VoIP has huge advantages over traditional phone lines, especially for businesses. No wonder, then, than so many business owners are flocking to VoIP. But VoIP, like any other communication mechanism, can present some challenges. Anyone who has experienced robotic, crackly Skype calls can tell you that.
If you find yourself facing VoIP problems, these may sound familiar:
- Lost Calls: Customers or colleagues tell you they called, but you never received any communication.
- Dropped Calls: The call ends suddenly during a conversation.
- Echo: One or both voices echoes over the line. While this isn’t a serious issue, it can be distracting.
- Latency: There is a delay between when speech happens and when the other person hears it. This makes the conversation difficult to understand and generally awkward.
- Static: Unwanted crackling or other ambient sounds interrupt the conversation. This noise can range from an annoyance to a serious hindrance for communication.
- Choppy Sound: Voices sound mechanical and jittery, with short or long interruptions in speech.
General Fixes for VoIP Problems
More VoIP problems are caused by the same core issues. Following a few of these steps can fix many of the VoIP problems, including those listed above.
- Check Your Bandwidth: Bad sound quality, dropped calls, and other common issues are caused by inadequate bandwidth. Generally, you need 80-100 kbps going both ways to ensure good sound quality. Your router may be the source of this problem: many VoIP providers have lists of “supported” routers for their systems, so if yours is not on the list, it may be time to go shopping
- Check Your Phones: Missing dial tones, buzzing, and other problems may be caused by your equipment, such as phones. After you’ve ruled out bandwidth issues, make sure that your phones are compatible with VoIP. For best results, use digital phones specifically designed for VoIP; your provider may be able to suggest a good model.If you are using a digital phone and are still having problems, check to make sure it is properly charged.
- Set Up Voicemail: If you have not set up a voicemail box through your VoIP service, any calls made to you during an internet outage on your end will be lost. If you have a voice mailbox available, you will at least be able to tell who called and when so you can get back to them.
- Fiddle with Phone Settings: Additional sound quality problems may be caused by the settings on your phone. Switching channels can help with static, and turning down the input or volume can eliminate echo.
Other Compatibility VoIP Problems
VoIP is a relatively new technology, and sometimes it doesn’t work well with other basic office staples. While it can save you a lot of money for calls, you may want to maintain a normal phone line for the following purposes.
- Alarm Systems. Alarm systems that trigger a call to your cell or to the police are sometimes incompatible with VoIP. There are some companies that can handle an internet-based connection, but If yours does not, it may be cheaper to maintain a phone line than to switch security systems.
- Older Credit Card Machines: Older models use a telephone connection to send information to credit card companies. This problem can be remedied by purchasing a newer credit card machine with internet transfer capabilities.