Your old 3Com NBX equipment has long since been replaced. These days, you’re all about hosted PBX VoIP service. Just one problem: the call quality is less than stellar.
A PBX VoIP helps small and medium sized businesses cut costs while combining data and voice onto one network. And it’s much more user-friendly: you can utilize a single number reach, meaning your incoming calls will be automatically forwarded to mobile or off-site phones, plus you typically have call control, status of other users and location.
But delayed or choppy speech, echoes and dropped calls can bring a business to its news. Keep in mind, though, that these issues are typically not caused by the technology itself. Below are five of the most common challenges with hosted PBX solutions, and how to fix them.
1. Do You Have Enough Bandwidth?
It’s easy to overlook your bandwidth, especially as your company grows. But it could be the reason why you’re having trouble with your calls. According to TeleDynamic, you need enough reserved bandwidth that will give you 80K per simultaneous phone call. You need a packet loss of less than 1 percent, a jitter that’s lower than 100 milliseconds, and a latency that does not exceed 100 milliseconds, TeleDynamic says. To see if you have an adequate internet connection, look for online tests that checks to see if your data circuit can handle all this, but run the test during your peak usage periods.
However, if you have all the bandwidth you need but are still experiencing problems like broken voice, then you could be dealing with duplex mismatches between devices, according to VoIP Mechanic. Rebooting will synch things back up, but this is only a temporary solution, because it will likely occur again. Instead, you need to hard code the Duplex settings on each device to ensure they match, but don’t set it on auto-negotiate. You also need to configure the QoS (quality of service) so that it prioritizes the voice connections with your router, VoIP Mechanic says.
2. Say That Again? Say That Again?
Echoes are a common complaint. It’s possible that all you need to do is turn down the volume. If that doesn’t work, then the problem could be due to electromagnetic interference, according to VoIP Mechanic. Start by moving your system away from other devices. Then check out the wiring. You’re looking for things like damaged cabling, wet tabling, and poor wiring. Cordless phones can also cause the problem, as can inexpensive phones.
Delayed speech, or latency, can be fixed with a little prioritizing. VoIP Wiki has additional solutions to this problem, including:
- Prioritize your VoIP traffic: Develop policies for everything from bandwidth reservation to network management, to multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) to type of service and class of service.
- Quality router: Make sure you have the right VoIP router.
3. Ch-ch-choppy Voice
Choppy or broken voice can make it next to impossible to hold a conversation. This could also be a problem with your bandwidth, or, more specifically, a lack thereof. Start by checking to see what, if anything, is eating up your bandwidth and taking it out of commission for your devices (remember, file sharing programs could be running in the background and eating up your bandwidth without you knowing about it), VoIP Mechanic recommends. Next, reboot your computers, then test your bandwidth. Finally, make sure a virus or spyware isn’t the problem.
4. Is Your Audio Scrambled?
VoIP Wiki says this is one of the most common complaints with call quality. Information is divided into voice packets, each of which travels a different path from sender to receiver. Problems occur, though, when these packets wind up where they’re supposed to but in a different order. This, in turn, can cause scrambled audio.
VoIP Wiki says you need jitter buffers to solve the problem. This temporarily stores all arriving packets. This, in turn, eliminates delays.
5. Who’s Got Your Back When Trouble Crops Up?
There are almost always hiccups from time to time with your various devices. The same is true with hosted PBX. Your IT manager needs to check on the following:
- Training: Is your IT staff properly trained on your system? If they aren’t familiar with VoIP installation, then you get issues like routers that don’t support your VoIP. It has to be programmed correctly for it to work. Make sure your team members knows what to do should a problem with the call quality crop up – or at least know whom to turn to for help.
- Support (or lack thereof): Again, this goes back to training. Your staff needs to know how to troubleshoot because you likely won’t have a system administrator after you are hosted. And there’s typically no after-hours support. Therefore, start by asking as many questions as you can think of when you choose a hosted PBX provider. Do your research and look up some common problems/issues that may crop up. And before you sign up for anything, try out the hosted provider’s service. That could save you time and money.