Basic Call Quality Needs for VoIP

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We get a lot of calls that go like this. “I currently have a hosted service through XYZ company and the call quality is terrible. Can you help me”? And of course they think you will give them the silver bullet over the phone. I digress.

Poor call quality is usually one of or a combination of a few things. They are as follows from the outside in. Poor Internet connection, Not enough bandwidth, non business grade router, router not programmed properly and poor network infrastructure on site. It is rarely the Hosting Server or provider or the IP Phones themselves.

So how do I fix it? Let’s start with the Internet. Do I have enough bandwidth. I often find that the up and download speeds are not  the same. In the Tampa Bay Area if you have Spectrum cable you may have 25 Mb download but only 2 Mb upload. This is always an issue for VoIP. Secondly, am I getting the bandwidth I am paying for. Just go to and run a quick check.

Now that you have run these basic test it is most important to run a test all the way back to your Host in the cloud with a tool like PingPlotter. This will show you if they are dropping packets or causing latency on the connection. You see the first test you ran only tested from your office back to the carrier but not all the way back to the hosted providers servers.

If this all checks out then next you need insure that the router is adequate. We do many small businesses that are trying to use the router provided by the Internet provider or they bought something from Best Buy. I am not knocking Best Buy but when it comes to VoIP you need a quality business grade router such as Cisco ASA, Sonicwall, Edgewater, Ubiquiti or Peplink. Over the counter routers do not handle QOS (Quality of Service) or Bandwidth Management in a satisfactory way and are usually optimized more for gamers.

Lastly the network infrastructure needs to be properly installed. The network data cable needs to be installed according to the EIA/TIA 568 standards. That means properly ran, supported, and terminated on patch panels and TESTED!!! No RJ-45’s plugs crimped on the ends of the cable and plugged directly into the Ethernet switch.

Also I highly recommend Gigabit POE (Power Over Ethernet) switches and of course you must have Gigabit pass through ports on the IP Phones if you expect the PC to run at Gigabit speed.

When you work through this check list you will resolve your call quality issue 99% of the time. If you are experiencing any issues like this and need help, Please give us a call!!!

Drew Martin