoIP endpoints from our strategically-located servers worldwide. The system tests your MOS, and other VoIP quality performance parameters, such as jitter, latency and packet loss.

One of the best things here is that you don't need an extra hand to manage and assess your VoIP testing results. Once you sign up, you can access your account, and configure your control panel. It's only a matter of plugging in your VoIP endpoints and selecting your testing server. Reports are easy to understand. And there's an online guide to help you out, just in case.